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Oyster Run: Bikers make trek across Whidbey

Bikers leave the Clinton ferry on their way to Anacortes on Sunday for the annual Oyster Run. - David Welton / The Record
Bikers leave the Clinton ferry on their way to Anacortes on Sunday for the annual Oyster Run.
— image credit: David Welton / The Record

The 27th Oyster Run brought thousands of motorcyclists to Anacortes Sunday, and a good portion of them rolled through Whidbey Island.

“Anecdotally, people tell me this was the biggest Oyster Run they have seen. I’d guess the numbers were somewhere north of 20,000,” said Mitch Everton, executive director of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce.

The presence of rumbling motorcycles was undeniable for South Enders as droves of bikes rolled off and on the ferry, causing long delays to four-wheeled drivers.

Susan Harris, customer information manager for Washington State Ferries, said the long lines made car drivers angry.

“There is always a lot of conflict between the two-wheelers and the four-wheelers. Motorcyclists are able to bypass the line if they are preticketed, but we held the motorcyclists back one sailing,” she said. “The four-wheelers were treated as fairly as we could.”

The Island County Sheriff’s Office also had its hands full. A number of residents called to complain about the noise from motorcycles rolling across the South End. Many complaints came from the Clinton area.

Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Norrie said there were no serious accidents related to the Oyster Run. At least two fatal accidents were reported elsewhere, he added.

“Island County really stood out. We had zero accidents and no fatalities,” he said, adding that it was due to increased enforcement and additional officers on the roads. At least six more deputies were on duty Sunday, but at times 12 to 14 more officers were on Whidbey roads.

The extra patrols were paid for by a Washington State Safety Commission grant. Some reserve officers also volunteered their time, said Undersheriff Kelly Mauck.

County and state law enforcement conducted extra patrols for speeding, aggressive driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and lane travel violations. Two

Washington State Patrol aircraft

with cameras also conducted patrols for traffic violations.

“I’m glad it is done, so I can get a breather,” Norrie said, who coordinated the Island County effort.

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