Highway Patrol urges traffic safety during Sturgis Rally

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – South Dakota’s Highway Patrol reminds those attending this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally not to forget about traffic safety.

 The 79th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began Friday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. That means more motorists, driving different kinds of vehicles, traveling not just through the Black Hills, but throughout South Dakota.

 “We encourage drivers to focus on traffic safety all the time, but this is a different kind of week,” said Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller. “You have more motorcycles, more out-of-state vehicles and more drivers who may not have much experience traveling on the winding roads in the Black Hills.”

As of Friday, Aug. 2, there have been five motorcycle fatalities in South Dakota this year, down from nine last year at the same time. There were four fatalities recorded during the 2018 Sturgis Rally compared to eight in 2017.

August is traditionally the state’s highest vehicle fatality month each year. In the last five years, statistics show that most crashes in the Black Hills occur between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Rally attendees looking for real-time public safety information about the Sturgis Rally can also follow four Twitter sites at @SDPublicSafety, @SDHighwayPatrol, @SouthDakotaDOT and @RallyTraffic.

Motorcyclists and motorists alike are reminded of the rules for sharing the road:

*** Motorcyclists should ride in single-file lines and avoid crowding the center line or crowding motorists;

*** Motorists should remember not to crowd cycles. Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as motorists;

*** Motorists and cyclists should follow the recommended speed limits.  Motorcyclists should be especially aware of speed limits on curves;

*** It is against the law to drink and drive.  Motorists and cyclists should make sure they have sober drivers;

*** Motorists should remember to buckle up, it’s the law; and,

*** Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear helmets.