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Howdy,
Some buddies of mine and I are heading to Deals Gap soon. Given the recent stories about LEO harrassment out there, I've been doing some research on the local laws. There are some very nightmarish stories which have me worried. The information I've found so far doesn't answer all of the questions, so I'm asking some questions here.

Some of these questions are very stupid I know, please forgive me. I would rather ask some stupid questions here than learn the hard way having to deal with some pissed off cop. (The last time a cop got pissed off at me, it was for trying to carry a bottle of water into an airport, so don't say it can't happen.)

At the Talimena Scenic Parkway in Oklahoma, there was a road blockade operated by the 'US Forestry Service'. These guys are real LEOs apparently, and they said that the main speed limit was for straight road only. They said speeds posted on the yellow turn speed warning signs (previously considered recommended speeds) represented the 'max safest speed' as defined by law, and that any speed above that, even 1mph above that, would be ticketed as 'reckless driving'. Can we expect the same thing in the Deals Gap area?

Apparently there is a law against using any kind of photographic and/or video equipment on or in a vehicle, including anything that is even remotely similar to a camera or a video display. There are stories of even pedestrians getting in trouble for having this equipment. There are also stories about cell phones with LCD screens, tank mounted cameras, and the like. What can and can't we use? Tank mounted video recorder? Cell phone? GPS? My GPS' screen is 2.5" x 4" and looks not unlike a little TV, are they going to harass me for that? What if we just have this stuff in our tank bag and it is unused?

In Texas we're usually only expected to have a driver's license, and paperwork proving we have liability insurance. Additional paperwork for vehicle registration and vehicle inspection is not usually requested because there are stickers on the vehicle which show that. Do we need to bring extra paperwork showing registration and inspection just in case?

I have one HID headlight, and it IS properly adjusted to prevent blinding oncoming traffic. Is that okay?

What other lovely things might we expect to encounter from these guys?
 

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Premium Member
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I just got back from the Gap, a few hours ago. It was a beautiful day and LEO's were out in full force but they really did not bother us too much. I was some times going 5 over the limit when I came around a corner and saw them "perched" Mainly because there we so many people out there that you could only get in maybe one good run one way and on the way back you were stuck behind a buch of people. I was there Labour Day weekend too, got there Monday afternoon did not see one, then on Tuesday they had a little "check point" set up....they stopped me and my buddy on sport bikes and wanted to check our lisences, cars and cruisers......they let them go by unmolested. It seems the best time to avoid them is during the week. Sorry I cant help on the equipment side, I need both hands and no distractions to navigate the Gap and avoid the tree of shame :)
 

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Who Dat?
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I'd be more concerned with fellow riders than LEO's.

If you are running hard try to space yourselves, that helps.

We have not had any problems with cops in 5-6 trips up there and I do like it much better on weekdays not bordering holidays.
 

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Dragging a knee gets Reckless Driving ticket

Dragon cops are also claiming that the "real" speed limit is for "straight" sections only, never mind that there are no straights on the Dragon. That accusation would never survive an appeal, but the bottom feeder judges tend to go along with the corruption, since that's where their paycheck comes from. TN courts have not yet seen an appeal based on the 85th Percentile speed, which would raise the speed limit on the Dragon from 30 mph back to 55 mph. There has never been a traffic engineering survey on the Dragon, which is required to set valid speed limits. Engineering surveys are invalid if taken near speed traps, which abnormally reduces the speed of traffic.

TN don't have the vehicle inspection scam, but THP can ask for registration. I've never had a county, city or fed cop ask for tag paperwork. All cops like tickets for "non DOT" accessories, with THP "confiscating" bikes on the Dragon in 2007 (towing them to the NC state line). Some tickets totaled over $800 total. This of course scared off many tourists, who boycott TN. Deals Gap Resort in NC is still popular, with tourists doing all their spending in NC.

Here's the law of the Dragon, and how to win in traffic court in Blount County TN:

Video: Blount County DA phones to dismiss case
Answer to Complaint in Blount County General Sessions Court
How to Win in Traffic Court - Deals Gap Dragon 129

Here's how to handle fed traffic tickets from park rangers in Blount County:

Lee v United States informal appellant brief re traffic ticket

According to the assistant director of Great Smoky Mtn Nat Park, the Dragon is now fed jurisdiction inside the Park or Cherokee Nat Forest, according to the map at Park HQ in Gatlinburg. I personally got it on hidden audiotape. So any ticket in BC court could argue that state cops and state courts have no jurisdiction, which might win on appeal.

The transfer of 11,000 acres on the Dragon might not take place until later in 2008, which officially transfers it from state to fed jurisdiction. Supposedly the transfer was in Jan 2007, as part of a crooked fed landgrab which took the Dragon off Blount County tax rolls, but gave part of it tax-exempt to politicians for a private resort, under color of Nature Conservancy Corp. That might be part of the reason for the cops, to recover that lost tax revenue. Politicians and TDOT are refusing to answer questions about who has jurisdiction on the Dragon, which is very suspicious.

