The major economic activity associated with The Tail of the Dragon may be that of the paparazzi
Cameramen (and, camerawomen) set up along the roadside, diligently filming every vehicle passing through these 11 miles with 318 curves; posting the images on-line and selling prints to the subjects of these portraits (or anyone else who will buy them).
one example, Killboy
CAVEAT: No value judgment offered; everyone's free to decide whether to ride the Dragon, and if so, HOW to ride it.
This stretch of highway remains a killing ground, highly-skewed toward fatal motorcycle accidents [Map up to at least some 2012 accidents here: http://www.tailofthedragonmaps.com/m...gondeaths.html
]. Thus, law enforcement patrol is often heightened along this segment of US Highway 129. Informing a rider "Smokey Bear" is on the scene is as newsworthy as telling him the sun rises in the east.
The passage has some inherent hazards; many blind curves, and . . . the geometry will not allow 18-wheelers to traverse without crossing the center line; some curve radiuses are too short to keep the trucks entirely on their side of the road.
Add to this mix motorcyclists and sports car drivers who wish to travel beyond their skills and beyond physical limitations of their machines in this environment, and the result is carnage.
The speed limit may be rigidly enforced, and the zone highly patrolled at times on TTOTD. A high accident rate is associated with that stretch of road. So, I don't wish the misfortune of a traffic ticket on anyone, but . . . someone speeds on The Tail of the Dragon and gets a TICKET? Not unusual; and . . . determining whether this traffic enforcement is abusive discrimination against motorcyclists is left as an exercise for the beholder. I think holding other motorcyclists responsible for not warning the violator of traffic surveillance, given typical law enforcement saturation (a well-known fact), is unrealistic, because radar enforcement is a GIVEN; YMMV.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I've been to Deal's Gap three times myself; run The Tail of the Dragon once, south to north. Traffic density, and the behavior of motorcyclists and drivers of four-wheeled vehicles on that stretch of road appear the main hazards, to me.
My opinion, better, and/or twistier, roads abound in the area without excessive human compounding; NC Route 28 to Franklin, for example, or even the Cherohala Skyway (watch out for vehicles traveling at excessive speeds on the latter, especially coming at you on your side of the road).