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Our infamous, east Tennessee Dragon road draws legions of curious riders year after year to the 318 uninterrupted curves in 11 miles but some riders are not quite ready for the challenge. Crashes are very common. Many crashes only result in road rashes and embarrassment but some are serious and medical help is usually 30 minutes or more away. Annual biker deaths on the Dragon since 1995 ranged from 0 to 4 (only two years with 0) with an average about 1.5 per year. The speed limit is only 30 MPH but many hot shots easily double that (or much more) on the very short straight sections. There's a lot of talk about the fastest ride time on the Dragon by sport bikes and motards. Much of the talk is BS. The unofficial Deals Gap Riding Society record is a 50 MPH average made well over 20 years ago by a local rider who knew the road well. Excessive speed and excessive braking cause most wrecks--some by sport bikes. Some by cruisers. With countless personal Dragon passes through the decades, more than once I have been leaned over in a curve and suddenly see a bike or car coming towards me in my lane after blowing his curve. One such errant sport bike and I missed each other by inches. Scary! The cardinal rule on this road is STAY IN YOUR LANE. These photos show some of the action. Cheers...

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ouch...that dark red Harley where the passenger is in the rider seat and the rider is riding the tank and I'm sure the front fairing..imagine the force of your passenger slamming into your back and pushing you up...and that guy in mid air after hitting the Vette...he's having a bad day
 

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I made a pilgrimage to the Tail of the Dragon in 2016. As I was about to encounter the first sharp curve upon entering the Dragon from the north, there was a cop car, a tow truck, a mangled bike, and an angry dude limping back and forth while muttering to himself. So I figured the hype about crashes might just be real and rode calmly.

Another rider staying at the Deal's Gap MC Resort filled me in later that night. The crashed rider had entered the curve too hot and lowsided, he stayed on the pavement but his bike hit a tree and tumbled down the cliff. The tow truck operator basically rappelled down to hook onto the bike. To make it worse, it was also a new bike, and it was the crashed rider's first time taking it to the Dragon.

He was lucky that he didn't accompany his bike into the tree or down the cliff.

So, my takeaway from that trip was stay in your lane, ATGATT, and don't exceed your skill set.

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Discussion Starter #6
Baxter: Wise man! (y) :) Most of the crashed riders I have spoken with were visiting the Dragon from elsewhere, often from the "flatlands". New arrivals are often advised by local riders to take it easy on the first few Dragon passes so they can understand the "S" curves, horseshoes and decreasing radius curves which easily surprise the unwary but some riders don't take the advice seriously and there are consequences. The Dragon has a strong following of local sport bikers (and cruisers, etc.) and many of us recognize one another but sometimes the Dragon bites one of us too if we become too exuberant. :p It's a fantastic sport bike/sport car road...that demands respect and it can be addictive. My name is Tommy. I'm an addict. o_O
 

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Really detailed photos and a reminder of how one moment there is a beautiful machine, the next it becomes a pile of ugly metal. Do riders not wear leather gear out there, some not even wearing gloves? Guess I have a built in survival gene so trying to figure out why these riders would push to the brink of crashing. Thanks for the eye opener
 

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Really detailed photos and a reminder of how one moment there is a beautiful machine, the next it becomes a pile of ugly metal. Do riders not wear leather gear out there, some not even wearing gloves? Guess I have a built in survival gene so trying to figure out why these riders would push to the brink of crashing. Thanks for the eye opener
Some riders wear proper gear (ATGATT) and some ride in tee shirts and jeans or even shorts and flip flops. I’m with you. I don’t intend to leave my hide on the pavement.
 

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Just got home from a Dragon run this evening.. Makes ya think... I usually just cruise through at 40mph or less because I also have had lane encroachments at bad times. Mostly big pickup trucks and Harley Riders.Also have seen bikes and bikers down. Ya have to be careful Everywhere, All the time.
Edit just got back from another run tonoght ....make that about 50mph or so
 

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Really detailed photos and a reminder of how one moment there is a beautiful machine, the next it becomes a pile of ugly metal. Do riders not wear leather gear out there, some not even wearing gloves? Guess I have a built in survival gene so trying to figure out why these riders would push to the brink of crashing. Thanks for the eye opener
That was the thing that struck me the most about these photos. Unbelievable. 😯
 

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If I wear ATGATT, what good are all those cup holders and entertainment systems... if I can't drink my coffee, smoke my cigarettes, and constantly fidget with all those knobs and gadgets? Besides, those full helmets hurt my ears. . :rolleyes:
 

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If I wear ATGATT, what good are all those cup holders and entertainment systems... if I can't drink my coffee, smoke my cigarettes, and constantly fidget with all those knobs and gadgets? Besides, those full helmets hurt my ears. . :rolleyes:
Funny you should mention that--I was once stuck in a line behind two Harley baggers on the Dragon who were riding so slowly that the passengers were able to smoke ciggies. They were also following each other closely so that both needed to be passed at once, and they wouldn't get over.
 

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New arrivals are often advised by local riders to take it easy on the first few Dragon passes so they can understand the "S" curves, horseshoes and decreasing radius curves which easily surprise the unwary but some riders don't take the advice seriously and there are consequences.
I don't know if anyone here read Deep Survival (Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why: Gonzales, Laurence: 9780393353716: Amazon.com: Books) this book attempts to analyze why some people suffer deadly accidents while others not. And this is one of the things the author described: heeding advice or not from the local experts.
 

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Funny you should mention that--I was once stuck in a line behind two Harley baggers on the Dragon who were riding so slowly that the passengers were able to smoke ciggies. They were also following each other closely so that both needed to be passed at once, and they wouldn't get over.
Yeah, there are certain people on that road that just don't get it. And others that do get the idea of being courteous and considerate of other riders. Yesterday i hit the pulloffs for faster folks. I always do. I was just cruisin
🐉
 

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No interest of ever going there. The roads in the Ozarks are SO much better anyways.
 

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Well for starters the speed limits are slower on the tail of the dragon. And waaay less tourists in the Ozarks. Especially since there are so many awesome roads to choose from.
Plus I've ridden with several guys that have been to both places and they say hands down the Ozarks is better. I trust their opinions.
So there you have it. My opinion. You don't have to take my word for it. 😆
 
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