Patience will be a virtue for motorists this week as more traffic is expected on South Dakota highways with the start of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The 78th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally begins Friday, Aug. 3, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. That means more motorists on the highways driving different kinds of vehicles, especially in the Black Hills.
Officials with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety say that means drivers need to focus on safety.
“South Dakota has had eight motorcycle fatalities so far this year; that’s two more than at the same time last year,” says Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Price. “A majority of the 2018 deaths so far have been due to inexperienced riders. Five of the eight fatalities weren’t wearing helmets.”
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.
“We want every motorcyclist to be safe and that’s why we offer both new and experienced rider courses,” says Office of Highway Safety Director Lee Axdahl. “Safe riders know their skill level, their equipment and what needs to be done to increase the odds of returning home safe and sound.”
Axdahl says through the Office of Highway Safety’s partnership with the South Dakota Safety Council, both new and experienced riders can take safety courses statewide. Visit
https://southdakotarides.com and follow the link for Rider Safety Courses. The website also offers information needed to negotiate roads in the Black Hills.
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.