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'Rally Time' Safety Requires Bikers, Motorists to Share Road

PIERRE -- Heavier than normal traffic flows during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally require bikers and drivers to share the road for safety, officials with the South Dakota Highway Patrol and Office of Highway Safety caution.

Although the rally doesn't officially begin until Monday, motorcycle traffic has increased since early summer and likely will continue to be heavy through the end of August, says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

"We have already recorded eight fatal crashes involving motorcycles this year," Price said. "Rally time puts thousands more motorcycles on the highways, but if each of us pays attention to the road and to the other drivers and riders, we can have a fatality-free rally.''

About one-third of motorcycle fatalities each year happen in West River counties during a two-week period around the annual rally, statistics from the Office of Highway Safety show. Riders can brush up on safety techniques and get a virtual look at many good motorcycle routes by visiting

The Highway Patrol reminds motorcyclists and motorists alike of the rules for sharing the road:

• Motorcyclists should ride in single-file lines and avoid crowding the center line or crowding motorists.

• Motorists should remember not to crowd cycles. Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as motorists.

• Motorists and cyclists should follow the recommended speed limits. Motorcyclists should be especially aware of speed limits on curves.

• It is against the law to drink and drive. Motorists and cyclists should make sure they have sober drivers.

• Motorists should remember to buckle up. It's the law.

• Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear helmets.

The official dates of the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally are Monday through Sunday, Aug. 11.