Death on the Dragon - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Death on the Dragon

http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pb.../NEWS/90902023

The rider was the 4th to die on the Dragon so far this year. Records aren't kept of the amputations and other crippling injuries that are suffered by riders that fail to keep the seat side up. It's a good ride, but it ain't worth dying for.


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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 09:46 AM
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i rode the dragon once..and that was enough..that road is full of riders passing you in your lane and sports cars running in groups....
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 10:43 AM
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I have a friend who's now a paraplegic because he crashed there.

I've been down that stretch of road, and a lot of others in the area as well. There's too much hard stuff to hit and too many ditches. And it's populated by squids and the truly clueless who THINK they are competent riders. It's not a good place to learn the basics.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 02:02 PM
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Dragon has a bad reputation

The Dragon is a great ride. Ride on a monday or a Friday before 8 am and it is nearly empty. The absolute best time to ride is September M-F before Noon.

When it is crowded, you have to ride slow and stay in your lane. I don't understand how people who do that can have an accident - unless there is a cross-over.

It is a great road to ride when it is empty.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 02:25 PM
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Four?????????


That pales in comparison to the number of drivers that killed in a 9 month period in and around any major city.

There are many more dangerous places to ride, than deals gap. Yet stupid hysteria is out to ruin that place for all of us who enjoy travelling in and around that area.

Hell. Daytona bike week has had 12-13 deaths during it's ten day event.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 02:37 PM
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Good point Mudarra! Riding in traffic around town is every bit as dangerous as the Dragon. I got rearended by a drunk last week. I was lucky that he was slowing down and didn't hit me very hard. Minor damage to the bike and I think it pulled his bumper off.

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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 02:42 PM
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Good point Mudarra! Riding in traffic around town is every bit as dangerous as the Dragon. I got rearended by a drunk last week. I was lucky that he was slowing down and didn't hit me very hard. Minor damage to the bike and I think it pulled his bumper off.
Wow. Glad you are ok. That's the stuff that makes me nervous about riding.

I watched a drywall truck blow through a four-way stop near my house somewhere in the 50-60 MPH range (he couldn't have stopped even if he wanted to). I am VERY cautious at four ways and lights now. If I had been crossing when that happened......well.....game over.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 03:01 PM
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Glad you didn't get hurt, Steve. Drunk SOB's...

I rode the Dragon on my ST1300 with no one in front of me the whole way and with fewer than 10 vehicles passing me in the opposite direction. I rode Tuesday in the morning. Cops directed me off the road near the Foothills Parkway end because there was a commercial being filmed, interestingly enough. The Dragon is gangs of fun, to be sure, although NC 28 was as much fun (maybe more) because it mixed up the tight curves with gentler curves and more elevation changes.


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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 03:13 PM
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I just got back from the dragon e weeks ago. I found as long as you ride within your ability and don't try to push
You should be fine. Only wreck I saw was from someone trying to push faster
And faster til he lost it- he was ATGATT though and walked away only with bruised pride and minor bike damage from a low side.
Its definitely not a road to lose you focus on- but very enjoyable.
And mudarra is right- many more wrecks, injurys and fatalities back home in FLAT and Straight Illinois during the same time!
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 08:22 PM
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While any death along any stretch of road is sad,…. 4 this year? Last year for about 3 months straight the Ortega Highway had a death a WEEK average.

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 09:16 AM
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Sao Paulo

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While any death along any stretch of road is sad,. 4 this year? Last year for about 3 months straight the Ortega Highway had a death a WEEK average.
Sao Paulo Brazil averages 1 per day.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 09:52 AM
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There are a lot more factors involved in in-town accidents than on the Dragon. City accidents usually involve other vehicles, whereas the ones on the twisties are mostly single vehicle ones due to rider screw-ups. My friend wasn't killed, but he'll never ride a bike again. You have to consider the debilitating accidents as well as fatalities. When I was young, I thought I was immortal, just like a lot of the younger guys here. Now, I look back and think that some of the things I did were just plain nuts.

I've been associated with road racing for many years, and my advice is to prep your bike for the track, and go do open track days. You'll be able to do things you never could on the road, and there's nothing hard to hit if you drop the bike. Go to a roadrace school, too. In the end, you'll find that roads cease to be a challenge. Besides, there's a certain amount of status involved in owning a set of scuffed up racing leathers and boots.......

