The South Dakota Highway Patrol confirmed that a second person died at the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The Argus Leader reported that a 59-year-old man was the victim of a crash. The incident took place on Thursday, August 12 around 5:30 PM along Highway 87. The report cited that a 2013 Harley-Davidson FLTRU was riding towards the south when the crash took place. A Chevrolet Impala crossed the center line where they collided.
The motorcycle driver was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead on the site. The Chevrolet driver, a 19-year-old male, and a 15-year-old female passenger were not injured. They both were wearing seatbelts. Authorities said that 48 crashes that involved injuries have taken place this year.
Last week, the 81st annual event reported two fatalities in two separate crashes in the Black Hills. The first incident occurred last Friday just southeast of Hill City. A 58-year-old man wearing a helmet did not complete a curve and fell into the ditch. He was taken to a local hospital where he later passed away.
The other crash occurred less than 60 minutes later roughly 11 miles south of the town of Sturgis. A 52-year-old man was driving a pickup truck when he switched lanes to pass a group of motorcycle riders. He hit an oncoming motorcycle. The driver was a male 70-year-old man who died. He was not wearing a helmet. The 71-year-old female passenger was wearing a helmet. She sustained serious injuries but none that were life-threatening.
Previously in 2020, there were two fatal crashes that took place. Last year, 47 crashes that resulted in injuries were reported by the fifth day.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2021 Difference of Opinions
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. During an episode of Meet the Press where he shared his concerns about the potential for COVID-19 spread. Researchers reported that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 cases were traced back to the 2020 rally.
“There comes a time when you’re dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family, and everybody else,” Fauci said. “That something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do.”
However, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem disputed his claims. She wrote a Fox News op-ed, where she called out the “bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and the media” who have criticized her decision to let the rally take place.
“As South Dakota’s governor, I have remained within the bounds of my authority and empowered citizens and businesses to make decisions for themselves,” she wrote. “Rather than mandating they do as I say, I have chosen to let people take personal responsibility for decisions.”
Attendance at this year’s rally has increased by 12.9% to 423,273 people. Additionally, numbers concerning DUI and drug arrests have decreased. There are 63 misdemeanor drug possessions than last year and 16 fewer felony drug possessions. Furthermore, DUI arrests have decreased by four.