The Sturgis motorcycle rally is one of the largest and most famous in the world. Hundreds of thousands of riders from all over make the pilgrimage to western South Dakota each year. They ride some of the best open roads around, enjoy the live music and other entertainment that organizers put together, and enjoy the brotherhood and sisterhood of spending time with fellow bikers.
Safety in numbers, however, does not usually translate into a motorcycle rally of this size. The sheer numbers increase the likelihood of crashes and injuries, although these may be the fault of fellow bikers who race and drive recklessly or reckless drivers in cars and trucks.
By the numbers
- There were 344 drug arrests in 2019, which is up from 252 in 2018.
- Law enforcement seized $4,044 from illegal activities, which is up from $2,739 in 2018.
- The total number of reported crashes was 93 in 2019, which is lower than average.
- There were two fatalities during the 2019 rally.
- There were 171 DWI arrests in 2019, which is up from 149 in 2018.
Safe and fun
Motorcycle riders are all adults who make their own decisions, but it bears reminding that this shortlist of sensible precautions helps ensure that the event is more fun and safer:
- Wear a safe helmet (not some gimmicky prop) when you ride.
- Drive defensively because that number of DWIs and drug busts is no joke.
- Follow traffic rules because many fatalities occurred when not following traffic signs or making an illegal maneuver.
- Riders at Sturgis often wear leather, which is smart, but wearing other safety gear like sturdy footwear and eye protection is also essential.
- Do a bike safety check before getting on.
Did someone ruin the rally for you?
Reckless behavior and injuries do not always show up in law enforcement’s final tally. Due to reckless or dangerous behavior by a fellow rider or someone in a car or truck, severe injuries and death are all too common among bikers.
Victims or their families may need to hold the reckless party accountable for their actions. It can help pay for related medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for the pain and suffering of the victim and their family.