Two months ago, we reported that the CHP will be stepping up enforcement and cracking down on bikers on the Angeles Crest Highway this summer. The increased law enforcement presence has not gone unnoticed by motorcyclists — or by local businesses. Management at Newcomb's Ranch, the only place to get food or drink in the forest, has gone on record saying that the cops have taken things too far.
“I understand there have been some fatalities, and numerous accidents, but there needs to be a balance,’’ said Newcomb’s Ranch manager Frederick Rundall III, whose father has owned the business since 2001. Both of the men plan to meet soon with CHP officers to discuss the aggressive ticketing.
“A lot of our customers are coming into the bar saying they’ve been harassed by the cops for driving one mile over the speed limit,’’ Rundall said. He notes that the business has seen a dip in revenue since the increased enforcement.
According to a spokesperson from the CHP, the law enforcement agency has issued 150 verbal warnings and 75 citations to motorcyclists and other drivers — just during the last weekend in July.
Of course, the CHP has denied that the agency is pulling people over unnecessarily, citing their statistics showing that between 2007-2009, there were 10 motorcycle-involved fatalities and 195 injuries on the corridor. “Our whole idea is to keep everyone safe. We’re not trying to run people away from the Crest."
The speed limit on the Crest varies from 45 mph to 55 mph. Yet one customer of Newcomb's Ranch showed the manager a citation he received for “teetering on 55 mph."
"We want everyone to drive safely, but it seems like the CHP has gone a little overboard,'' the manager has said. Law enforcement going overboard when dealing with bikers? After years as a bikers' rights and motorcycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles, I can say, without even a hint of sarcasm, I'm in shock. (Ok, maybe there's a little hint of sarcasm there.)
Regardless of whether the cops are out there or not, we remind you to ride safe. Overly agressive riding and improper technique (which usually results from improper training) cause the majority of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents. Stay alert, stay safe, and I'll see you at Newcomb's.