5 Reasons Why Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the Perfect Way to Ride Out the 2020 Pandemic
Among the many events canceled due to concerns of spreading the COVID-19 virus, the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is most decidedly NOT one of them.
Now in its 80th year, the annual gathering of motorcycle aficionados has received the official go-ahead from the Sturgis South Dakota City Council to start their engines, with some precautionary good-sense modifications, as scheduled from Friday, August 7th through Sunday, August 16th.
Some traditional rally activities, such as the opening ceremonies and parade as well as similar events that draw crowds and make social distancing difficult to enforce, have unfortunately been canceled. Nonetheless, bikers can still look forward to the main event of 10 days of touring the South Dakota Black Hills and surrounding landscapes.
In addition, attendees can expect to enjoy the sounds of leading national and local country, rock and blues artists such as Lita Ford, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Quiet Riot at a range of outdoor venues as well as eating and drinking establishments where all social distancing and sanitation protocols will be followed. However, some if not all indoor concerts have been canceled due to the likelihood of increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Here are five reasons why the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is able to move forward even during a pandemic.
1. It’s Outside
Medical experts agree that the risk of catching the coronavirus is significantly much lower outdoors. This is because exposure to sunlight is believed to kill some of the viruses, and the wind is likely to disperse most viral droplets. This is why beaches and parks are re-opening and people feel confident to eat, drink and socialize outdoors. This is not to say that social distancing and mask-wearing should be ignored, but it is to say people can enjoy being outdoors and with a little bit of caution be assured of their safety.
In fact, thousands of people gathered in Sturgis during the recent Fourth of July celebrations without spreading the disease. According to Sturgis city manager Daniel Ainslie, the community didn’t see a significant spike in coronavirus cases, which was one of the driving reasons for allowing the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to proceed. And why medical experts believe there wasn’t a rise in COVID-19 cases following the recent demonstrations throughout the United States is that people were moving (thus not staying in place where viral droplets might be lingering and inhaled), many were wearing masks and they were outdoors.
2. Everybody is on Motorcycles
Driving a motorcycle is almost the definition of social distancing—it’s just you on your bike. In most cases, you’re wearing a helmet. And if there’s a significant other on the seat behind you, well, chances are the significant other has been sheltering with you in place all during the pandemic anyway, so you’re both probably safe.
Admittedly, once off the bike riders like to congregate and share experiences, but as long as it’s outdoors and people adhere to social distancing and other CDC guidelines, risks are again minimal. Probably less risky than actually riding a motorcycle.
3. Speedy Testing
Effective testing is essential to identify a potential outbreak as well as provide immediate treatment and quickly isolate the infected to prevent the spread of the disease. This is why the South Dakota Department of Health is sending 20 COVID-19 machines capable of producing reliable tests in a matter of minutes. In addition, the city of Sturgis is making 1,300 tests available to residents.
4. Complete CDC Compliance
The city of Sturgis announced a number of sanitary requirements to ensure the safety of residents as well as visiting riders. These include in addition to canceling certain events likely to result in overcrowding:
- Prohibition of motorcycle parking on designated streets to allow for outdoor bar and restaurant seating.
- Restricted occupancy at designated venue sites to enforce social distancing.
- Ban the carrying of open container alcoholic drinks anywhere in the city.
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) purchased and stockpiled for use by local businesses and city staff.
- Installation of public sanitation handwashing stations along Main Street and throughout the downtown area.
- Increase the frequency of Porta Potty sanitizations.
- Nightly disinfection of sidewalks.
- Vendor agreements to enforce guidelines for register distancing, occupancy levels, and PPE use.
- Encourage resident utilization of the Sturgis Good Deeds program whereby residents with pre-existing conditions, in the high-risk category and/or general health concerns are supplied with contactless delivery of grocery and other essential needs free of charge.
- Temporary traffic controls and transportation services to reduce congestion.
Local businesses are preparing for a busy time—typically three times busier than any other time during the year—made all the more busier by the need to institute CDC guidelines. Extra staff has been hired specifically to wipe down carts and other surfaces that people typically touch. Many are opening temporary outdoor locations. Restaurants are reducing capacity and enforcing table spacing, and, of course, employees will wear masks at all times.
The city council has also stated it reserves the right to cancel any and all events immediately should COVID-19 numbers spike.
5. Riding Out with Common Sense and Respect
Perhaps the most single important factor is the request by the city of Sturgis that attendees maintain the safety of the community and its guests by respecting all protocols and guidelines. While the specter of over a half-million motorcyclists—one year reported as many as 700,000 attendees—descending upon Sturgis, local law enforcement reports that the issue most commonly dealt with is illegal parking.
Sure, there are always a few bad apples that ruin it for everyone. And there is still that image of bikers as outlaws. But as John Morris reports in Cruiser magazine at what really happens at a Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the majority are nice people out for an enjoyable ride. And the best way to make the rally enjoyable for everyone is to obey the protocols and ensure everyone can stay safe while still having a good time. And that’s why the Sturgis 2020 Motorcycle Rally is not canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Perfect DIY Project After The Event
Most likely leading up to this event, you got an itch to build your very own dream bike to show off, especially afterward seeing so many badass bikes day after days. The best way to start is with the wheels.
Create your perfect ride by installing a new motorcycle wheel on the front, back, or both! Finding the right wheel for the job and within budget is easy when you get it from SMT Machining with interest-free financing available through the FlexPay program. Get your motorcycle wheels and parts BEFORE they are even paid in full, no credit check and fast approvals.
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