Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Eagle Butte

Sturgis Rally increases motorcycle traffic and invites caution

Recent releases from the Department of Transportation and SD Highway Patrol indicate an increase in the number of people attending Sturgis this year over the 2018 rallies and have already released statistics and information related to accidents.

Many Sturgies riders travel on Highway 212 and Highway 34 as they move east and west across the state.

Many local riders travel on their motorcycles without helmets. “All persons under the age of 18 must wear motorcycle safety helmets that are approved by the South Dakota Department of Transportation. A person riding in an enclosed cab attached to a motorcycle does not have to wear a safety helmet,” according to

Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries according to the National Highway and Safety Administration.

However, there are only 19 states and the District of Columbia that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Motorcycles have high performance capabilities and less protection than enclosed vehicles and are subsequently more likely to be involved in severe injury and fatal accidents.

As you travel the SD roads during the Sturgis Rallies this year, keep a close eye out for motorcyclists, who may be caught up in the beautiful scenery or may be otherwise preoccupied.

Below are the early statistics of traffic and accidents released by the South Dakota DOT. A full report will be released after the Rally.

Traffic counts from the South Dakota Department of Transportation show a slight increase over 2018 in vehicles entering Sturgis for the 79th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally Aug. 2-11, 2019.

Sturgis Rally Vehicle Counts

Traffic counts at nine locations entering Sturgis for the 2019 Rally are as follows:

Friday, Aug. 2:    51,933 entering – up 5.1% from Friday last year

Saturday, Aug. 3:   59,759 entering – down -0.6% from Saturday last year

Sunday, Aug. 4:  55,325 entering – up 6.1% from Sunday last year

3 Day total:

2019:  167,014

2018:  161,696 up 3.3% over last year

Note: one site was unable to be picked up today so counts are estimated for that site and totals may change slightly.

Once compiled, a full report will be available on the SDDOT website at:

Highway Patrol Sturgis Rally Daily Information Compiled from 6 a.m. Saturday August 3, 2019 to 6 a.m. Monday August 5, 2019:

Item Sturgis Rapid City District District Total Last Year to Date

DUI Arrests 44 7 51 36

Misd Drug Arrests 49 15 64 56

Felony Drug Arrests 35 10 45 21

Total Citations 259 141 400 284

Total Warnings 769 346 1115 956

Cash Seized $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

Vehicles Seized 1 0 1 1

For Drug Poss. 1 0 1 1

For Serial No. 0 0 0 0

Non-Injury Accidents 5 8 13 14

Injury Accidents 7 5 12 12

Fatal Accidents 0 0 0 2

# of Fatalities 0 0 0 2

Fatal Crashes:


Injury Crashes:

At noon, Sunday, on U.S. Highway 16A, mile marker 46, 10 miles west of Keystone: A motorcycle was eastbound on Highway 16A when the driver failed to negotiate a curve. It crossed the centerline and collided with a westbound motorcycle. All three people involved sustained serious non-life threatening injuries. The 77-year-old male driver of the first motorcycle was wearing a helmet. The two occupants of the second vehicle, the male driver, 59, and the female passenger, 56, were not wearing helmets.

At 12:30 p.m., Sunday, on South Dakota Highway 87, mile marker 57, five miles east of Custer: A motorcycle was southbound on Highway 37 when the driver failed to negotiate a curve in the road. The motorcycle traveled off the roadway into the east ditch and collided with a rock. The male driver, 64, was thrown from the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet. He sustained serious non-life threatening injuries.=

At 6:20 p.m., Sunday, on Fisherman Flats Road, 12 miles southwest of Hermosa: A motorcycle was westbound on Fisherman Flats when the male driver swerved to miss a hole in the road. The driver, 41, lost control of the motorcycle. Both the male driver and the female passenger, 40, received minor injuries. Neither was wearing a helmet.