TN banned videocams in 2007, but Ron Johnson won his trial in BC court, even though his was handheld while driving. Since it lacked a TV screen, he won on that essential element in the statute. A BC deputy threatened to arrest me while walking with a videocam at a crash site "crime scene". But that's an illegal order, since it's always legal to videotape a public highway.

Any videocam should be attached to the vehicle, with no TV screen visible. Bullet cams are safe. Other cams should be hidden if possible. Realize that any videotape can be confiscated to be used against you as evidence in traffic court.

It's ALWAYS advised to tape record every conversation with a cop during a traffic stop, especially using a small audiotape recorder. DON'T get scared and turn it off. The best tapes use hidden recorders, so cops drop their guard and say the darndest things. Using the police videotapes can also win your case for you.

Here's what the police state looked like on the Dragon in 2007:

Video: Cobras versus Cops on the Dragon at Deals Gap - Note the lack of bikers

Womens Sportbike Rally boycotts TN but not Deals Gap Resort:
Video: Boycott the Police State on the Dragon

The police Surge in 2007 killed 3 bikers, and sued 150 tickets every weekend. 18 cops in 11 miles. That's half a lap. One 22-mile lap has 36 cops. 2 laps has 72 cops. Do the math if you do multiple laps.


Now 18 cops use radios instead of chases

Here's an older videotape by police on the Dragon, while hiding in the woods, only targeting sportbikers.

Police Evidence Video Stung by the Dragon

Evidence Summary -- Evidence Analysis. All cases won by lawyer Chris Oldham in Knoxville.

The police overtime budget has almost doubled in 2008 on the Dragon, with rumors of cammo cops in the trees, again. Speed bumps are a fairy tale, but all of 129 might be dug up to install water lines for a new development.

The majority of tickets seem to be for crossing the centerline (except for trucks and cops). Tourists are easy prey, because they can't afford to return for court, and just mail in the ticket ("forfeiture of bail"). At least we forced the cops to target almost everybody, and not just sportbikers. But if more folks fight their tickets, the cops will disappear, since that destroys their profitability, win or lose.



Even Knoxville native Chris Crocker made a PSA for bikers. Also the Land of Oz. To be fair, TN cops are bad everywhere, it's just that the Dragon isn't ignored anymore.

Tractor trailers and on-duty cops are immune from prosecution on the Dragon. So impersonate a cop?

 

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I just got back from the Gap, a few hours ago. It was a beautiful day and LEO's were out in full force but they really did not bother us too much. I was some times going 5 over the limit when I came around a corner and saw them "perched" Mainly because there we so many people out there that you could only get in maybe one good run one way and on the way back you were stuck behind a buch of people. I was there Labour Day weekend too, got there Monday afternoon did not see one, then on Tuesday they had a little "check point" set up....they stopped me and my buddy on sport bikes and wanted to check our lisences, cars and cruisers......they let them go by unmolested. It seems the best time to avoid them is during the week. Sorry I cant help on the equipment side, I need both hands and no distractions to navigate the Gap and avoid the tree of shame :)
I think I got video of you at the Deals Gap Resort, if you were with the Womens Sportbike Rally:

dealsgap-tt-pntv-march2008web.mpg
 

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Yesterday at Deals Gap, only 1 deputy working a minor bike crash.

Deputy was allegedly only handing out warnings citations, to meet his quota for contacts.

No THP.

Might snow today.
 

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at this point in the season, we've only seen BCSO (sheriff) and they've been very reasonable with their actions. these guys are all locals and many of them ride, too. if you really want to make a good impression, stop for a chat. most enjoy the chance to see/hear about what brings you here. bottom line with them is that if you're being reasonable and respectful (acknowlege their presence by slowing a bit and waiting a few turns before wicking it up again) and look like you're in control, they'll likely tolerate a bit over the limit. but if they catch you over the line, they're within every right to cite you, no matter what the excuse.

current rumor regarding THP is that they will begin enforcement on the 15th (tomorrow) but might only be appearing on weekends--Fri, Sat, Sun--and leaving the weekdays to BCSO. we have no idea if it will be like last year's enforcement but so far, i'm giving them the benefit of doubt. i've met several new troopers stationed in the area and they are good guys. if they don't patrol 7 days a week, maybe they can keep the local guys on the Dragon.

at any rate, i'll let you know how this coming weekend is if THP has a presence. :)
 

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THE LEAD.
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yea I get the drift they seem to be human and just answering to someone else complaining. Most likley the ding bats that would get pulled over no matter where they ride. The weekend brings more day trippers that dont have all day for traffic to dye down before they make there passes so the start pissing others off and the snowball is started. I am a day triper but my days monday.
 

