Leave Feedback

Bike Week brings few reported troubles

Andy Ouriel • Jun 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Area law enforcement agencies were rarely called upon to handle the influx of motorcyclists and visitors during Ohio Bike Week.

More than 45 motorcycle-related incidents happened during the 10-day event, according to reports from the Erie County Sheriff, Ohio State Highway Patrol and police in Huron, Perkins and Sandusky.

Bike Week was June 3-12.

There was one death as a result of a motorcycle crash that week: Michael Tracht, 27, of Huron.

Tracht died June 6 after he lost control of his Harley-Davidson at a curve on U.S. 6 near Rye Beach Road. He was thrown from his motorcycle and landed in a ditch.

Considering more than 100,000 people attended the festivities, crime and violence was at a minimum, said Steve Ernst, president of Advantage Entertainment and the organizer of Ohio Bike Week.

"The problems that we had were very minimal," Ernst said. "We had a very self-policing crowd. We didn't have many problems to speak of."

The presence of police and security staff at Ohio Bike Week venues -- such as the Erie County Fairgrounds and downtown Sandusky -- likely played a big role in reducing crime, Erie County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.

"Sometimes the uniform presence is enough to keep crime from occurring," Sigsworth said. "These events have been fairly trouble-free."

The Erie County Fair board paid the sheriff's office $3,600 to monitor the fairgrounds, Sigsworth said.

Sandusky police also had 20 officers patrol downtown during the second weekend -- June 10-12 -- which is often the busiest time for Bike Week.

Among Sandusky's officers were nine new reserve officers hired in April. They were stationed at various posts downtown from Thursday to late Saturday.

"Everybody that I saw was very well behaved," Sandusky interim police Chief Jim Lang said. "I just thought it was a pretty calm bunch."

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers responded to at least two motorcycle wrecks involving three suspected drunken drivers.

Both wrecks were in Margaretta Township.

The first was at about 5 p.m. June 10 on U.S. 6 near McCartney Road. Steve Martin, 42, of Twinsburg, was driving a motorcycle that ran into a motorcycle driven by Douglas Rocco, 44, of Sycamore, dispatchers said.

Rocco and Martin were both charged with operating a vehicle under the influence. Martin was also cited for failure to maintain assured clear distance.

The second wreck was just after 8 p.m. Saturday.

Bellevue resident Gregg Pressler, 29, was driving a motorcycle east on Heywood Road when he lost control near Maple Avenue, dispatchers said.

The motorcycle overturned, causing Pressler and his passenger, Julie Eggert, 41, of Huron, to fall off the bike.

Pressler was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and failure to maintain reasonable control. Eggert was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center for treatment, dispatchers said.

The last weekend of Bike Week was busy, but there were no other major crashes, Highway Patrol dispatchers said.

Snapshot of Bike Week incidents

27: Bike Week-related incidents reported to Sandusky police

12: Incidents reported to Perkins police

4: Incidents reported to Erie County Sheriff's deputies

0: Incidents reported to Huron police

6: People charged with disorderly conduct in Sandusky

8: People charged with operating a vehicle under the influence while driving a motorcycle. Five people were also cited for license violations.

3: People in Sandusky charged with possession of marijuana

2: People charged with assault.

Sources: Erie County Sheriff; Ohio State Highway Patrol, police in Sandusky, Perkins, Huron.

Note: Numbers may not be the final tally of motorcycle-related incidents.

Recommended for You