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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 10:06 AM
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There are a lot more factors involved in in-town accidents than on the Dragon. City accidents usually involve other vehicles, whereas the ones on the twisties are mostly single vehicle ones due to rider screw-ups. My friend wasn't killed, but he'll never ride a bike again. You have to consider the debilitating accidents as well as fatalities. When I was young, I thought I was immortal, just like a lot of the younger guys here. Now, I look back and think that some of the things I did were just plain nuts.

I've been associated with road racing for many years, and my advice is to prep your bike for the track, and go do open track days. You'll be able to do things you never could on the road, and there's nothing hard to hit if you drop the bike. Go to a roadrace school, too. In the end, you'll find that roads cease to be a challenge. Besides, there's a certain amount of status involved in owning a set of scuffed up racing leathers and boots.......
I agree. trackdays are the place to push your limits.

With that said, I knew two people (personally) who have died doing STT trackdays over the last year.

So don't fall into a false sense of security that tracks are "safe".


FWIW - I don't know anyone (personally) who has died in a street riding crash. A few with injuries however. Heck if you start looking at just injury crashes the numbers still point to congested areas as the most dangerous for riders. The Dragon is not a congested area. The only time there is any sort of traffic on it is during the weekends and holidays.

Motorcycling carries risk AT ANY LEVEL OR PLACE. We accept that risk. And yes, it sucks when people we know get hurt or killed, but it is the nature of the beast.
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 12:12 PM
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Personally I like the Dragon and NC 28. Both are fun roads to ride. People make too much about the road when most of the time the rider was at fault 95%+ on either road. Even Darryl Cannon (Killboy.com) had one this year and he admits it was his negligence on maintenance of his bike coupled with pushing it. I've rode both roads back and forth for a few days straight and loved every minute and believe it or not NC 28 can throw you more surprises than the Dragon. I burned up four tanks , (5 gallon tank), of fuel in one day making runs on US129. Every time I'm down there I devote at least a half day to the Dragon.

To those that don't like roads like these then stay off them, but don't look down on those that like riding challenging roads. I live at the top of the south eastern part of Ohio and just a short ride from WV. Riding roads like the Dragon and using some common sense will make you a better rider, and we have them a plenty. SR 800 from the Ohio river to Woodsfield, and then SR 26 from Woodsfield to Marietta will give you a workout and this is one of many options we have.

These type of roads can make the Versys shine and shock some sport bike riders at its capabilities for what is considered a practical medium powered bike.

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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 12:16 PM
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Personally I like the Dragon and NC 28. Both are fun roads to ride. People make too much about the road when most of the time the rider was at fault 95%+ on either road. Even Darryl Cannon (Killboy.com) had one this year and he admits it was his negligence on maintenance of his bike coupled with pushing it. I've rode both roads back and forth for a few days straight and loved every minute and believe it or not NC 28 can throw you more surprises than the Dragon. I burned up four tanks , (5 gallon tank), of fuel in one day making runs on US129. Every time I'm down there I devote at least a half day to the Dragon.

To those that don't like roads like these then stay off them, but don't look down on those that like riding challenging roads. I live at the top of the south eastern part of Ohio and just a short ride from WV. Riding roads like the Dragon and using some common sense will make you a better rider, and we have them a plenty. SR 800 from the Ohio river to Woodsfield, and then SR 26 from Woodsfield to Marietta will give you a workout and this is one of many options we have.

These type of roads can make the Versys shine and shock some sport bike riders at its capabilities for what is considered a practical medium powered bike.

Maloy
i was in WV last month, and rode WV 16 from St Mary all the way down to Beckley. This was my fourth trip to WV, one of my favorite places to ride.
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post #16 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 05:28 PM
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I agree. trackdays are the place to push your limits.

With that said, I knew two people (personally) who have died doing STT trackdays over the last year.

So don't fall into a false sense of security that tracks are "safe".


FWIW - I don't know anyone (personally) who has died in a street riding crash. A few with injuries however. Heck if you start looking at just injury crashes the numbers still point to congested areas as the most dangerous for riders. The Dragon is not a congested area. The only time there is any sort of traffic on it is during the weekends and holidays.

Motorcycling carries risk AT ANY LEVEL OR PLACE. We accept that risk. And yes, it sucks when people we know get hurt or killed, but it is the nature of the beast.
And that's why I recommended that anyone doing track days attend a good school first. Nobody's immune. As an official, I've seen top riders die, one of whom was a former AMA national champion. I saw Jimmy Adamo lose his brakes at turn 6 at Daytona and go straight into the wall. Sure, we accept the risk, but it's a lot less if we're taught the proper way instead of finding out for ourselves.

