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Rapid City officials ready for motorcycle rally

August 1, 2018

In this Tuesday, July 31, 2018 photo, motorcycle riders travel along Tatanka Road in Rapid City, S.D. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially begins Friday, Aug. 3, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. (Ryan Hermens/Rapid City Journal via AP)

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — Rapid City law enforcement, transportation and health care officials are preparing for an onslaught of traffic, accidents and injuries linked to an upcoming annual motorcycle rally.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, taking place less than 30 miles north of Rapid City, begins Friday and runs through Aug. 12.

“We encourage city employees to be extra cautious as they’re doing their jobs,” Rapid City communications coordinator Darrell Shoemaker told the Rapid City Journal .

The state Department of Transportation will put up temporary signals and signs throughout the Black Hills to ease traffic, reduce speeds and increase safety.

“The highway patrol will be out in force as they always are during the rally,” said State Department of Public Safety spokesman Tony Mangan.

The agency also announced that it will have sobriety checkpoints in Meade, Pennington, Butte and Fall River counties in August.

“We really encourage all people coming out for the rally to do all the basic safety things — slow down, wear your seatbelt, be ready to share the road, don’t get distracted,” Mangan said.

Regional Health’s hospitals, clinics and urgent care facilities are also readying for a surge of patients due to the rally, said Marla Venjohn, who is coordinating the system’s rally planning.

The health system expects an influx of rally-related head trauma and neurosurgery cases, she said. More staff will be available to accommodate.

Regional Health’s urgent care center in Rapid City will have extended hours during the week.

“We hope that will help our locals to be able to have urgent care as an option if (their medical need) is appropriate,” Venjohn said.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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