A recent story from California highlights how Ortega Highway has been treacherous for motorcyclists.
Excerpts from the LakeElsinore-Widomar Patch.com story titled “Ortega Highway One Of California’s Bloodiest” :
William James Kaucky, 39, lost his life Oct. 2 on the highway after the 2009 Kawasaki motorcycle he was riding struck an embankment while traveling eastbound on the road’s switchbacks into Lake Elsinore. The Anaheim resident came off his street bike and was accidentally run over by a fellow rider who also ended up crashing.That man, a 44-year-old Riverside resident, sustained major injuries.
According to the coroner’s report, Kaucky was wearing a helmet but was “traveling at a high rate of speed” and, “for unknown reasons,” lost control.
The twisting two-lane Ortega Highway, also known as State Route 74, connects Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest — and it has a killer reputation, especially for motorcyclists.
The story says that the highway is a favorite for weekend riders, and it has hairpin turns, mountain scenery and a few bars along the way.
The story quotes California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Baer as saying “State Route 74 has a higher than usual number of motorcycle incidents,” adding that the only other California route to have such high collateral damage for motorcyclists is the Angeles Crest Highway, better known as State Route 2.
The story continues with a variety of crash statistics and related commentary, and then the following:
While Sunday’s crash is under investigation, statistics show motorcycle riding can be hazardous.
“Seventy-eight percent of motorcycle crashes statewide are the fault of the motorcyclist,” Baer explained. “They’re either experienced riders who hot-dog it and push too far, or they’re novice riders.”
As for the Ortega, it’s no place to get cocky or learn how to ride, according to the CHP.
“Taking a turn too fast, a motorcyclist is likely to find himself in over his head,” said CHP Capt. Ernie Sanchez in a released statement. “This stretch of highway demands concentration and caution.”
Additional details can be found in the previously mentioned Patch.com story.
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