The Colorado Department of Transportation slated a news conference for 10 a.m. today on Interstate 25 at the Wyoming-Colorado state line to raise motorcycle safety awareness among the thousands who will be riding to the 76th annual Sturgis (South Dakota) motorcycle rally. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — held August 8-14 — began as the Black Hills Motor Classic.
This is the first time that traffic safety partners from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, and North Dakota are joining forces to prevent motorcycle accidents during the rally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is partnering with the Colorado State Patrol, CDOT, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation. As krai.com reports, 24 people die annually in Wyoming as a result of motorcycle crashes, three of them during the Sturgis rally alone.
Safe 2 Sturgis
The campaign, dubbed “Safe 2 Sturgis,” features safety messages aimed at motorcycle riders and also automobile drivers. It began on August 1 and will run through August 21. The hash tag #Safe2Sturgis will be used to encourage motorists and riders to post photos of the ways they’re staying safe as they travel to and from Sturgis.
The rally has announced that Carey Hart, freestyle motocross rider and RCH Factory Suzuki race team owner, is returning to the rally to head a new charity event called the “Good Ride.” Hart was the grand marshall of the Mayor’s Ride at last year’s rally.
Smaller Rally Expected
In a related item, the Associated Press writes that judging by the availability of hotel rooms and campground spaces, rally organizers are expecting fewer attendees at this year’s rally than last year’s, which had a record attendance of 739,000 people.
Despite attendance projections, activity has already begun. Black Hills Harley-Davidson held its Pre-Rally Rollout event last weekend, and rally vendors from out of state have begun arriving to set up shop.
CDOT’s Look Twice for Motorcycles
All summer, CDOT has been running a motorcycle safety campaign, “Look Twice for Motorcycles.” Two radio public service announcements have featured burly-sounding riders singing “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me!” and “Don’t you forget about me!”
Motorcyclists make up just 3 percent of vehicles on the road but account for 18 percent of overall fatalities. Nationally, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than passenger car occupants in a traffic crash. These fatalities tend to peak during the summer months with more motorcycles on the road. CDOT’s campaign raises awareness urging drivers to use extra caution.
CDOT urges motorcyclists to wear helmets. It’s estimated that 715 lives could be saved across the U.S. annually if all riders wore helmets. But, Colorado does not require riders 18 and over to wear helmets. The law does require riders and passengers under age 18 to wear DOT-approved helmets.
Image by JEDphoto/123RF.