ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City officials were not pleased with what they saw last weekend as motorcyclists from around the country converged on the Gateway City for the Ride of the Century event.
Videos of motorcycles racing around the brand-new grounds beneath the Gateway Arch, cyclists harassing people near Busch Stadium, doing burnouts overnight Saturday next to Ballpark Village, and motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic on highways did not go unnoticed by city leaders.
“I was appalled at some of the things that I saw cyclists that appeared or came to our city last weekend,” said Judge Jimmie Edwards, director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis.
There were also reports of people claiming their cars were damaged by the cyclists.
Could St. Louis feasibly prevent an event like this from coming back to town?
“This is not something I have the authority to do,” Edwards said. “I do think we need to revisit how we would police these types of situations.”
A St. Louis police spokesperson said the department was aware of one incident that occurred in which 15 summonses were issued to 9 riders and their bikes towed. But Edwards said he knows much more lawbreaking was going on.
“We have hundreds, if not thousands, of cyclists breaking the law and asking for confrontations. It’s problematic for law enforcement,” he said.
In a statement, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said, “Troopers did not encounter any incidents or come into contact with riders. The patrol continually communicates with local law enforcement in order to assist when requested."
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office said it “takes public safety seriously and we stand ready to assist the law enforcement agencies with criminal jurisdiction over these matters."
Judge Edwards emphasized things have to change to keep this event.
“We welcome visitors to come to St. Louis but we hope they come to the city and comply with our laws,” he said.