I lost one of my best friends to a street accident 13 years ago. He was out in the country, and a dump truck turned left in front of him on the other side of a blind corner. He never had a chance to avoid it. I still have a copy of the sheriff's accident report. At least, on a track day, traffic is something that won't be a factor.

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post #17 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 05:43 PM
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Wow, I can't believe all the stuff thats gets put in the media about the dragon whether it be on a forum or newspaper, radio and tv. The dragon is a fun place to ride; on good days you can ride the whole thing and not come up on another vehicle. On some days you can get stuck behind another car or bike going twenty miles an hour. And if you do believe me it will be a long ride. They have just as many rights as anybody else to be there and enjoy the ride. Now a few things that I do know about the dragon. I think! and this may not be 100% accurate so don't come back and throw a lot of police reports and such at me because I have heard this like most others through the media. But out of all the ones that have died on the dragon this year all came from other states all rode cruzer style bikes except for one. So I quess my point being is that most of them did not have a lot of exsperience with this particular rode and most likely rode above there ability's. The problem with the dragon is that it gets to much attention. Someone put it like this if you had a motorcycle wreck in your home town nobody would hear about it. But if there is a wreck on the dragon everybody hears about it!Which is true.
Now I ride the dragon a lot. About once or twice a week if I can make it there. I live an hour away. I think it a very fun ride. I also think it is dangerous but I think every time I get on my bike I am excepting certain risks. And I do my best to reduce those risks. Such as watching out for others as if they don't see me. And riding within my ability's; although I will admit there has been more than once that the stupid comes out and I ride faster or above what I am comfortable with. I am not saying that a particular type of rider or group of riders is any better or worse than another. I am not saying any paticular style of bike and the people that ride that style of bike is better or worse.
I have followed a lot of bikes through the dragon and the cruzer style have a harder time going through for the most part because of the bike and how it is built. There crash bars and floor boards are wide and low. And if the crash bars hit the ground to hard they flip the rear tire off the ground and then down the bike gos. I have seen a lot of cruzer style bikers not want to turn the bike to hard for this very same reason and then they swing wide and go into the other lane. Some time they will touch the crash bar and it kicks them up straight again and when your in the middle of a curve that is not a good thing. I believe this is what happened to at least two of the fatal wrecks on the dragon and maybe all three with the exception being the CR going to fast. These are not for the most part speed related wrecks most where under the speed limit just made a mistake which led to another mistake and then off the side you go. I feel bad for the famlies and loved ones left behind and give my sincere condolences to those who have been lost or hurt.
I have also seen a lot of near misses and low sides where the rider got real lucky. Just last Tues. I was up there and four young riders riding sports bikes. Two had tires that looked like the chicken stripes no longer existed. Two had good wide chicken stripes about an inch wide and the rest of the tire was worn in. This told me you have two experienced riders and two not so exsperienced riders in the same group. Not a problem if you think about it. Let the two more exsperienced riders go first and ride the faster pace. Let the two inexsperienced riders go last and ride there own pace and within there abilitys. Well when they took off the inexsperienced riders went first and the others after. And from what I could see the first two took off trying to not slow down the other two. They made it about half way down the hill and the first two lost it on the same corner. Very lucky both low sided and one ended up in the ditch the other in the middle of the road hurt ankle, hurt wrist, hurt skin not wearing gear both had hurt prides both had to lay in the road for an hour while waiting for the ambulance but both will be ok in a few weeks. Well I could go on and on but I think my point is that the dragon can be a very fun and very safe place to ride as long as everyone plays nice. Yes there are riders who pass in the same lane and pass when they shoudn't and go to fast for the road but this happens every where and on every road USA this is something that we have to be aware of every time we hop on are bikes. Lets be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
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post #18 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 08:34 AM
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Good post Jerryes.



Historically more deaths occur on the Cherohala Skyway for any given year. Higher speeds + guard rails = very dangerous low sides. Added to the fact that medical attention can easily be over an hour away, and things are stacked against the wreck victims favor.
But it never gets the attention of the dragon.

One of my favorite roads in the area is Wayah rd. It has many blind hairpins, and frequently the road surface sucks due to gravel, busted pavement etc.
The dragon is immaculate. One of the smoothest twisty road surfaces you will find anywhere. Its well maintained, and thanks to the efforts of Killboy and the like, is quickly cleaned of debris that could cause riders problems.

