From the windy plains of the Missouri River Valley to the winding roads of the Black Hills National Forest, motorcyclists visiting for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have plenty to enjoy on two wheels. However, there are many more things that could enhance or detract from your experience on the road. Riders beware.
You probably like visiting the rally because it is a gathering of people who share your interests in motorcycles, music, the outdoors and fun – but as the old saying goes, too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. It is important to keep safety and responsibility top of mind during the rally. Everyone wants to return home safe without incident or injury, but the reality is that not every does so.
The statistics in Sturgis
According to KSOO, 112 people were arrested for driving under the influence in a five-day period during the rally last year. The maximum penalties for a first-time DUI arrest in South Dakota include:
· One year in jail
· $2,000 fine
· Suspended license for one year
If you are visiting from out of state and are arrested for DUI during the rally, you will be required to return to South Dakota for your day in court. Additionally, you will need a local attorney to represent you.
The risk is high for riders
The penalties for DUI have increased in recent years to deter dangerous behavior. Not only are motorcycles the most dangerous vehicle to drive, but alcohol can increase the chances that you will engage in risky behavior on the road like speeding or not wearing protective gear.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 4,400 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents in 2013. One in four of these riders had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher and less than half were wearing a helmet. Riders age 35 to 49 were the most likely to be involved in a fatal, alcohol-related motorcycle crash, with most accidents occurring at night.
The consequences are clear
Law enforcement presence is always high during the rally, and they will be on the lookout for impaired riders and dangerous behavior. If you are arrested, you could face fines, jail time and a suspended license, all of which could threaten your future career and driving privileges. However, given what is known about alcohol-related motorcycle incidents, the consequences you face could be more than criminal.