There have now been 2 traffic deaths related to the 82nd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one Saturday morning and one Sunday afternoon.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol says this first fatality occurred when two motorcycles collided just before 11:00 Saturday morning in the central part of the state about 18 west of Hayes on Hwy 34.
The Patrol says both bikes were westbound when one slowed down and was hit from behind by the other. The 58-year old rider who’d slowed died later at Monument Health in Rapid City.
The 68-year old first rider sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Philip. Neither man was wearing a helmet.
The Patrol says the second fatal crash was in the Black Hills on Interstate 90 about 2 miles west of Summerset Round. 2:30 Sunday afternoon.
It occurred when an eastbound motorcycle swerved to avoid an SUV ahead of it, but hit the SUV anyway and the driver was thrown from the bike.
A following motorcycle then hit the first bike lying on the roadway and its 51-year old rider was also thrown. He was wearing a helmet, but died at the scene.
The first rider, a 64-year old man, was not wearing a helmet and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. He was taken to the Sturgis hospital. The driver of the SUV was not hurt.
From 6 am Saturday to 6:00 am Monday, the Highway Patrol handled 14 injury accidents, 2 fewer than a year ago, and 12 non-injury crashes, 3 more than last year.
As for other numbers, there had been 45 DUI arrests, 12 more than a year ago, 382 total citations, a drop of 49, and 1,368 warnings – an increase of 189. Felony drug arrests were the same at 19 while misdemeanor drug arrests grew by 2 to 382.
All told, the Highway Patrol issued 25 fewer citations with 196 but nearly 200 more warnings – 706 compared to 508.
Law enforcement officials across South Dakota and all neighboring states are reminding drivers to stay alert to the added traffic generated by the Rally, especially the sometimes hard-to-see motorcycles.