heads up! SoCalSuMoFo's...

Heads up guys...

There's so much racing going on (cars and motorcycles) in the canyons around Topanga and Malibu, the police are taking measures to reduce the dangerous conditions.

This is the front page article from our local newspaper, The Topanga Messenger...


Cops Come Down Hard on "Canyon Carving"

By Lee Michaelson

With helicopters circling overhead and police motorcycles lined up on parade, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky joined commanders from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) West Valley Area and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lost Hills Station on Monday, June 25, to publicize Operation Safe Canyons, a crackdown on illegal racing and other hazardous driving practices on canyon roads.

Mulholland Highway and other mountain roadways in and near Topanga are well known for their breathtaking ocean views and scenic canyon vistas; the relatively unpopulated, twisting mountain roads are the stuff of movies and high-end automobile advertisements. Of late, however, a drive along these roadways has become breathtaking in an altogether different sense, as sports car magazines and internet sites around the country encourage "canyon carvers" to put their souped-up sports cars and high-performance motorcycles through their high-speed paces on the area's winding turns.

"Canyon carving" has been defined as "driving down a mountain road as fast as one possibly can, simply for the enjoyment of the experience," according to one enthusiast posting on everything2.com. "Take an internal combustion engine, and wrap a precision piece of machinery with either two or four wheels. Add a driver with the proper mixture of gusto, skill, and healthy disregard for the speed limit. Throw them together on a winding mountain road and you have the ingredients for a good time," he continues.

Year to date, said CHP Captain Stephen Webb, the West Valley Area Commander, "we have had two fatalities [on canyon roads in the area], and that's two too many. We've had 60 traffic collisions since the beginning of the year." Webb says although the collision statistics represent a reduction from the same period last year, "the volume of violations continues to be way too high."

Though Officer Leland Tang, Public Affairs and Information officer for the CHP, says Topanga Canyon Boulevard itself is too congested to become much of a draw to speedsters, Tuna Canyon Road has been well-publicized on internet sites and bulletin boards frequented by exhibitionist drivers, as have Mulholland Highway, Saddle Peak, Las Virgenes Road, and other area roadways frequented by Topanga drivers. Some sites invite motorcyclists to congregate for the purpose of high-speed rides through local canyon roads; the Rite-Aid drug store at the foot of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard is a popular rendezvous for such outings.

A Mulholland Highway scenic overlook formed the backdrop for the Operation Safe Canyon press briefing, and its rubber skid-marked pavement bore witness to the dangerous antics CHP and Sheriff's officials say regularly take place thereÑexhibitions of speed, wheelies, burnouts, doughnuts, and a variety of other stunts, according to Captain Webb. Webb also cited the problem of high-performance vehicles speeding into the early morning hours on Stunt Road and neighboring canyon roads, as well as reckless driving and excessive speed on the canyon roads in general.

Of course, the ability to engage in high-speed and stunt driving on challenging roads is precisely what attracts canyon carvers to the area. Many go on-line to regale their cohorts with tales of their carving adventures in the Topanga-Malibu area, some even memorializing their driving prowess with video cameras mounted on their vehicles, then uploading the footage to the web. You Tube features (among many other such offerings) video of a hand-built Mercedes CLK DTM AMG, advertised as the "fastest open-top four-seater in the world," "carving up Mulholland Highway in So Cal." The limited edition race car, which sells for 277,820 Euros (U.S. $378,585) in Germany, is hot on the tail of a motorcycle racing along the same stretch of road throughout most of the ride; meanwhile, a veritable parade of cycles whiz by in the opposite direction.

A posting on the Pelican Parts Bulletin Board Server shares photos and narrative by Jack Olsen who claims to have cut out of work early one sunny Saturday morning, driving 23 miles (in 15 minutes, he proudly announces) to Topanga in order to take his Porsche 911 on a high-speed, "wide-open," 98-mile spin "from Mulholland Highway, to Stunt Road, to Saddle Peak, to Piuma Canyon, to Los Virgenes, back to Mulholland Highway, past the Rock Store, all the way to Decker Canyon, and back to the 101." The ride, he says, was "pretty freakin' excellent"; his major complaintÑthat slower-moving motorcycles would not move over to allow him to pass.

At least one motorcyclist claims to have had exactly the opposite experience, blowing by the stunned driver of a $90,000 Porsche on his BMW on a carving adventure through Tuna Canyon. Russell Bynum relates the trip down Tuna Canyon on the BMW Sport Touring Bulletin Board: "A year ago, Dick and Laney and I did this road and I was amazed at how Dick did the turns. He'd come in really slow and d*mn near rip the asphalt off the road accelerating out of it."

