You Can Raise Your Hands This Sturgis Rally—Ape Hangers Are Legal in South Dakota Starting July 1

By Jeff Smith

Have you ever been riding through the beautiful Black Hills on your motorcycle, enjoying the sound of pipes crackling and the clean mountain air, when all of a sudden a set of flashing lights appears behind you? You wonder what you could’ve been doing wrong. Were you speeding? Swerving? Are your tags expired? Maybe your brake light is out. You can only speculate as the officer walks over to your bike. When he asks you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” You answer, “No.” “Your handlebars are shoulder height,” he replies. “That’s a petty offense in the state of South Dakota; I’m going to have to issue you a ticket.”

After that experience, maybe you ride through Sturgis with your handlebars loosened, so you can quickly lower them beneath your shoulders when you see the heat. Or, even worse, you permanently install them at an uncomfortable level, just to avoid these types of hassles in the future.

Well, after July 1, 2015, you won’t have to worry about anyone getting up in your business about where you hang your hands. That’s because South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard just signed Senate Bill 85, effectively abolishing South Dakota codified law 32-20-3, the one stating no person may operate a motorcycle on a public street or highway with the handlebar grips positioned at or above shoulder height.

So if you’re coming to the Buffalo Chip during the Sturgis Rally, or riding anywhere in South Dakota for that matter, you’re now free to ride with your ape hangers as high as you’d like. No more regulations on where to hang your hands. Feel free, express yourself if that is what you feel riding is all about.

What do you think about South Dakota’s move to allow ape hangers? Tell us about it in the comments below!