The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota draws hundreds of thousands of riders from around the world. Bikers often make the pilgrimage by riding hundreds of miles to attend, and some will pass through Colorado. This fact prompts the Colorado Department of Transportation (CODOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement to launch the high-visibility Sturgis Rally DUI enforcement period from August 4-15. Colorado law enforcement is on the lookout for bikers, issuing moving violations and driving under the influence citations.
Sturgis 2021 numbers
Initial reports from Sturgis are still coming in, but last year’s numbers were:
- 60 injury crashes (four fatal)
- 50 non-injury crashes
- 122 DUI arrests
- 151 misdemeanor drug arrests
- 112 felony drug arrests
- 1,572 citations
- 4,319 warnings
Important tips to remember
While the above numbers are daunting, riders are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Bikers must remember that they do not need to make the officer’s job easier. These tips can help avoid unnecessary problems or escalations:
- Stay calm, respectful and polite.
- Do not reach for anything without first telling the officer.
- Be cooperative (provide license and insurance), but do not volunteer any details that could be considered incriminating.
- Obeying traffic laws means they do not have an excuse to pull you over.
- Find a safe place to pull over and turn off the bike once you’ve stopped.
- After the stop, document what happened using a voice memo or write it down.
Defendants can fight charges
Repeated traffic violations and criminal charges lead to increasingly severe penalties, so it is often a good idea to fight the charges in court. The officers may have committed a procedural error or violated the biker’s rights in some way, so a criminal law attorney with experience defending bikers against moving violations or DUI can help identify these lapses. They can also help ensure that the charges fit the magnitude of the crime or offense.