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Don't tease the dragon
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I refuse to let the LEO's and BS crackdown dictate where I ride... I enjoyed the Gap on 10 trips last year, and we'll do close to that this year (I hope).

For those of you scared off by it, stop at the local courthouse and turn in your man card (no insult intended to the ladies), sell your bike, and let the rest of us get on with enjoying ourselves....
 

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I refuse to let the LEO's and BS crackdown dictate where I ride... I enjoyed the Gap on 10 trips last year, and we'll do close to that this year (I hope).

For those of you scared off by it, stop at the local courthouse and turn in your man card (no insult intended to the ladies), sell your bike, and let the rest of us get on with enjoying ourselves....
Uh using your "man card" in an area that you are going to be targeted in makes you the LEO's bitch. You can keep your man-bitch card friend.
 

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Don't tease the dragon
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Uh using your "man card" in an area that you are going to be targeted in makes you the LEO's bitch. You can keep your man-bitch card friend.
Nope, Not true - I spoke to the LEO's there on several occasions last year - no tickets, but they know that I'm not part of the problem, either. I actually corrected a group of them once when they quoted incorrect stats to me.

If they know that you won't stand for unjust BS, they generally won't bother you unless you really need them to.
 

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I will not send a single dollar of my money into the state of TN until the police state tactics on the Dragon are stopped.

The "saturation" enforcement is causing MORE wrecks than its preventing, and the tactics used by the officers are draconian at best.

FCUK Tennessee.
 

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went to the dragon on memorial weekend and had a great ride. there for a few days and put a lot of miles on the corners. there was almost too much traffic on the weekend but early/late in the day was pretty open.

i have to say good things about the po po also. there were a number of times that they could have hassled me and were very understanding. i think they need to feel like you are in control and also not flying down the straights (read as brief space, with less curve, between corners). i did get caught out in the open a few times while they were on the move but i wasnt going 100 between corners so they didnt ticket me. and they were not hesitating to stop alot of people so they were obviously using discretion.
 

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As long as you maintain control and aren't reckless, you won't get hassled. Having you enjoy your time there and spending money locally is more important than ticket revenue. If you try to play MotoGp and are running 100MPH through there, you will get hassled, you will get tickets and you will get arrested.

The Dragon went unnoticed for 50 years and it wasn't until the racer wannabes showed up and started crashing that LEO has started "ruining" the fun.

LEO's have not ruined the dragon, reckless and irresponsible people have created the situation that is going on there...
 

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I am going to make a double post here. I live about 10 miles out of the city near the forest. For 3 years, I have been riding a 5 mile stretch of road that has 7 to 10 35 MPH corners...not Deal's Gap, but twisties here in the Land of straight roads.

In the last 6 months, there have been racer wannabes and newbies who have found out about this road in the forest and they have been out there crashing...EMT's ambulances and even a LifeFlight or two...Now, there are deputies and FHP patrolling the road daily. My neighbor is a deputy, he and I have talked about the road on numerous occasions. The LEO's have always known about the road. They know what we have been doing out there for years and have let us have some time out there, until people started crashing. Now, because of the publicity surrounding the "crotch rockets" racing out there and crashing, LEO is shutting down the "fun." What are they supposed to do when reckless and irresponsible people create a hazard for everyone?
 

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You can't get a proper radar reading on a curve anyway. Police will only set up radar adjacent to a straight section of road. The only way for them to accurately gauge your speed through a turn is to follow you (assuming their speedo's are certified). So, don't speed with a cop on your tail, and you should be fine going through the curves. Cops in the Dragon have been pretty cool lately, from what I've read over at Killboy.com. I saw a few (read: two or three) each time we went through the Dragon back in late April, and even on my buddy's Sportster, I know I was going a good 10mph over the speed limit in most places, and they didn't even look twice at me. 10mph might be their tolerance, though, as mine was when I was an LE specialist in the USAF.

Your best bet is to just hit the Dragon early (before 11am) on a weekday, and spend the rest of your time on those hundreds of other beautiful roads in the area. Zip down 28 all the way to Frankiln, and you'll probably see one cop at most - you'll forget all about the Dragon. I've been down there a few times, and the CRoT/Dragon is really just a hang-out spot anymore; the Dragon has lost its appeal (between the locals, the squids, the LEOs, and the sheer volume of traffic).
 

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back at the drag strip
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was just up with the R1/R6convention recently. my first time. maybe i got into this way to late, but the riding sucked.nice road , if u want to do 30 mph. to many leo's. on one day one officer let us pic whore a corner, just said if we wrecked he would have to give us tickets. thought that was pretty cool. had the sparkies grinding. thought the cherahala? sky way was a better ride. i will be back next year any how.
 
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