Among the multitude of narrow canyon roads in the Santa Monica Mountains, Tuna Canyon Road is known among carvers as "unique. It's an extremely windy road; you're almost guaranteed to skid at least a couple of times if you're driving this road at a decent speed," writes one blogger on everything2.com. "Owing to its narrowness and difficult sharp turns, Tuna Canyon Road has been described as where Satan and his 29 virgins live. People who have driven this road for 20 years still have trouble on it; they swear that the road grows more curves every time they drive on it. What makes this road worth it, though, are the few straight-aways. These brief stretches of straight road offer a good opportunity to explore the upper reaches of any car's speedometer; any decent car should be able to reach at least eighty on these stretches before the next curve requires a good heavy foot on the brakes," he continues. Add to that another "plus" for speedsters, "[T]here's little need to worry about any sort of traffic, as it's only one way; the only one way canyon road in Southern California."

Sound exciting? Not exciting enough, it seems, for some of the carvers, who, Captain Webb says, travel one-way Tuna in the wrong direction while driving in a reckless manner. Others run the canyon roads under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Not to worry, says the blogger in his canyon-carving advice column. "Due to its secluded location, there is no need to worry about speeding tickets or traffic cops. "

That's exactly the kind of attitude that Operation Safe Canyons is intended to change. "We are here to tell exhibitionist drivers, ÔBeware. We are here,'" said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in formally introducing the 24-hour a day, seven-day a week targeted enforcement program which was initiated in April. With the new program now in full swing, Yaroslavsky said, "the odds are very high that if you engage in this kind of reckless driving, life-threatening driving, you will be nailed. You will not only get a citation, your car will be impounded and depending on the circumstance you may go to jail. This is not a joke. This is something that we take very seriously."

Since the beginning of the year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has issued more than 800 citations on canyon roads, according to Sheriff's Captain Tom Martin. Martin said that nearly all of those citations can be attributed to the Operation Safe Canyons program, because the Sheriff's Department does not usually perform traffic enforcement in the unincorporated areas.

Webb said the CHP has issued an additional 625 citations year-to-date just for speeding on the canyon roads; they have also made six arrests in the area for driving under the influence.

Two grants have made the aggressive enforcement program possible. The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded the local CHP a sizeable grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to underwrite overtime hours for specialized enforcement on the unincorporated canyon roads. The funding will be used to supplement the regularly assigned beat officers in the area at least through the end of the 2007 calendar year.

In addition, Supervisor Yaroslavsky's office stepped forward with a second grant to mobilize specialized enforcement teams from the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station in support of the Safe Canyons effort.

Calling the roads in question "some of the most dangerous in the county," Yaroslavsky thanked the CHP and Sheriff's Department for their partnership in "trying to eradicate what has become a real danger to the people who drive and who live in this community, the Santa Monica Mountains, and that is the high-speed exhibitionist driving that is done here on almost a routine basis. The County of Los Angeles and my office in particular has (sic) partnered with the Sheriff's Department and the Highway Patrol in funding what is now essentially a 24-7 enforcement operation in and around the Santa Monica Mountains on this road, the Mulholland Highway, on the PiumaÐStunt loop, and some of the other roads that some of the exhibitionist drivers have been frequenting in recent weeks and months and years."

Yaroslavsky said Operation Safe Canyons was put into effect, "first and foremost, because we want to save lives and we want to prevent permanent maiming injuries, and secondly, because we want to protect the quality of life for the people who live and drive here. There are people who live here, who go to work from here and come home here on these roads and they should not be faced with the prospect of an exhibitionist driver coming around the next bend. For them, this is a matter of life and death." Many residents in the area, which has experienced considerable development in recent years, have complained of the noise levels, as well as graffiti and other quality of life concerns, associated with the influx of exhibitiohnist drivers. It remains to be seen how these residents will respond to the noise generated by the low-flying helicopters the CHP and Sheriffs say they will mobilize to outwit canyon carvers who use their cell phones to alert their compatriots to the presence of cruisers.

Yaroslavsky said the program would also have a "self-evident" positive collateral effect on arson prevention in this drought year, simply by placing more eyes on the roads.

Stating "It's been Daytona up here," Assembly member Julia Brownley added her imprimatur to the effort. Though her aide Jesse Switzer, Brownley commended the CHP, the Lost Hills Sheriff's station, and Supervisor Yaroslavsky on this "important crackdown," adding "I hope the message gets out far and wide to any risk takers that there's a good chance there will be a cruiser around the next turn."

The reaction on some of the carving blogs has been mixed. One posted a "thumbs down" symbol, and "booed" the effort. Another questioned whether this spelled the end "for spirited rides" in the Santa Monicas. Others, however, praised the effort, noting that they were able to enjoy "spirited rides" without speeding or reckless driving.