Yet it's the big problem......at least according to all the media attention it gets.



Which brings me to the funny part. Back in early 2004, when i was just getting comfortable with riding in the mountains, I had no clue what "the dragons tail" was. I hadn't started hanging out with a lot of mountain riders yet, and really hadn't spent much time on web forums.
It was a local news story about an Atlanta metro rider that got killed on the dragon, that first brought the road to my attention.
I did a little research to find out where it was, and what it was all about.
(www.tailofthedragon.com is a great informative website)
Just a few months later, I was riding the dragon. And loving every minute of it.
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post #19 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 09:59 AM
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Wow, I can't believe all the stuff thats gets put in the media about the dragon whether it be on a forum or newspaper, radio and tv. The dragon is a fun place to ride; on good days you can ride the whole thing and not come up on another vehicle. On some days you can get stuck behind another car or bike going twenty miles an hour. And if you do believe me it will be a long ride. They have just as many rights as anybody else to be there and enjoy the ride. Now a few things that I do know about the dragon. I think! and this may not be 100% accurate so don't come back and throw a lot of police reports and such at me because I have heard this like most others through the media. But out of all the ones that have died on the dragon this year all came from other states all rode cruzer style bikes except for one. So I quess my point being is that most of them did not have a lot of exsperience with this particular rode and most likely rode above there ability's. The problem with the dragon is that it gets to much attention. Someone put it like this if you had a motorcycle wreck in your home town nobody would hear about it. But if there is a wreck on the dragon everybody hears about it!Which is true.
Now I ride the dragon a lot. About once or twice a week if I can make it there. I live an hour away. I think it a very fun ride. I also think it is dangerous but I think every time I get on my bike I am excepting certain risks. And I do my best to reduce those risks. Such as watching out for others as if they don't see me. And riding within my ability's; although I will admit there has been more than once that the stupid comes out and I ride faster or above what I am comfortable with. I am not saying that a particular type of rider or group of riders is any better or worse than another. I am not saying any paticular style of bike and the people that ride that style of bike is better or worse.
I have followed a lot of bikes through the dragon and the cruzer style have a harder time going through for the most part because of the bike and how it is built. There crash bars and floor boards are wide and low. And if the crash bars hit the ground to hard they flip the rear tire off the ground and then down the bike gos. I have seen a lot of cruzer style bikers not want to turn the bike to hard for this very same reason and then they swing wide and go into the other lane. Some time they will touch the crash bar and it kicks them up straight again and when your in the middle of a curve that is not a good thing. I believe this is what happened to at least two of the fatal wrecks on the dragon and maybe all three with the exception being the CR going to fast. These are not for the most part speed related wrecks most where under the speed limit just made a mistake which led to another mistake and then off the side you go. I feel bad for the famlies and loved ones left behind and give my sincere condolences to those who have been lost or hurt.
I have also seen a lot of near misses and low sides where the rider got real lucky. Just last Tues. I was up there and four young riders riding sports bikes. Two had tires that looked like the chicken stripes no longer existed. Two had good wide chicken stripes about an inch wide and the rest of the tire was worn in. This told me you have two experienced riders and two not so exsperienced riders in the same group. Not a problem if you think about it. Let the two more exsperienced riders go first and ride the faster pace. Let the two inexsperienced riders go last and ride there own pace and within there abilitys. Well when they took off the inexsperienced riders went first and the others after. And from what I could see the first two took off trying to not slow down the other two. They made it about half way down the hill and the first two lost it on the same corner. Very lucky both low sided and one ended up in the ditch the other in the middle of the road hurt ankle, hurt wrist, hurt skin not wearing gear both had hurt prides both had to lay in the road for an hour while waiting for the ambulance but both will be ok in a few weeks. Well I could go on and on but I think my point is that the dragon can be a very fun and very safe place to ride as long as everyone plays nice. Yes there are riders who pass in the same lane and pass when they shoudn't and go to fast for the road but this happens every where and on every road USA this is something that we have to be aware of every time we hop on are bikes. Lets be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
+1 and great post Jerry! It was great meeting you there as well!(even though some stupid came out w/my buddy after we got back sat! LOL)-Remember there is a NO BURN OUT POLICY AT DEALS GAP HOTEL!! WE had a great time and look forward to coming back!!!

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post #20 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 02:54 PM
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keep the speed down

I like to remember this article,low speed,max lean,the fun's in the corners.

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/fl...sch/index.html
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