The town of Sturgis, South Dakota, typically has about 7,000 residents, but that changes during the first weekend of each August when it becomes the epicenter of the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, taking over the Black Hills.
Cramming more than a half-million riders into one area is bound to elicit its share of problems, and the 2021 edition of the rally was no exception. However, reports of arrests and accidents that occurred during the event were all down from the year prior, with the only notable increase being in the citations/warnings issued, despite the greater number of attendees in 2021.
Arrests were down overall throughout the 10 days. The end tally reported on the South Dakota State News website found that in comparison to 2020, this year’s rally had: 122 arrests for DUIs, an 11% reduction; 151 misdemeanor drug arrests, down 60%; and 112 felony drug arrests, 13% fewer.
While the arrests went down, the citations and warnings issued shot up, according to the South Dakota State News website. There were 1,572 citations, up 15%, while warnings were up 17% to 4,319.
Accidents, though not fun to report, are inevitable any time a half-million people are traveling in an area. There were 110 reported from the event by the South Dakota Highway Patrol, six fewer accidents than in 2020. Injury accidents accounted for 60 of them.
Fatalities were also reported out of the rally. The official death count this year is four, one less than in 2020. None of the four individuals killed were wearing helmets, and all were pronounced dead at the scene.
The first fatality occurred on Saturday, Aug. 7, when a 36-year-old woman crashed into a guardrail. The second fatality occurred on Thursday, Aug. 12, as a 59-year-old man on his H-D FLTRU collided with a car.
Saturday, Aug. 14 saw the final two fatalities. The first involved a 66-year-old man in Sturgis who lost control of his bike and hit a curb. The second occurred east of Sturgis on U.S. Highway 14A, when a 51-year-old male rider failed to negotiate a curve and crashed, which caused the death of his 46-year-old female passenger.
Let’s stay safe out there and keep the rubber-side down.