By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Traffic at the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally declined by only 7.5% from 2019 numbers despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to South Dakota officials.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation released the final vehicle count for the event this week, and Sturgis saw 462,182 vehicles come into the small town over the 10-day period of the rally, down 7.5% from 2019’s total of 499,654.
The traffic count was lower for almost all 10 days of the rally compared to last year, except for Aug. 9, which was up 1.1% compared to the first Sunday of the rally in 2019. Most days of the rally saw anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 or more cars coming into Sturgis.
A full traffic report will be released next week.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol also released the public safety tally, which shows how many arrests occurred during the rally.
There were 145 total DUI arrests, down from 171 last year. Seven vehicles were seized for drug possession and the SDHP made 241 misdemeanor and 126 felony drug arrests .
In total, there were four fatal accidents, with five deaths, up from two (both accidents and fatalities) last year.
Accidents in general increased compared to 2019, with 50 non-injury and 56 injury collisions happening in 2020 against 41 and 51 in 2019, respectively.
Only two fewer citations were issued, 1,354, than last year. Warnings were down, 3,576, compared to 2019’s numbers, 4,094.