STURGIS, S.D. — Hundreds of thousands of bikers have come to attend an annual motorcycle rally underway in western South Dakota.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began its 10-day run Friday in the Black Hills, the Rapid City Journal reported. State transportation officials expect up to 600,000 bikers, and public safety officials are reminding bikers and other motorists to stay alert and wear seat belts.

“We always prepare for a big year,” said Tony Mangan, public safety spokesman. “We know there’s going to be a lot of people there, and we always tell them to be careful.”

On Thursday, the Highway Patrol reported a crash in the region, where a 24-year-old Iowa man was killed.

Public safety officials said bikers should travel at lower speeds since many rally attendees aren’t used to some of the Black Hills’ narrow and winding roads. They said bikers should be especially careful of speed limits on curves, ride single file and avoid crowding the center line.

“It is still about common sense and following the rules of the road,” said Highway Safety Director Lee Axdahl.

The most deadly rally in recent years was the 75th anniversary event in 2015, which drew a record 739,000 bikers and had 14 fatalities. In addition to the deaths, 235 people were injured in the wrecks that year.

Last year, the Highway Patrol reported a record-low of three deaths. But city data show that rally attracted 40 percent fewer people than 2015.


This story has been corrected to show that the fatal motorcycle crash happened Thursday, not on Friday afternoon.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com