The thunder has rolled in a little early this year, and forecasts project that the Black Hills may see one of the biggest Sturgis Rally crowds in history at the 81st. Some projections indicate that close to a million people will visit the Black Hills to enjoy the motorcycle races, concert venues, and breathtaking scenery this region has to offer.
While the rides, friends, and motorcycle events are a sacred pilgrimage for many motorcycle enthusiasts, safety must come first to keep the party going. Nate Oviatt, an attorney at Goodsell Oviatt Law Firm, cautions people to watch especially for challenges with group riding. Nate explains, “It is my experience that the most typical cause of motorcycle accidents, other than substance related accidents, involves errors during group riding. Often a rider will lose his or her riding group and make a dangerous maneuver to get back with the group. The mistake may be speeding, rolling through a stop sign or light, or perhaps making an imprudent pass.”
To avoid these dangerous errors, the following reminders may help prevent accidents and injuries:
1. Have a pre-group meeting to set the rules for your group. Assign a leader.
2. Know the appropriate hand signals for your group.
3. Stagger the formation and avoid riding side by side.
4. Establish procedures for separated group riders.
5. Plan pit stops to allow your party to regroup in the event members get separated.
Be aware, also, that speed limits in Sturgis and surrounding areas will be lowered and additional stop signs/lights installed. Due to the expected increase of traffic during Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, South Dakota DOT recently announced highways that will have speed reductions and identified locations of temporary traffic signals. For additional information, check https://dot.sd.gov
We want visitors to have a safe vacation and enjoy the Black Hills and the Rally. We’ve all earned it. Unfortunately, each year records injuries of individuals who came just for fun and relaxation. These catastrophic accidents often result in head and spine injuries, which are extremely serious and long lasting. Verne Goodsell, an attorney at Goodsell Oviatt Law Firm, has handled many of these cases and reminds riders, “Avoiding injury is better than any recovery I can get for you.”
The 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may make history this year with attendance and events, but be safe, have fun, and enjoy the many things that the Black Hills, Sturgis, and Rapid City have to offer. We can’t wait to see you.