Statewide – As motorists travel through North Dakota for the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, which begins August 4, it is important to remind all drivers to follow the rules of the road. To help promote traffic safety, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and partnering states including Colorado, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, are promoting a “Safe 2 Sturgis” message. North Dakota will be promoting this message through banners placed at four rest areas around the state, as well as social media content encouraging all motorists to be alert and drive responsibly. Last year in North Dakota, over 80 percent of all reported motorcycle crashes resulted in injury or death. Of the 12 motorcycle fatalities in 2016, 83 percent were not wearing a helmet.
In addition to abiding by all laws, following these simple safety tips below can help save lives:
Motorcyclists can increase their safety on the roads by:
- Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet and full protective gear. Compliant helmets are labeled with the DOT logo.
- Wearing brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Taking a training course.
- Obeying all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
- Using hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
- Never riding distracted or impaired.
Tips for motorists to prevent a crash with a motorcyclist:
- Look twice for motorcycles. Check all mirrors and blind spots when entering an intersection, changing lanes, passing or turning left.
- Stay back. Motorcycles can stop more quickly than a vehicle.
- Do not share the lane. Motorcycles have the same right-of-way as any other vehicle, including the full lane width.
- Actively watch for motorcycles that may be hidden.
“We strongly encourage motorcyclists and all other motorists to take every precaution on the roads. It can save a life, possibly your own,” said Karin Mongeon, NDDOT Safety Division Director. “Partnering with other states is an effective way for North Dakota to expand our reach to remind all road users of the importance of sharing the road and following the law to assure everyone arrives safely to their destination."
The NDDOT also encourages riders at any skill level to take a safety course. There are two courses available - one is designed for beginners or returning riders who need to refresh their skills and another for experienced, licensed riders that provides strategies to heighten awareness and skill levels.
Information on motorcycle safety courses can be found at www.ndmsp.com.