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Basem Wasef

Sturgis: 4 Dead in 3 days

By August 8, 2012

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Sturgis Rally

Though many are doubtless enjoying the 2012 Sturgis motorcycle rally so far, the annual event has already claimed four lives in only three days.

It's no secret that massive bike gatherings can be responsible for numerous fatalities, and Sturgis is certainly no exception. But the pace of this year's loss of life is a reminder of just how rapidly things can go south; last year saw a total of four deaths, while 2010 holds the record with a total of nine deaths.

Local authorities cite excessive speed and alcohol use as primary reasons for the accident rate, but it's also likely that unstructured group riding habits don't help matters, especially since events like Sturgis often involve negotiating through large masses of motorcyclists.

Source: Associated Press


Photo © Getty Images

August 8, 2012 at 8:19 am
(1) Pete says:

Booze & bikes, and probably no helmets…sounds like another fine example of the gene pool cleaning itself.
Mr. Darwin had no idea how right he was.

August 8, 2012 at 10:21 am
(2) Ninja Kev says:

Well said Pete. I was trying to think of a politically-correct way to say the same thing. In the spirit of benefit of the doubt and without details we don’t know how many died at the hands of the “caged” car drivers who weren’t paying attention. Having said that I refer back to Pete’s comment. If you die due to your stupidity, carelessness and not wearing a helmet then don’t expect us to feel bad for you. If I plowed my Ninja into an abutment at 110 mph the hardcore biker crowd would likely celebrate and say, “Good, another damn riceburner off the road.”

August 8, 2012 at 10:38 am
(3) Pete says:

Thanks Kev.
Nothing even remotely PC will come out of this. The chasm between “rice burners” / “jap crap” and the ‘other’ guys is never wider than this sort of situation.
We know they’re wrong & they know they’re wrong…the only difference is they won’t admit it.
Keep it up boys…you’re doing fine. One day the 1% will drop to .8%, then .5%. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

August 8, 2012 at 11:05 am
(4) Bill says:

I couldn’t agree more with the first three comments!

Booze, Speed, and No Helmet add up to fatalities every time! There are way too many rider’s out there that think they are “Bulletproof.”

The people that suffer the most are the ones that are left behind!

August 8, 2012 at 11:23 am
(5) fedvet says:

Ditto all the preceding.

August 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm
(6) Dabber says:

I understand every ones point, but loss of life is loss of life and shouldn’t be so casually dismissed. I’m sure these people had family, friends. Bad decisions are made daily in a multitude of ways. Death is Death. I wouldn’t want anyone saying, ” it was only a matter of time, He road that motorcycle everywhere”. I wear gear to mitigate the damage in case of a accident, but it’s not foolproof . Have a little compassion for those that share our passion. Albeit sometimes misguided.

August 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm
(7) EdB says:

WOW- you guys are amazing! Nowhere in any of the news/ articles (That I can find) is it stated
- The type of bike (“Non-Jap crap”)
-if helmets were worn,
-if speed or alcohol were involved
-if any of the deceased were part of a 1% club.

You already have them as drunk, speeding, non-metric riding (= Harley?) 1%’ers.
As always you guys never disappoint when it comes to stereotyping…..

Ex: the article says “Law officers say speed and alcohol use are top concerns.” It doesnít say it was the CAUSE OF….

NOW I remember why I donít bother to read the comments on these articles……..

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
Abraham Lincoln

August 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(8) Pete says:

EdB….try reading it again. It’s not called “Sturgis” because there’s Beemers & Wings all over the place. If you’re not riding a Hog, give that event a very wide berth. Do you really think Willy & the boys came up with the name for their bike off a Ouija board?
And of course it’s almost exclusively 1%er’s….most everyone else has brains enough to wear a helmet and keep booze out of the equation.
At least no one was shot…that’s an improvement … maybe!!
Sterotyping? I don’t think so….just a cold hard fact.
It looks like dog shxx
It smells like dog shxx
It tastes like dog shxx
Sure glad I didn’t step in it…

August 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(9) Joe says:

EdB I couldn’t have said it better. I haven’t been commenting on here as much either for the same reasons. Some people come on here “trolling” just to get things going I guess. Shame because I like Basem’s reviews and articles on here.

