It seems like Daytona Bike Week is following in the footsteps of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in more ways than one this year. The 80th annual rally recorded its sixth motorcycle-related death on Sunday, March 14, 2021. One more casualty than Sturgis’ 2020 total. Overall crash numbers at the South Dakota event also increased in 2020, with 50 non-injury crashes (41 in 2019) and 56 crashes involving injuries (52 in 2019).
Daytona Beach Bike Week's statistics reflect the same trend, with six deaths in 2020 and just one fatality in 2019. However, crash totals from the 10-day event aren’t yet available. According to local officials, the outlook isn’t positive.
"It may be a record-breaking week, unfortunately," said Halifax Health Medical Center spokesman John Guthrie.
The first death occurred when a 59-year-old New Smyrna Beach resident lost control of his motorcycle at Pioneer Trail and Cypress Springs Parkway. The fatality happened on the first day of the 2021 rally (March 5). Five days later, on March 10, 2021, a 33-year-old rider was killed when he crashed his motorcycle in Port Orange. The third fatal crash followed just one day later on Interstate 95 near Ormond Beach.
The final day of the rally, March 13, 2021, was by far the deadliest. The fourth fatality occurred again in Port Orange when a North Carolina man crashed into a vehicle at the intersection of Nova Road and Sleepy Hollow Drive. A passenger was also killed when a Harley-Davidson Softail rider stopped in the middle of the road to retrieve his fallen cap. A Toyota RAV 4 SUV subsequently rear-ended the motorcycle, killing the 39-year-old woman on the back.
The final death was reported at 12:50 am on March 14, 2021, just minutes after Daytona Beach Bike Week officially ended. The motorcyclist was found dead in the roadway on the 300 Block of Airport Road in Ormond Beach. Police haven’t issued the full reports on the cause of each crash and we won’t speculate on them here. We send our condolences to the families of those lost at the rally and hope everyone reading this rides safer as a result.