Bikers are a fun and an often charitable group of people. When the fall weather is nice, riders can be found at the latest motorcycle event in support of a good cause. If you attend motorcycle rallies to raise money and awareness for a cause, you know these rallies can be both fun and dangerous. Whether you are attending a small town rally or the world-famous Sturgis Rally in support of the Sturgis volunteer fire department and police reserve, make sure you are ready for any bumps in the road.
Increased Accident Rates
Many motorcycle rallies draw in bikers from other cities and states. This large influx of bikes on the road can cause a city of a few thousand to multiply overnight, exponentially increasing the risk of accidents. Often, drivers are not paying attention and fail to notice motorcycles that have the right of way. Unfortunately, this puts riders at risk. At this year’s Sturgis rally, the first two days saw 23 accidents – 12 of which caused injuries. Unfortunately, the risk of accidents is also increased by the number of people who tend to drive under the influence (DUI) at these rallies. For the same two days at Sturgis, 47 people were arrested for DUIs.
You put a lot of love into your bike; why not show it off? It can be tempting to rev your engine when someone wants to race and other riders are looking on, but doing so is dangerous. Not only could you lose control of your bike, but you might also find yourself in an unwanted clash with the local law enforcement.
Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Violence
With more than 44,000 riders in the U.S. believed to belong to motorcycle gangs, it’s not unusual for violence to break out at rallies – particularly when rival gang members are present. For example, three people died in a 2002 gang-related scuffle that occurred during the annual Laughlin River Run bike rally in Nevada southeast of Las Vegas.
Even the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) formally recognizes the presence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. According to the DOJ, these gangs exist with the purpose of carrying out criminal activity and using violence and intimidation to ensure the accomplishment of those objectives. There are currently an estimated 500 large, organized motorcycle gang networks in the U.S., many of which are highly sophisticated and have access to international intelligence networks. Consequently, these gangs are considered a formidable threat to both law enforcement officers and society as a whole.
Staying Safe at Rallies
Our goal here at Marine Agency Insurance is to make sure you arrive and leave alive at motorcycle rallies.
First and foremost, that means wearing a helmet every time you ride, regardless of how far or how fast you plan to travel. According to the Centers for Disease Control, wearing your helmet reduces your risk of death by 37 percent. It also means engaging in responsible riding behavior – i.e. no racing.
Next, we recommend being aware of your surroundings at rallies. The vast majority of riders – more than 99 percent – are law-abiding citizens. That means that most motorcycle rallies have no violent outbursts and are generally safe for all attendees. However, keep your distance if you notice any disputes that may be getting out of hand.
Finally, make sure you are well-insured before attending a motorcycle rally. Even the safest riders can be victim to negligent drivers, especially if you are attending a rally in a town you aren’t familiar with. As a rider, having the right coverage is essential and Marine Agency Insurance can help you find the right coverage for you.