Motorcycle crashes at Edwards Corner
May 1, 2013 10:32 AM   Subscribe

"The Snake" on Mulholland Highway is a notoriously twisty stretch of road near Los Angeles, especially popular with motorcyclists. So many crashes happen at "Edwards Corner" that photographers camp out to film them. The results can be terrifying, or oddly mesmerizing.
posted by gottabefunky (36 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I loved the comment at Bikehugger by MarkV about how the age of YouTube kind of had a hand in the bike/motorcycle crash happening.
posted by mathowie at 10:37 AM on May 1, 2013

I drove that road in a rented Jaguar I had no business driving. At least I thought that until I saw in my rear view mirror the Porsche that was tailing me veer off into the avoid a motorcyclist coming from the opposite direction.
posted by dfriedman at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2013

Yeah, the second link is all "look at how many hundreds of thousands of views this YouTube channel is getting!" while video after video of crashes is playing in the background.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2013

There was a discussion about the 'terrifying' link over at yesterday. The opinion was that the motorcyclist was likely inexperienced, and also that he was experiencing 'target fixation' which is the tendency to go where you're looking (the cyclists) rather than go where you should (the road). I'd say it's probably a combination of that and being distracted by the cameras, as mentioned above.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:42 AM on May 1, 2013

Yours Truly at Edward's corner. Any other Mefites up there? The snake is a very challenging stretch, and it draws bikers from all over southern California. Those who have never ridden it should proceed with caution. Frankly I don't ride the snake anymore due to all the traffic and police up there, but I understand the draw. The hills around Malibu are filled with fun and enjoyable rides. Unfortunately- more often then not- it becomes a cat and mouse game with the Highway Patrol. Spending more time on the road on two wheels than others, I don't tend to watch crash videos. Shiny side up, y'all! :)
posted by djdrue at 10:55 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Photographers don't camp out there to take pictures of crashes, they takes pictures of people and sell them. Videoing the crashes is just part of being there.
posted by thylacine at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2013

Yeah, What he said....
posted by djdrue at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2013

or oddly mesmerizing

No joke. Watching that, it felt like nothing so much as some baroque video game equivalent of a slam dunk competition. "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm gonna do a triple somersault with a gravel twist on to a laterally spinning bike, with a handplant off the left pannier into a hands-free saddle."
posted by cortex at 11:12 AM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Assholes. You want to race and be on the edge of losing control then take it to a private circuit and get the hell off public roads. There is a whole lot of intent to harm in those videos.
posted by srboisvert at 11:32 AM on May 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Pretty wacky stuff. I won't even drive up there, let alone ride my motorcycle. Bicycling on that stretch is a deathwish.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:34 AM on May 1, 2013

I know of someone who died up there, find the videos and this post to be in extremely poor taste.

And by the way, the people with a clue ride responsibly on Ortega Highway.
posted by ambient2 at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Nothing new. (1964?!?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2013

Oh man, I was driving aimlessly around this area a few weeks back and found myself on this exact stretch of road. I was driving a car, so I wasn't really scared for myself, but the motorcycles were terrifying. I had to slow down so much to take the corners that I ended up pulling over to let the motorcycles past because I was afraid they wouldn't be able to remain upright in the corners going that slowly. It would be an incredibly fun road to drive if it weren't for that.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:54 AM on May 1, 2013

The skill with which some of those riders get back on their tumbling motorcycles is quite impressive.
posted by hypersloth at 12:00 PM on May 1, 2013

I have to agree with ambient2, these videos are gore voyeurism, I am uncomfortable with our role in promoting this by giving it screen time.
posted by HuronBob at 12:23 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

As goes my fascination with Russian dashcam videos, I find Mulholland Drive videos usefully remind me, when I'm either motorcycling or being an ursine scootician, that being either a dick or an imbecile will get you into trouble. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Safety on two wheels is a far more active affair than it is in big metal boxes.

Seeing the natural consequences played out in lurid HD video remind me not to be a dick or an imbecile, even if I do end up looking like, as my mother once said, a "schoolmarm on a motorbike." I may ride like an erstwhile Edna May Oliver, but I plan to get where I'm going with my fussy fox stole intact, thank you.

What—you don't wear a fussy fox stole on your motorcycle? Pity.
posted by sonascope at 1:07 PM on May 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'd just like to say, this video, seemingly staged, shot with near panning perfectlon, resulting in a crash coincidence, is one of the bloody weirdest things I've ever seen on the internet.
posted by uraniumwilly at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2013

feloniousmonk: "I ended up pulling over to let the motorcycles past because I was afraid they wouldn't be able to remain upright in the corners going that slowly."
Not your problem.
posted by brokkr at 1:35 PM on May 1, 2013

In case it isn't clear, people set up on those corners with really high end camera gear for the express purpose of taking pictures of people and selling them, sort of like amusement parks do with roller coasters. That they record accidents like this is a coincidence.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:38 PM on May 1, 2013

There's an element of voyeurism, but as a novice motorcyclist I also find it educational to watch, in slow motion detail, exactly how someone makes a mistake (or mistakes) that causes an accident. And what the consequences of those accidents are. Ignoring outright recklessness, I can often relate--I see them doing something that I've done on a less demanding road, and now I know more about what the outcome could have been.
posted by jjwiseman at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not your problem.

