Lawsuit: Are motorcycle burnouts free speech?

A biker bar is contesting a ban on outdoor burnouts by filing a federal lawsuit that cites First Amendment protection

By PoliceOne Staff

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Are motorcycle burnouts free speech? A Myrtle Beach biker bar says yes.

Local business Suck Bang Blow filed a lawsuit last week against Horry County for banning burnouts at outdoor events, claiming participants' act of  "expressing their manliness and macho" is protected by the First Amendment.

Burnouts occur when a driver revs a motorcycle's engine while applying the front brake, which creates noise, smoke and allows the back tire to spin. They've been a feature of bike rallys at the bar since it opened in 1996.

The county began to crack down last year when it limited the activity to the rear of the bar's building and said they could only take place between noon and 9 p.m, The Herald Online reported. This year, officials issued a permit that banned burnouts completely.

Attorneys for Suck Bang Blow said in the lawsuit the bar "believes that providing these expressive performances to the public is a beneficial social activity which enhances individuals' conscious ability to assimilate."

In response, Horry County said the act is a "public nuisance" and that it holds the power under state law to abate public nuisances.

A federal judge will hear the case in May. 

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