Although the official visitor count isn’t out yet for the 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which ended Sunday, the South Dakota Dept of Transportation says the number of vehicles coming into Sturgis was up by nearly 14%.
The department had traffic counters at 9 locations coming into the city and their total was 525,768 vehicles, a 13.8% increase from last year’s 462,182.
While impressive, it’s well short of the 700,000 predicted by some and far below the record 747,000 vehicles recorded for the 75th Rally in 2015.
The vehicle count this year was higher than last year each of the 10 days of the rally, but the total and percentage of increase fell each of the last 3 days.
Friday the 13th had 46,431 vehicles enter Sturgis, an 8.8% increase while Saturday the 14th was up 6.9% from the same day last year at 34,683. Sunday’s final day count was the smallest at 21,381 to top last year by only 1.5%.
The first Saturday, August 7, had both the largest number of vehicles and the biggest percentage increase from a ago – a jump of 23.1% with 67,482 vehicles coming into Sturgis.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol’s official fatality count for the 81st Rally was 4, one fewer than last year, but its tally runs from only 6 AM the first Saturday to 6 AM the second Sunday and there were 2 fatalities on the opening Friday.