A Motor Event is a term that is used in Ocean City to describe an event or gathering that brings thousands of vehicles to our resort town. A Motor Event can be authorized in partnership with the Town of Ocean City or can be unauthorized.
Prior to COVID-19, we host approximately six authorized Motor Events in Ocean City each year, taking place primarily in the Spring and Fall. These events include Cruisin, the OC Car & Truck Show, OC Bikefest, Jeep Week, Corvette Weekend, and Endless Summer Cruisin. In addition, we have one unauthorized Motor Event, which is commonly referred to by participants as H2Oi. The Town of Ocean City, however, refers to this unauthorized event as a Pop-up Rally event.
The Town of Ocean City works closely with event promoters of authorized Motor Events to assure our residents, visitors and event participants are equally accommodated. Most of the authorized events offer contests, parades and concerts. These additional activities create a family-friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. The Pop-up Rally event, however, has no formal schedule, which results in an enormous amount of traffic and large gatherings in parking lots and sidewalks. In addition, the Pop-up Rally does not have a designated event promoter to communicate with like the authorized Motor Events do.
Traditionally, the Pop-up Rally event takes place the last week of September.
Each Motor Event is a little different; however, one thing that can always be expected is heavier traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws. Because the safety of our residents, staff and visitors is our number one priority in Ocean City, it’s imperative for motorists to abide by traffic laws and be cautious of heavy pedestrian traffic. In some cases, Ocean City establishes a Special Event Zone, where speeds are lowered and fines are increased for violations.
SPECIAL EVENT ZONE INFORMATION
Ocean City establishes a Special Event Zone three times each year. The Special Event Zone coincides with Cruisin Ocean City, Endless Summer Cruisin and the Pop-up Rally event. With thousands of motorists on Coastal Highway during these events, the Special Event Zone helps deter motor violations. The lowered speed limit and increased fines and penalties in the Special Event Zone have been successful tools for law enforcement officers during large Motor Events. These types of events draw large crowds of pedestrians and spectators. The Special Event Zone helps to keep our pedestrians safe on the sidewalks and in the designated crosswalks.
The Special Event Zone applies to all of the roads within the corporate limit of the Town of Ocean City. The town limits begin midway on the Route 50 and Route 90 bridges and extend from the inlet to the Delaware State Line. This year, the Special Event Zone is being extended to include all roads in Worcester County.
If the Pop-up Rally event is not a Town of Ocean City event, how can the Town of Ocean City implement the Special Event Zone?
In April 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the “Special Event Zone” bill into law, allowing authorities in Worcester County to designate Special Event Zones during large events, particularly motor events. The legislation allows officials to lower speed limits in the Special Event Zone. In addition, legislation signed in 2020 allowed for increased penalties for specific motor vehicle violations. Similar to a Construction Zone, violators will face increased fines, or in some cases arrest, if violations occur in a Special Event Zone. Special Event Zones are in place during motor events in Ocean City due to the high volume of motor vehicles and pedestrians on/near the roadways. The zone can be implemented for authorized and unauthorized events to ensure the safety of those in our town.
OCEAN CITY RESIDENT INFORMATION
Motor events can cause tremendous challenges for residents. How can Ocean City stop motor event enthusiasts from coming to the town?
Ocean City cannot stop people from coming to visit our community; however, we can deter violations through our Special Event Zone. In addition to Special Event Zone legislation, the Town of Ocean City and the Ocean City Police Department are working closely with the State of Maryland, our partners in the business community and participants of the Pop-up Rally event to develop a plan for peace during these events. There is no simple solution to the challenges faced during various Motor Events, but the Town of Ocean City is working hard on changes that will positively impact everyone.
Each Motor Event in Ocean City is different. For residents, the biggest impact to our community comes during the Pop-Up Rally event and Spring Cruisin’. Although the promotors of Spring Cruisin’ have worked very hard to make positive changes to the event, there is still significant traffic congestion. During the Pop-Up Rally, the town recommends staying off the road for the weekend, as residents are safer at home.
