The South Dakota authorities reported the first accidents, arrests and citations from the city on Sundayin the western part of the state. The annual rally started on Friday and drew thousands of maskless drivers onto the streets and bars of Sturgis.
While organizers have indicated that they expect fewer visitors than in other years, the Argus guide reports that the number of arrests and citations has increased year-on-year.
The Ministry of Public Security reported that over a 24-hour period from Saturday to Sunday morning, police made 84 arrests for driving under the influence or drug offenses. That is the last year when 76 people were arrested over a similar period.
Police have also issued more quotes, with 226 people being given tickets. The number is 37 more than last year. But it seems that this year the police are less lenient, leaving fewer people off with warnings.
So far the police in the region have reported 18 accidents, which is below the previous year’s figure of 20. None was fatal.
ShrugIn the US, thousands of motorcyclists gathered in Sturgis this weekend to celebrate the world’s largest bicycle meeting.
“I’ve been here since early July,” one person in Sturgis told CBS News. “People are fed up with being at home, you know. That’s what this freedom rally was about.”
In June the city officials decided with eight to one votes to continue the rally, reports the CBS subsidiary KELO. In an email to CBS News, Sturgis City Public Information Officer Christina Steele said the “decision to hold the rally was made after thousands of attendees heard they would be coming to the event, even if they were from.” the city of Sturgis was canceled. “”
Over the past few years, the 10-day rally in the town of Sturgis has attracted hundreds of thousands of bikers to socialize, drink and celebrate together. Some locals fear that this year’s version could be a superspreader event.
Currently, the north-central state is nowhere near the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – Meade County, where Sturgis is located, has only recorded one virus death, according to state health officials. But in the past two weeks, South Dakota has seen the percentage of virus tests positive – and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Face The Nation that a
“This is so widespread across the country that it could infect more rural communities that have remained largely untouched,” he said.
Some of the bikers flocking to the area are from distant states, which are far more affected.
South Dakota, the site of the famous massive sculpture of four former presidents on Mount Rushmore – where President Donald Trump held a rally last month – is one of the few who has never placed a ban or insisted on wearing masks.
Participants in Sturgis are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. Few seemed to be doing this.
With the main street of the city filling up with bikes and bars with bikers, there is little evidence of social distancing. The visitors to this 80th edition of the bike rally are already significantly larger than the 6,000 residents of Sturgis who are trapped in the hills of South Dakota.
The rally has long been a great economic boon to Sturgis and sellers took full advantage of it on Sunday.
They sold T-shirts that read “I survived Corona” or “God, Guns and Trump” or wore a photomontage of the President wearing a leather jacket and making an obscene gesture.
While some locals worried about the two-wheeled invaders, the state governor gave them a warm hug.
“We are happy that the visitors see what our great state has to offer!” Kristi Noem, a Republican and strong Trump supporter, tweeted.
Caitlin O’Kane contributed to this report.