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Motorcycles line up outside of the Irma Hotel on Friday afternoon at the start of Sturgis week.

It’s Sturgis week, which means many motorcycles on area roads.

“We have a lot of customers coming through for Sturgis,” Cody Harley Davidson store cashier Bethany Bash said. “It’s by far the busiest time.”

It’s also a time for drivers and riders to take caution on the roads, as the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol reminded people Thursday, the day before the start of the nine-day event.

This year’s event will run from Aug. 2-11.

“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.”

Bash had a simple tip for riders, many of whom will pass by the store to collect custom T-shirts and poker chips from the Cody store.

“Don’t drink and ride,” she said.

The following are other safety tips motorists and motorcyclists can follow.

Motorists should:

•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. 

 

Motorcyclists should:

•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.

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