PARTICIPANT & CAR ENTHUSIAST INFORMATION
If you have concerns regarding your vehicle’s modifications, the Ocean City Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit has provided two resources that you can check regarding the state of Maryland’s regulations. The first resource is COMAR , and you can visit their website at http://www.dsd.state.md.us/COMAR/title_search/Title_List.aspx Title 11 is where the majority of the regulations for vehicles can be located. In addition to reviewing COMAR, please review the most current Maryland Transportation Articles/Code 22 at https://casetext.com/statute/code-of-maryland/transportation/title-22-vehicle-laws-equipment-of-vehicles. Both of these resources will cover the laws that apply to vehicles within the state of Maryland.
The Pop-up Rally brings a lot of revenue to the city and its businesses. Does the City Council realize how much money it stands to lose if the unauthorized event stops?
Yes, the City Council is aware of the economic impact of the Pop-up Rally event. The Pop-up Rally also costs our community more than just money. The Town also pays a substantial cost in staff time and resources to cope with the rally. But perhaps the biggest cost of all is the effect the rally has on the quality of life for our residents and visitors. Its important for car enthusiasts and Pop-Up Rally participants to know that Ocean City welcomes everyone to our resort community, with the expectation that they follow our laws and ordinances in order to keep everyone safe.
While some businesses do benefit financially from the Pop-up Rallies, others do not. Some of the businesses that did benefit financially from the Pop-up Rally event still believe that overall the event is not a good fit for our community. Regardless, the Town is focused on the non-monetary concerns our community has expressed. The Town of Ocean City has been working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the Hotel Motel Restaurant Association to preserve the community’s reputation and keep our community safe.
Isn’t it true that the town makes plenty of money from the amount of traffic tickets issued during these events?
The Town of Ocean City and the Ocean City Police Department do not make any money from the traffic citations issued. In the state of Maryland, the money from paid District Court traffic citations goes to the Maryland General Fund.
Not at all. The Town welcomes car enthusiasts 365 days a year, as long as they obey all local and state laws. However, the Town does not welcome the huge crowds associated with the Pop-up Rally and the unruly problems associated with this large group.
Will any new ordinances be passed by the Town of Ocean City that will affect the Motor Vehicle Events?
Along with the Special Event Zone legislation, which was passed in 2018 by the State of Maryland, legislation passed in early 2020 will allow the Town of Ocean City to continue addressing lawlessness and unruly behavior with stricter fines and jail sentences for the most serious violations. To view the Special Event Zone Bill, visit: oceancitymd.gov/specialeventzone
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not tolerated by our officers.
- Disorderly conduct, or willfully acting in a manner that disturbs public peace, is prohibited. Officers will enforce laws concerning disorderly conduct to protect the quality of life of our citizens and ensure a peaceful environment.
- Blocking sidewalks and public roadways are prohibited. Citizens may not sit along sidewalks or congregate in the roadway in a manner to prevent others from easily passing. Open containers and public consumption of alcohol are also prohibited.
- The Town of Ocean City Noise Ordinance states that it is unlawful for any person to make, cause or continue any loud, unnecessary, unnatural, or unusual noise, or any noise which annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace and safety of others at any time, day or night.
- No disruptive noises may be made between 12 midnight and 7 a.m. in such a manner as to be heard at a distance of 50 feet from the building or structure where it originates. This includes loud noise from a vehicle.
- The use of a megaphone without a permit from the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City is prohibited.
Bringing A Trailer?
Trailers and oversized vehicles may not be parked on Baltimore Avenue at any time. Parking a trailer or oversized vehicle on any street or paved public lot without a permit is prohibited between May 1 and October 31. Permits are available to registered participants of Cruisin’ Ocean City, OC BikeFest, and Endless Summer Cruisin’ for a fee of $50 from the event organizer. There are three options for parking your trailer in town without a permit.
- The West Ocean City Park & Ride has limited free trailer parking available starting at noon on the Friday prior to the Cruisin’ OC, OC BikeFest and Endless Summer Cruisin’ events through noon on the Monday immediately following each event.
- The 100th Street gravel lot also has limited trailer parking for a daily fee that can be paid on site.
- In addition, you may make arrangements with a private property owner to park on their lot. You may not park on any public street.