This year will mark the 78th anniversary of one of the most iconic motorcycle rallies in the United States: the Sturgis Run. While the 10-day rally may no longer be the Wild West party that it once was, anytime a half million-plus people get together, it pays to use a little caution, both in the saddle and while on foot.
Melbourne, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/13/2018 --Once upon a time, many years ago, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, was considered one of the wildest parties on earth. The focal gathering of outlaw bikers from around the U.S. and the world, its history is a storied tale of brutal biker wars and nude women in the streets.
Today, things have gotten a lot tamer. It is much more likely that the person sitting next to you at the Legendary Buffalo Chip is a doctor or lawyer than a true one-percenter, and by strictly enforced city ordinances, pasties at a minimum are required for the ladies.
Tamer doesn't necessarily mean without risks, though. Anytime you bring a half million-plus people together in an area that normally holds a hundredth of that number, there is going to be a heightened risk of mishaps, both while people are riding through the magnificent beauty of the Dakotas and while they are taking advantage of the many venues and vendors that are part of the Sturgis experience.
As expressed by Sturgis veteran and Melbourne, Florida, motorcycle accident attorney Brad Sinclair, "Sturgis is something everyone who loves to ride should experience at least once in their lives. It is one of the best-managed motorcycle events you will ever visit.
"Thanks to the many great law enforcement volunteers from around the country who donate their time each year and the conscientiousness of local officials, it is also one of the safest. That being said, there are always going to be problems when that many people gather in one place. Motorcycles get stolen, pickpockets operate and road congestion makes accidents an assured event. It is best to be aware of your surroundings and not overindulge in the liquid festivities while you're there," he continued.
These sentiments seemed to be mirrored by event organizers, who have taken to the local airways with lists of safety reminders for those visiting their city.
Among the most pertinent of these reminders:
Motorcyclists should ride in single-file lines and avoid crowding the center line or crowding motorists.
Motorists should remember not to crowd motorcycles. 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 designated drivers.
Motorists should remember to buckle up; it's the law in S.D.
Though not required by law, motorcyclists are encouraged to wear helmets.
This year's rally features concerts from crowd favorites like Kid Rock, Trace Adkins, Lita Ford, Steppenwolf, Journey and dozens of other bands and street foods from more than 100 vendors, as well as competitions like a beard and tattoo contest, a 5K run and multiple motorcycle races.
As the world's largest motorcycle rally, the Sturgis Rally (or the Black Hills Run, as traditionalists call it) draws cyclists from more than 20 countries and all 50 states each year. Taking place the first week of August each year, it increases the size of the city by hundredfolds and contributes almost 100 million tax dollars to South Dakota's budget annually. If you have never been, it is an experience well worth the trip.