A motorcycle rider participating in the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally hit a bighorn sheep on Tuesday morning.
The motorcyclist, 65, was riding a 2015 Indian Roadmaster southbound on Highway 385 in the city of Deadwood, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. He sustained minor injuries after hitting the sheep.
Fortunately for the motorcyclist, he was wearing a helmet, South Dakota Highway Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan told the Argus Leader.
Injury Crashes Are Up This Year
Crashes involving injuries have increased this year at Sturgis. On the fourth day of this year’s rally, there had been 62 crashes. And 36 of those brought injuries. Last year, there were 33 crashes involving injuries by the fourth day of the rally.
There has been one fatal crash at the rally so far this year, the South Dakota Highway Patrol revealed in a press release.
Conversely, DUI arrests and drug arrests are down from last year. There had been 74 DUI arrests by day four of the rally this year, compared to 82 at the same point last year. And there have been 154 drug arrests so far this year compared to 199 last year.
But citations and warnings are on the rise. There have been 865 citations this year compared to 996 at the same point last year, according to the Argus Leader. Authorities have issued 2,340 warnings so far this year. They had issued 1,774 at the same stage last year.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Busier Than Ever
Meanwhile, Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin told the Rapid City Journal that the opening days of this year’s rally were busier than he’s ever seen them.
“There are more people here than in the 31 years I’ve been doing this,” Merwin said.
Merwin told the Journal that the lion’s share of their calls have been traffic stops and accidents. In the early days of the rally, those reached nearly double last year’s numbers.
“I don’t know what it is this year, but it seems people are in a hurry to get here and are causing all kinds of traffic issues,” Merwin said. “We are asking the public to please follow our traffic laws and be safe out there.”
In the first days of the rally, the Meade County Sheriff’s Office saw a 30% uptick in calls. And the Sturgis Police Department said they had received more than twice as many calls as at the same point last year.