UPDATE: Motorcyclist killed in crash on "The Dragon"

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)-- For many bikers, riding "The Dragon" tops their bucket list.

"It's about the curviest road in the whole United States - 318 curves in 11 miles," said John Fenimore, who is from Franklin, North Carolina.

But the need for thrill can sometimes be deadly. Just after 7 p.m. on Saturday, Georgia native Patrick Noll's rear wheel locked up, causing his bike to skid. Noll fell off, hit a tree and rolled down the hill. He was pronounced dead at Blount Memorial Hospital.

On Sunday, several bikers stopped where the wreck happened to pay their respects.

"It's kind of a code. We all kind of come together. us sport bike riders and the Harley guys - we've all got a common love and that's to ride. So yeah, it's sad to hear somebody wrecked," said Silas Rutherford, who is from Knoxville.

The Blount County Sheriff's Office patrols "The Dragon" every weekend so deputies can respond quickly if there's a wreck, and to make sure people are driving safely. The same goes for the Rescue Squad, which has tips for staying safe on the road:

"If you're on a motorcycle, remember a pair of jeans and a t-shirt doesn't protect you like leather gear. Real armor also helps," said Captain Wayne Baxter, with the Blount County Rescue Squad.

Bikers have tips, too.

"Do the speed limit, pay attention to all the curves, look ahead," said Fenimore.

"Don't pass, stay in my lane and know my limits. That's it - you know, don't push. A lot of guys get out here and they think it's a racetrack, and it's not," said Rutherford.

The Rescue Squad said this was the first death on "The Dragon" this year, and it's hopeful it will be the last.

The Blount County Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is investigating the wreck.


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