DENVER (KDVR) — It’s no small surprise that the month with the biggest motorcycle rally is also the month with the most motorcycle crashes.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally starts this weekend. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of riders from across the nation in a celebration of two-wheeled transportation. On any given year, the rally draws around half a million attendees. Last year, there were 526,000.

The Centennial State’s sunshine and open roads make it a chopper-heavy state. According to a 2018 analysis of registration data, Colorado has the nation’s 14th-highest number of motorcycles per capita.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is cautioning that more motorcycles, particularly during the Sturgis rally, means more motorcycle deaths. The department will step up its enforcement from Aug. 4-15 to keep roads and riders as safe as possible.

Both state and federal data make the case clear. Motorcycle fatalities spiked in 2020 and have stayed at elevated levels since then.

Already this year, there have been 82 motorcycle crash fatalities in Colorado — a 3% increase since last year’s early August total, according to CDOT. Motorcycle crash deaths spiked 40% in 2020 and barely dropped in 2021.

Most of these crashes happen during the summer.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records, half of the motorcycle crash deaths from 2000 to 2019 took place in the summer.

Another 13% happen in July, 13% in August and 12% each in June and May.