August 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm
(10) Scott says:

Thoughtless, rude, stereotypical Monday morning quarterbacking at its best. Without doubt you two brainless morons will not be missed when you “Darwin out”. Case in point: One of the riders was a kind young man who worked very hard to earn the money to buy his Harley. The trip to Sturgis was his dream and he took a good friend with him. We don’t know all the details yet, or what made them leave the road, but it appears he made sure his passenger was as safe as possible when the accident happened, probably at the cost of his own life. His friends, including my own daughter, will miss him deeply for his humor, his generosity and his thoughtfulness. Not that you will read this far, but just try to have some sympathy for his grieving friends and family., would you?

August 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm
(11) Mike says:

Well said Scott. The callousness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

August 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(12) Johnny Thomas says:

This is to the Ninja fella you are just as drunk at 110 mph as any one of those hard to die guy’s we all know that commenting on some thing when your doing some thing even more stupid and causing others to loose control like older people when you go between them and another car at high speed give’s them an un expected jolt that causes wreck’s
I have road a motorcycle all my life and I am60 years old and had a few spills and a few caused by drinking but the worst was by a motorist not respecting a cycle and those Ninja Jap.s that are not motorcycles at all and do not fit the same temperment as rael motorcycle’s .I also drove truck long distance and I had to drive looking of me because of people driving smaller vehicle’s took truck’s granite and that cause them get killed or kill some one.So when I ride as always I try to drive ahead because the bike get no respect and some will kill them or cause some one to get killed and then those Ninja rider’s just add bad problems to it all because they think they have to run 110 mph and pass between cars which will turn them into hamburger just as quick as any so it boil’s down to who has the most respect for all .So did not blame it all on those guy’s when you are sober at 110 mph and think that it is alright because you should have just as well be drunk drunk riding that fast and you will turn your self or some one into hamburger some day .Most of those guy’s go for ride to see and look not to be taken for granite and killed because you can;t drive safe offensive or defensive but ready to blame it on some one else after all you didn’t have to try to miss him so that make’s you innocent or does it
Johnny T.

August 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm
(13) Pete says:

Will some one please translate Johhny T’s post?
What’s granite got to do with anything?

August 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm
(14) Speed says:

I’ll agree that riding too fast for conditions and drinking are contributing factors in many bike wrecks that result in death. ALSO,distracted car drivers (Hey,look at THAT pretty blue bike!),distracted riders (Wait-is that guy parking or pulling out of a space?),poor road conditions (Beer on concrete is very slick!),etc. There’s so many other things that play a part in a wreck,the two mentioned ARE pretty common.
Interesting that helmets are so aggressively promoted to “save lives”;look how many “life saving helmets” can’t withstand a drop from 10 feet without shattering,even DOT approved ones (The DOT doesn’t even have a way to test/approve helmets). If they’re so good,all car occupants should be wearing them too,since far more people die of head injuries in car accidents than in bike accidents every year. Rather than forcing people to wear “band-aid remedies” for WHEN they wreck,why not concentrate on teaching drivers of bikes,cars,trucks and anything in between to AVOID wrecking. It can be done-there’s a LOT of OLD drivers,truckers and bikers who learned young,and took to heart,the skills to avoid getting in situations that put them in danger. I live in a helmet-law state,so I’ve become used to wearing the lid;I’ve noticed though,that when I ride in states that allow freedom of the road,I tend to ride MORE cautiously,more defensively and with higher awareness of my surroundings than with my senses dulled by the helmet. And it also plays into this that knowing the “armor” is tied to the bike keeps me mindful that it’s gonna hurt more if I DO wreck.
BTW-did anyone see where the Feds want to mandate that every buyer of gasoline must buy at least 4 gallons of 15% Ethanol gas per fill up? Gonna be pretty tough for people on bikes with smaller tanks. (Can I get a “to-go” jug for that last 3.3 gallons?) When is this BS gonna stop??