I'm a transplant to LA, so I do care about fellow motorists.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:40 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

That last link is probably the only crash clip I'll watch.... Seeing everything in reverse makes it seem as if there is some black hole or transdimensional being trying to devour the world, and suddenly having a change of heart. The sound really contributes to that "endless destruction" feeling.

(btw, a skilled rider can remain upright in corners regardless of speed, regardless of the bike, unless you are just going like stupid slow on a banked turn)
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:45 PM on May 1, 2013

(i mean regardless of how slow)
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:51 PM on May 1, 2013

Taking photographs with the hope of catching an accident is pretty f*cked up. But at this point most motorcyclists know the dangers of that part of the road and know they are being photographed. So in an odd way there is a symbiotic relationship going on. However, unlike a NASCAR race there is no competition involved. It's all about crashing or not crashing [on a public highway, no less]. One can only hope no one gets a serious injury.

I get up into the Santa Monica Mtns on the weekends and frankly I get tired of hearing the roar of the motorcycles along Mulholland when I am out on the trails. They can also be annoying when they come up behind your car as you carefully make the next tight turn. Unfortunately, the area has become their playground. Stories like this will only make it more appealing. Oh well. Hope for the best.
posted by Rashomon at 2:16 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Having ridden for sixty one years I show great respect for other sane riders. The stupid ones......meh.
posted by notreally at 2:56 PM on May 1, 2013


What—you don't wear a fussy fox stole on your motorcycle? Pity.

Does a shearling coat with a huge fluffy collar count?

What. It's cold here.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:14 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm amazed that is considered to be a such difficult stretch of road that motorcyclists would flock to it from all over Southern California. It doesn't look much curvier than half the roads around here and it has guard rails on the other side of a substantial shoulder instead of merely a minimal shoulder next to a couple hundred foot drop into a water course. I'll have to record a trip from Highway 5 to Paul Lake or Whitecroft to Sun Peaks and up load those.

The well recorded crashes though are amazing.
posted by Mitheral at 6:11 PM on May 1, 2013

I've lost count of the number of times I've done the snake in cars now. It's on our back road route to the beach. Probably half a dozen times a year for the last ten years. It's not particularly the road itself that makes it at all scary, it's the traffic.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:09 PM on May 1, 2013

The results can be terrifying,

That's fucked up. Fuck that guy.

I'm going to go ride my bicycle.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:28 PM on May 1, 2013

"Oh, yeah? Well, I'm gonna do a triple somersault with a gravel twist on to a laterally spinning bike, with a handplant off the left pannier into a hands-free saddle."

Kickstarter. Now.
posted by dhartung at 1:44 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm going to buck a trend and suggest those cyclists were “asking for it”.

I'm a road cyclist. While I'm as adamant as the next rider that cyclists have a legal right to the whole lane (I can get militant about this point), I'm also well aware that differences in speeds cause accidents.

Planning a weekend bicycle ride on a section of road well known for motorcycling shenanigans is idiotic and antisocial, especially with so much amazing road in the immediate area.

I'm a motorcyclist too, owning a "naked" red sport bike much like the one in this video. I aim to expect the unexpected at all times, always updating at least three escape trajectories in mind, and when confronted with an obstacle fixating on an escape route not the obstacle. Even so, coming up on a slow pedaling cyclist in my penultimate turn would ruin my run. As a pedaler, I wouldn't do that to the machine rider.

As a cyclist, I can't take advantage of these turns. I'd leave the machines this road, and ride elsewhere. So, while a rider of either ilk should never be past the margin of control, even so, I blame the cyclists.
posted by Skeuomorph at 5:29 AM on May 2, 2013

Taking photographs with the hope of catching an accident is pretty f*cked up.

Not particularly, here. First, the riders want photos, as they don't assume they will crash. Every sport motorcyclist wants a shot with his knee to the road. It's de rigueur, like a fisherman's photo of the big catch.

If they do crash, they want it even more. Considering they walked away and the bike's probably fine too, they get to brag on surviving the war wounds.

These turns are so tight, the crashes are happening at very low speeds. You're not filming snuff, just embarrassment.

Plus, I'm pretty sure this is why 500 left turns are considered good TV by NASCAR.
posted by Skeuomorph at 5:41 AM on May 2, 2013

Did I just watch somebody undie?
posted by maryr at 8:04 AM on May 2, 2013

(I should note - I'm with cortex. It's so amazing to watch folks just hop back on the bikes that you have to force yourself to process the fact that they're starting out potentially unconscious with broken limbs.)
posted by maryr at 8:09 AM on May 2, 2013

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