The Smokey Mountain Rider writes today about US Hwy 129, referred by many as "Tail of the Dragon" or "Deals Gap"...
Truth is, motorcycle riders crash here due to their own expectations. The Tail of the Dragon near Deals Gap is so hyped as a challenging and dangerous motorcycle ride people believe they have to make it one.And I would agree with that, and I think most riders do too.
Here in Southern California, much is made about "Ortega Highway", CA 74, running between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano. There's a couple of stretches running up and down a mountain range, and down through a steep canyon, where many motorcyclists have died.
Yet, there really isn't anything dangerous about Ortega Highway at all.
And something similar could be said of Palomar Mountain Road (County Hwy S6), also in Southern California, though it seems like far fewer accidents are reported on this road than Ortega Highway, even though Palomar is far more twisty and tight.
I think it's because each accident on Ortega Highway is given a spotlight due to the reputation the public has given it. And because of that reputation, newspapers continue to highlight the accidents, especially if it involved a motorcycle, and those reports only fuel the reputation.
Many women riders around here are afraid to ride Ortega. I've actually listened to some women tell me that. But once they've finally summoned up enough will to ride it, they're overcome with excitement to know that they conquered their fear, and are eager to tell everyone, "Hey guess what, I rode Ortega Highway!"
There is no such thing as a dangerous road. It's all in how you ride it that makes it dangerous. True, you could ride safely and still get creamed by someone else, but then again it's still not the road's fault.
If you're riding over your abilities, then I doubt you're having fun. Somehow, somewhere, peer pressure is causing you to ride that way.
And when enough people get killed on the same stretch of road, we end up fearing the road instead.