August 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm
(15) Ronnie says:

I say my payers to the families of the accident victims
This year I did not attend Sturgis… (I’m bummed!)
For the record: I ride a Honda Goldwing

August 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm
(16) kpflip says:

Last time i looked, it was my right to wear or not wear a lid. I’ve been to sturgis 15 times and never had a problem with these so called 1%ers you talk about. Maybe try minding your own f****ing business for a change. It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as you ride!!!!!!!!!!

August 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm
(17) OMAA says:

Your wrong about Darwin.Just read your own post. “Natural Selection”, I don’t think so. Your parents should have looked into PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

August 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm
(18) Terry Herlihy says:

I am alive today because of a full face helmet and leathers. It was not very comfortable on a 100 degree but sure came in handy when the car in front of me decided to slam on the brakes at 50mph and me and the cars behind me all went into a skid trying to slow down. Banged up and bruised but still riding and planning on another Sturgis trip next year.

August 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm
(19) MichaelRoadGlide says:

Just came back from 3 days in Sturgis and its apparent from some of these comments that a few people havent ever actually been. Its a fun, energized mixture of many types of bikes, including non-Harleys. We celebrate the freedom of riding, and the association of friends near and far. We choose freely to ride with and without our helmets, and we hold no one but ourselves accountable for that choice. Stereotypes, of any kind, create separation between all of us… and regardless of the ‘ride’ you’ve chosen, we’re all bound together by the freedom we have to actually enjoy that ride. I appreciate all the friends I have, and all the new friends I made on this 2012 Sturgis Rally… you should too.

August 9, 2012 at 7:36 am
(20) Randy G says:

Watch it with the media, guys and gals! We can’t tell from the info given what these accidents were. It could have been a single mishap with two bikes and their riders, or four separate ‘sport-bikes’ that happened to be within 100 miles of Sturgis… don’t forget that the ‘powers that be’ want to take away our bikes and our ability to drive independent of their computers and control. Don’t underestimate the media’s willingness to tell lies…

August 9, 2012 at 8:39 am
(21) Chuck Jenkins says:

Peter.. what the heck is the comment between Japanese and American bikes having a diffference if fatalaties. I had to get rid of my Harley after it left me stranded for the 3rd time. Now, I’ve ridden my Yamaha Silverado over 50,000 miles without a *single* problem. And by the way, Harley’s used electronics from Japan. My Yamaha was built 100% in the USA.

August 9, 2012 at 8:45 am
(22) Chuck Jenkins says:

Amen, Scott. Thanks for the perspective. All kinds of people ride to Sturgis. I know a buddy from work that rode up with a few friends. I know eight guys from a motorcycle ministry from Va that rode up. They are all someone’s realatives, sons-daughters-mothers-fathers-grandkids-grandparents. Here’s hoping that all return safely to where they have come from.

August 9, 2012 at 9:47 am
(23) Scottie says:

I don’t care what people ride, but people that ride should take the necessary steps to stay safe.

I always find it ridiculous that people stop at the NY/Connecticut border to take off their helmets.

That said, whenever you get a large group together the odds are that something is going to happen. After all, cruise ships have morgues, don’t they?

August 9, 2012 at 10:22 am
(24) LTR4ever says:

Talk about stereotyping, those a$$es have never been to Sturgis. Lots of Jap bikes there and they are not all 1%ers. @ Chuck, all Harley’s are also built 100% in the USA. Your Yamaha has Japanese parts just like Harley. It’s almost impossible to build a vehicle like a motorcycle or car with all USA parts and do it at a profit. There is a difference between building something in a country and the parts you use to build that product.

