Rally keeps first responders busy

There are certain sounds that are just synonymous with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The din of large groups of people talking to each other. The roar of the motorcycles as they pass through town, or as their owner tries to see just how loud he can make its pipes scream when he is parked at a stoplight or leaving said stoplight.
Also synonymous with the Rally is the sounds of sirens. Sirens of all kinds—law enforcement, firefighter and ambulance. With the Rally comes thousands upon thousands of people cramming into the relatively small area that is the Black Hills. Inevitably, as that many people get together, accidents, and unfortunately deaths, are going to pile up. That has always been the case when the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fires up, and it always will be as long as the Rally exists.
With that in mind, we should all remember we owe a debt of gratitude to the first responders who spend the entirety of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally answering the call to help those who are injured while out riding the Hills. The Black Hills is home to some of the most beautiful rides you can find, but with those rides come sharp corners, wildlife darting across the road, and beauty that often inspires the person riding the motorcycle to pay more attention to the scenery they are passing by than the road or other traffic in front of them.
Many of the accidents that take place are a simple case of “failure to negotiate a curve,” caused by either traveling at too high of a speed or the aforementioned admiring of the scenery. When that happens, accidents happen. When accidents happen, our first responders answer the call.
You need look at only one day of Rally statistics to see just how busy first responders are kept during the Rally. Take for instance Wednesday, Aug. 9. There were 11 crashes around the Hills, one of which was fatal. That doesn’t even count the additional law enforcement duties that are required, from directing traffic to stopping speeders to arresting DUI offenders. The sheer enormity of it all can probably be a little overwhelming if you stop to think about it.
Locally, our sheriff’s office, Custer Ambulance Service, Custer Volunteer Fire Department, Custer County Search and Rescue, National Park Service, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Forest Service and a host of others do a fine job of attending to those who need help and working to keep us safe. This doesn’t even name all those involved, from county emergency management to hospital staff to Wildland Fire. Many hands are well-versed in the planning and have the expertise needed to pull off a smooth Rally week.
So, from all of us who benefit from the presence of the first responders, as well as the presence of the Rally, we would like to thank all of the first responders who make it possible. Without you, the Rally would be even more chaotic than it already is. Thank you for all you do, and we hope you get to take a moment to rest this week!

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