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Law Enforcement Urges Cautious Driving During Rally

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Charles Michael Ray SDPB
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  Traffic safety is a concern every year during the Sturgis Rally. The 75 Anniversary is expected to be the largest on record, bringing as many as 1-million people over the next few weeks. That means locals can expect lots more traffic. Officials are warning motorists to drive safely during the event.

The Sturgis Rally officially begins next week, but traffic is already filling up the Black Hills. To handle this, law enforcement is taking new initiatives to help prevent accidents.  Monica Heller is the Rapid City regional traffic engineer. She says Stop Traffic Advisory systems have been added to some heavy traffic areas in the Black Hills.

“There are radar detectors placed that will measure the speed that traffic is going. And so once traffic slows down below a certain speed, there’ll be a message board that’s about a mile away from that that will have a message that says ‘slow traffic ahead. Be prepared to stop.’ And that way people aren’t just coming up on a long queue of traffic and having to either slam on their breaks or have rear end collisions,” Heller explains.

She says officials are also reducing the speed limit on I-90 from Rapid City to Sturgis and increasing law enforcement personnel. She says they don’t expect traffic to become backed up on the highway, but that there are plans in place to handle that situation.

Chris Hislip is a Sergeant at the Pennington County Sheriff's office. He says motorists need to take personal safety precautions as well.

“Slow it down, look twice. Don’t be in such a hurry. No alcohol or drugs. Obviously those seem to be a factor in a large percentage of our crashes. And then utilizing our safety equipment, wearing our helmets, wearing out seatbelts. Don’t drive beyond your abilities,” Hislip warns.  

Law enforcement officials say that they are more carefully monitoring adding warning signs to areas where a large number of accidents have occurred during past rallies.