SHERIDAN, WY— With more motorcyclists expected on the roads in the next week, the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol want to remind all motorists to be extra vigilant when driving.
The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will start this weekend, which means more traffic on Wyoming’s roads and in the northeast part of the state as they head to Sturgis. This year’s event will run from Aug. 2 to 11.
Hulett is also expected to have a higher-than-normal number of motorcyclists over the next week for the community’s annual Ham ‘N Jam event on Aug. 7.
“We have a lot of motorcyclists converging in one area during that week,” said WHP Lt. Kyle McKay. “Motorists need to be patient with the extra traffic this time of year. Motorcyclists also need to give themselves a little bit more space between themselves and other motorists on the highway to ensure everyone is safe.”
The patrol will be increasing enforcement in the northeast part of the state during Sturgis and Ham ‘N Jam to ensure the safety of all drivers.
“We’re looking for impaired driving, distracted driving, unsafe passing and following too close,” McKay said. “We look for seat-belt violations, child restraint violations, and anything that we deem as unsafe.”
Motorists and motorcyclists can take extra precautions during Sturgis and throughout the summer to help ensure the safety of everyone.
“Motorists and motorcyclists need to share the road and be aware of each other,” McKay said. “Motorists should give additional following distance behind a motorcycle. If a regular vehicle collides with a motorcycle, the motorcyclist doesn’t have the same protection as a person in a car or truck, so they will probably get hurt.”
The following are other safety tips motorists and motorcyclists can follow.
- Stay alert when they see a motorcycle’s turn signal activated. Motorcycle turn signals can be non-canceling, which means the rider may have forgotten to turn it off. Before proceeding, motorists should make sure the motorcycle is turning.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Be extra careful at intersections. A driver should look for other motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists before proceeding through the intersection.
- Allow a greater following distance behind a motorcycle. Give about a three-to-four-second following distance. That will give the motorist more time to maneuver or stop behind a motorcycle in an emergency.
- Wear high-visibility clothing, a helmet, and other safety protection when driving.
- Keep their headlight on to provide them with even more visibility.
- Check their motorcycles to ensure they are safe for the road.
- Know local traffic laws.
- Obey traffic lights, speeds, and signs.
- Commit to riding alcohol and drug-free.