August 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm
(25) Ninja Kev says:

My apologies to Scott for being rude and callous. After re-reading my post I was unfairly cruel and I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. As to Johnny T’s post, I really have no idea what you’re saying. If you were to employ a period here and there that would be very helpful too. Speaking of stereotyping it’s assumed that because I ride a crotchrocket I will undoubtedly ride like an a—— and risk injuring someone by diving in and out of traffic. In fact I ride respectfully and defensively and the only time I’ll “cut it close” is to get ahead of drivers playing “wingman” or to get out of a group of cars that are jockeying back and forth for position. The only time I ride “crazy” is when I’m no where near other drivers or riders. Since I live in Denver I have the option to ride west and quickly be in the mountains and on weekdays the traffic is very light so I can get a little wild and only endanger myself. I think helmet laws are stupid and unconstituitional, if you’re willing to risk your life for the freedom you enjoy then that choice is entirely yours. I’ve never had the desire to visit Sturgis during bike week because I don’t enjoy crowds, drunk drivers/riders, high prices and despite what LTR4ever says, I wouldn’t feel welcome on my 2006 Kawi green Ninja 500R. There would likely be at least a few hard-core Harley riders who, after downing a few gallons of beer, would enjoy kicking my bike over and pissing on it. Riding is all about freedom but that freedom has to be coupled with common sense because if you ignore the risks, you’ll have a very short ride indeed.

August 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm
(26) Scottie says:

Ninja Kev,

Me having to pay for your head injury for the rest of your life is unconstitutional.

August 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(27) Pete says:

The only point of Ninja Kev’s I disagree with is the same one Scottie does. The rest of it Kev – bang on, perfect, couldn’t possibly have said it better.
I too feel for the families.
However –
As far as the IDIOT who get’s loaded and get’s on his bike or in a car…good riddance and let’s hope you don’t take anyone with you.
Natural selection – at it’s finest.

August 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm
(28) Pete says:

Oh yeah…1 more thing.
Basem….God bless you, you sure can pick them…home run on this one!!
1 more scooter post and I was gonna yak on my keyboard…

August 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm
(29) Allie says:

I have been to Sturgis now 4 years. There is a reason biker gangs are referred to as 1% – that is because they are 1%. Half a million people in Sturgis and 1 % may or may not be the element you so ignorantly refer to.

There are Christian groups here and many other types of motorcycles in addition to Harley AND THE NICEST PEOPLE YOU WILL EVER MEET.

August 10, 2012 at 1:39 am
(30) kirby J says:

Don’t talk trash if you have never been to Sturgis. How can you speak to something if you have never experienced it. I moved to Denver from Rapid City in 1994. I used to attend the rally back in the 90′s. I have been there the last 3 years. In the early days the was a lot more hell raising than Sturgis of today. Now 3/4 of the people trailer their bikes. Hell they have 80,000 – 100,000 dollar motorhomes. Satalite dishes everyqhere. 1/2 the people that go there are probably doctors lawers, business owners. It has changed, it has become a yuppy hangout. Family friendly. I wish the days of old were back. A lot of hell raising a d partying. So those of you that speak os the 1%ers have no idea of qhat you are talking about. There are some there. So what? They keep to themselves, they have no beef with the average person. You clowns that talk the crap have no idea of what you are talking about. You don’t go because you are scared. Please by all means stay home. We don’t want you there!

August 10, 2012 at 2:40 am
(31) motorcycles says:


Fair warning: got a bunch of scooter posts coming up.



August 10, 2012 at 11:08 am
(32) Ninja Kev says:

You’ve lost me Scott. I’ve never suffered a brain injury because I always wear a FF helmet. Maybe your comment was a poorly executed attempt at humor. So much for people accepting apologies. A once lively discussion has deteriorated into a Jerry Springer episode. Let’s hope everyone can get out on their bike today, have some fun and remind ourselves just how truly enjoyable it is to be on two wheels.

August 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm
(33) Troy Mason says:

To all of you experts out there, one of these four was my friend. Who are you people to judge how someone lives their life? This man was a good rider and simply had an accident. You choose to wear a helmet good for you. His death had nothing to do with a helmet, booze, or a cager, but let’s go ahead and jump to conclusions and judge because that’s what the internet let’s us do. You live your life and we will live ours.I never understand why articles come out like this and people think we are asking for your input! Get a life and quit judging others when you probably aren’t perfect yourself, in the meantime I’m going to ride my motorcycle to my friends funeral this week and remember him as someone who lived life to the fullest and died doing something he loved surrounded by those that loved him!

