Bikers Win Battle in Charleston

Bikers won their parking battle with the city of Charleston this week.

The city will draft an ordinance to allow up to four motorcycles in a space, Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said Thursday.Up until now, bikers were subject to parking tickets if they doubled up in parking spaces.
bikers.jpgAbout 60 bikers made an issue of it Sunday morning when they filled most of the spaces on one side of North Market Street between Meeting and East Bay streets.

Vendors complained that the bikers made it impossible for them to unload their wares. Bikers responded that they were just trying to make a point.

"We felt the common sense approach was to allow motorcycles to park up to four in a space if they can fit in the space," Riley said. "That had never been an issue before. We had never considered the fact that it was inefficient. Parking should be maximized to the benefit of everyone."

The new ordinance should be ready for first reading at the next City Council meeting, he said, but in a practical sense, the new policy will take effect immediately.

"We will begin allowing it. We won't enforce the one bike per space," Riley said, "but they do need to fit within the designated parking space."

Dave Harvey, a biker who organized Sunday's protest, seemed surprised and pleased when he heard the news.

"I thank the mayor," he said. "I'm impressed. I may have to change my attitude about Mayor Riley. It was something that was long overdue. We love coming downtown."

Bikers have been mad at the city over more than parking. Many were upset earlier this year when City Council passed a law against revving engines. The ban was enacted before the spring's Heritage Motorcycle Rally.

While police did not cite a single biker for revving during the rally, some claimed that police officers followed them very closely, looking for reasons to ticket them.
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