The Angeles Crest is called a scenic byway for a good reason. It is one of the most beautiful scenic roadways in the country rivaling the scenic wonders you can see from California’s Highway 1 or while riding though the Blue Ridge Mountains. For motorcycle riders, a ride on this 66 mile mountain road through the Angeles National Forest of the San Gabriel Mountains is a treat that must be experienced.
Angeles Crest, though, is a winding two-lane highway that presents risks to riders who must be cognizant of the potential dangers while still enjoying the ride. Although some of the roadway is heavily travelled in the mornings and afternoons, much of the highway has few motorists with most being vacationers or locals though the risk of an accident is always high. The CHP often refers to parts of the Angeles Crest highway as one of the most dangerous for motorcycle riders in LA County and it has one of the highest accident rates in all of California.
As a rider, you need to be aware of the following dangers when riding the Angeles Crest:
- Speeding: do not take the curves at an excessive speed and resist the urge to constantly overtake slower motorists
- Debris or landslides
- Intoxicated or fatigued motorists who will cross over to your lane of traffic
- Heavy rain or storms that can make riding extremely hazardous
- Impatient motorists who misjudge distances when overtaking a car and traveling in your lane of traffic
- Slow moving traffic that frustrates motorists
Safety Tips for Riding on Mountain Roads
- Check your bike’s condition. You do not want a blowout anywhere so check the tire treads and air pressure. Also, be sure the chain and suspension are properly adjusted, lights and turn signals are working and that you have no oil or gas leaks or loose bolts.
- Be physically fit and alcohol and drug free. Riding can be arduous on mountain roads since you have to concentrate on the curves, possible road debris and errant motorists while carefully traversing winding roads. You want to be comfortable and loose when riding so that discomfort and fatigue from weak or tired muscles can be distracting and cause you to lose focus. If you stop at a bar and drink or take drugs, your focus and concentration on riding will undoubtedly suffer.
- Wear protective clothing. One factor that CHP officers often report for contributing to serious injuries while riding is the lack of proper protective clothing. Wear a full face helmet, pants, gloves and boots at all times, regardless if the weather is warm. A full jacket is also necessary and resist the urge to merely wear a T-shirt and no eyewear.
- Be focused on curves. Many accidents occur on curves when a rider is either going too fast or is unaware of a motorist bearing down on his or her bike while coming around the bend. Try to see through the corner as far as you can, at least 3 to 4 seconds, or slow down until you can see that far.
- Drive defensively. Always assume that other motorists do not see you and do not tailgate. Keep a proper distance from other cars and be especially careful at intersections where the majority of accidents occur. Avoid night riding as well.
Before riding on a dangerous mountain road, be an experienced rider first and take short rides on other mountain roads during times of low traffic to get used to this type of roadway. Taking a rider safety course at any time regardless of your experience can be helpful in giving you tips on safe riding and in ensuring your bike is safely equipped and that you are as protected as possible.
If you are injured while riding on Angeles Crest or anywhere else in Los Angeles County or surrounding area, contact personal injury Andrew Ritholz, an attorney who has obtained millions in compensation for his injured clients over his 30 years of practice. Trust your injury case to an attorney with a proven record of success in motorcycle and other types of injury accidents. Contact him today for a free analysis of your accident claim.