August 12, 2012 at 10:35 am
(34) Ninja Kev says:

I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend Troy. Thank you for putting all of us in our place, we certainly deserve it. In my future comments I will remember what you said to all of us here and leave judgment behind and put compassion first. You’ve really opened my eyes and for that I thank you. Please accept my apologies. It’s really easy to become judgmental when you forget that no matter what the circumstances leading to an accident were in the end a beloved friend or family member has been lost. May your friend rest in peace and enjoy great rides at his next stop.

August 13, 2012 at 10:41 am
(35) Thom says:

Hey paw theres one of those motor bikes in maws flowers out there. Watch out possum that just might be one of those 1%ers, there mean & nasty just like one of those coons caught up in a trap. get ur sis and hide down in the cellar until i tell ya its safe to come out. Ok folks sturgis is over you all can come out behind those keyboards and have coffee at the diner now. GEEEZ how sad it is not to know the people you slam – oh wait arent these the same people that protect our country ? have family & friends, kids, and our loved just like anyone else in this world. Just because they ride doesnt mean they bleed different than anyone else. Are you that scared you can’t enjoy the riches that this rally brings to your town – get to know why they choose to do the things they do. Though that would mean being social and actually meeting people from across the globe or just hold up in the cellar for a week and let the world pass you by. MORONS

August 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(36) mike says:

Just returned. Few 1%ers, most regular riders. Lots of Harleys, but saw every brand out there. No one I came across was disrespectful.
Lot’s of drinking, but few drunk. Keep in perspective that there are 500,000 bikes there mixing with auto’s, who are also drinking and texting. I wear a helmet and drive a Kawasaki. No one messed with my bike or really seemed to care what I drove.

August 28, 2012 at 10:11 am
(37) Rudolph.A.furtado says:

Booze, bikes and no helmet guarantees a appointment with death or severe hospitilization if very lucky.I am speaking from experience having narrowly escaped being a motorcycle death statistic due to a little excessive booze than the normal, although sober.Luckily i always wear a helmet which definitely saved my life. Sturgis is America a different Country, standard of living and culture compared to Mumbai, but, motorcylists all over the World belong to a unique culture, “MOTORCYLE CULTURE”. Condolences to the dead at Sturgis.

September 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm
(38) NoFreeRide says:

I started riding when I was five years old on an old cushman, I’m now 59 and ride somewhere around 20,000 miles a year… I know from my own experience that you can be stone sober, wearing a helmet and driving the speed limit, a 99%er and have cream to turn crap in just a heart beat…. The loss of life is a terrible thing no matter what the cause… It was my 19th year at Sturgis this year and like it or not there are a few people that really shouldn’t be anywhere close to the controls of a bike… I actually surprized that there weren’t more sewrious accidents….

November 17, 2012 at 10:11 pm
(39) mike says:


January 12, 2013 at 10:37 am
(40) tc says:

Hey pete screw you you think your better than riders. Ill bet you are just another one of those guys that think their s… doesn’t smell. You talk without knowing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those people. Take the stick out of your Darwinian butt. You try to sound educated but the truth is your ignorance shows though on what you wrote. Your just another judgemental idiot.

January 12, 2013 at 10:45 am
(41) tc says:

Hey fellow riders the best thing you can do is ignore this ahole pete. He is the kind of guy who gets his rocks off typing and pissing people off. He is probably impotent and this is his only outlet. My recommendation is simply ignore his dumb ass

February 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm
(42) Dottie says:

Booze and biking do not mix, there should be a limit of drinks for each person, not how much money businesses can make during bike week.

February 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm
(43) Dottie says:

Booze and biking do not mix, there should be a limit of drinks for each person, not how much money businesses can make during bike week.

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