The City of Myrtle Beach, named one of the “best family beach vacations in the USA” by the US News and World Report, draws over 11 million tourists every year. Locals, mixed with an increasing amount of tourists, lead to traffic and congestion. To combat these effects, the City decided to encourage bicycling by designing and installing bike racks at key destination points throughout the City and developing a BikeWalkMB app.
The City of Myrtle Beach wanted to encourage bicycling as a form of transportation, but wanted cyclists to have a safe place to leave their bikes.
In 2017, the City of Myrtle Beach applied and received a $4,795 mini-grant from the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff - Energy Office (Energy Office) to design, purchase, and install bike racks at various locations throughout Myrtle Beach. The City also provided their own funding to assist in the design and launch of the BikeWalkMB app, encouraging tourists and locals to use bikes rather than a vehicle.
“Thanks to the Energy Office mini-grant, bike racks with the BikeWalkMB logo are popping up all over town. More people are riding their bikes with the increase in safe places to leave their bikes, and the logo recognition ties in nicely with our safety brochures and bike lights. “
City of Myrtle Beach
A Coastal Carolina University survey of bike use in the area indicated that approximately 14 percent of local residents and tourists would consider using bikes for short trips, and these racks would provide sufficient infrastructure for about 25 percent of those interested. Based on these results, the City estimates that the racks will be used for over 48 million miles of bike trips every year, saving over 1.3 million gallons of gasoline and diesel. Assuming gas prices of $2.20 per gallon, bicyclists could save over $2.8 million annually.
In July 2018, the City launched a new BikeWalkMB smartphone app designed to educate users about the fuel savings of walking and riding a bike. The app includes an interactive function that calculates fuel savings for each trip taken by foot or bike as compared to traveling by car. The app also allows the user to map out safe and interesting bike and pedestrian routes. The racks showcase the BikeWalkMB logo and include a QR code that links to the app.
DURABLE BIKE RACKS
The City purchased a total of 50 bike racks, 40 of which were customized with the BikeWalkMB logo. The Energy Office mini-grant program funded 10 of these bike racks, while the City purchased the additional 40 as part of their larger initiative to increase bike riding. The total hardware cost for all 50 racks was approximately $18,000. The racks are standard inverted “U” style bike racks made of two-inch AISI 304-grade stainless steel schedule 40 pipe, a heavy gauge stainless steel that will last for decades.
BIKE SAFETY EDUCATION
Bike safety brochures in four languages were distributed as part of the BikeWalkMB program, and bike lights (red on the back and white on the front) with the BikeWalkMB logo were distributed to those in need, including international students on student visas and the New Directions homeless program.
REDUCING PARKING LOTS
As the number of cars on the road increases, the need for parking lots also increases. Bike parking requires little space and reduces the demand for additional parking lots.
For information about funding opportunities available through the Energy Office, visit ENERGY.SC.GOV/Incentives