Char-Koosta News

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Sturgis means more motorcycles on Montana roads

HELENA — Every summer, motorcycle riders cross through Montana on their way to western South Dakota for one of the biggest and most popular motorcycle rallies in the U.S.

This year, the official dates for the biker gathering in Sturgis are August 5 through 11, but many events start on August 2. Motorists will see a significant increase in the number of motorcycles on Montana streets and highways in the days leading up to the rally and directly following it.

“Sturgis draws motorcycle owners from all around the region and from every walk of life,” said Jim Morrow, director of the Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety program. “We want the people traveling through our great state to have a safe experience on Montana roads.”

Morrow recommends that motorists should be hyper-aware of motorcyclists during this time, especially on two-lane highways and back roads. There are many scenic routes in Montana that riders may take on their way to Sturgis.

For motorcycle enthusiasts traveling to Sturgis, Morrow encourages them to be cautious and obey traffic laws. He also suggests motorcyclists need to be patient when sharing the road with other summer travelers and recreational vehicles. While Sturgis is a place to have a good time, Morrow reminds motorcyclists not to drink and ride. It is never a good idea in Montana or wherever motorcyclists are heading.

During 2012, 30 people died in crashes in Montana involving a motorcycle, an increase of 43 percent from 2011—and almost 15 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the state for the entire twelve-month period.

“In order to prevent motorcycle crashes, everyone on the road needs to be courteous to each other and take safety seriously,” Morrow said. “Drivers need to be alert for motorcycles and give them room. Motorcycle riders need to take care to be seen by the drivers of other vehicles.”

Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety (MMRS) became Montana's official motorcycle training school in 1989 as a part of the Montana Office of Public Instruction in Helena. Later it was relocated to Havre, Montana as part of Montana State University-Northern.

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