For Webb, the message is simple: "We want you to know we want you to come here, enjoy the Santa Monica Mountains, but do it in a safe and legal manner. Because if you don't the California Highway Patrol and L.A. County Sheriff's Department will see that you do."

And even those Topangans who don't consider themselves canyon carvers should put on the brakes if they have any tendency to lead-footedness on the open stretches. "We are going to be taking enforcement action on everything that we observe," said Webb, even seatbelt and equipment violations.

From left: Sheriff's Captain Tom Miller, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and California Highway Patrol Captain Stephen Webb point out the skidmarks left on a stretch of Mulholland Highway by exhibitionist drivers.


Here's the link to the 580 horsepower Mercedes video referred to in the article:

Scary fast!

Take Care,


thanx for the heads up greg...i love how it mentions the infamous tuna canyon road.....thats where i crashed lol that road is tough when riding at a decent pace.

im not sayin its right or wrong to be doing it. i DO think its wrong to be putting OTHERS in danger if you are spirited.....but as history tells us, no matter what 'they' do...its still gonna happen.

o well.

funny thing is, ill be in socal this weekend....me and my gf are trialering my SM up there to do some canyon roading. of course....full safety, especially with a passenger.

Hi g, :thumbsup:

I know this is last minute, because I just read your post... but if you need a safe place to park your trailer in the canyon, you're welcome to park in our back yard. PM me if you do.

I may see you two tomorrow... as I'm taking Old Topanga Canyon Road to Mulholland past the Rock Store to Encinal, and down Decker canyon to PCH on the way to Oxnard.

Take Care, and enjoy the canyons... they're a real blast!:thumbsup:


Thanks for posting that story Greg. I took a quick 2 hour ride this morning before the MotoGP race. Saw a Sheriffs Dept officer on a BMW with radar sitting stationary on PCH near the intersection of Old Mulholland (next to the Leo Cararillo State Beach entrance). Then 20 minutes later, saw a Sheriffs Dept Crown Vic parked at the bottom of Yerba Bueana (just behind Neptunes Net) ready to go. The BMW officer was looking for someone faster than me, but the Crown Vic started to move on me until he figured out that I had spotted him.

Keep in mind this all happened in the relatively early hours of 8-10am, before the normal Sunday squid parade hits the road.

Oh well, it had to happen. Too many bikers, not enough good roads. I'm sure the residents who live in the area were not very happy about the increased speeding on their streets either.

I love how non rider/ drivers try and present this whole thing to other non enthusiasts. I have ridden all the roads mentioned for years and never once called it "canyon carving". I also didn't know I was considered an "exhibitionist rider" while "carving it up". Weak.

That blowhard Zev gets out at the lookout with LE every year at this time and spouts the same old bullshit for the press.

Local riders are not the problem ...it's the wankers that don't live around here screwing it up by blowing by houses like they are at the track and then crashing their brains out cause they don't know the roads or where not to go fast.

As always they will patrol all the main roads and will maintain a "high profile" targeting mostly bikes on the weekends. I saw three "extra" bike units out this morning all were out in the same place with radar on PCH. It's a good revenue generating operation for the county.

As always it won't do shit to stop any of it.

+ 2 to what ^^ he said... I have lived out hear for 27years. Same story new year.

Yeah, I also saw some increased law enforcement today. Two motorcycle units on PCH, and a Sherrifs vehicle had a red Viper pulled over. There were also two guys with DRZ's (I think) parked at the lookout on Mulholland when i went by. And someone did a wicked wheelie on a street bike on PCH up around Neptune's Net.

It sure was a beautiful day to ride!:thumbsup:

Went out to Oxnard via Old Topanga Mulholland Kanan Dume and PCH. I have an old man's (dis)advantage in the canyons... even when I'm having a ball going around the turns as fast as I can, I'm still going way too slow to actually break any laws...

... (sigh) guess I'll never be a ~real~ hooligan. :thumbsup:


(... (sigh) guess I'll never be a ~real~ hooligan.


greg it whats on the inside that counts not the MPH:blah: youll always be a hooligan in all fellow bikers eyes cause we all have alittle bit of Hooligan in us some have alot of Hooligan in them and some you just dont see it that clearly but its there dont be fooled we are all Hooligans At heart:thumbsup: Take Care All :thumbsup:

While I agree and side with cops on most matters, don't they know advertising the fact more just adds to the problem.

It is a simple fact, publicity regardless of good or bad always builds anything up.

I remember import street racing waaaay back when (94-95). Then you get "The Fast and the Furious" and then every single Civic in the world has an exhaust and stickers and Pep Boys is carrying cold air intakes.

Sometimes you need to go about things quietly. We all go out riding, knowing that at certain times we take risks and break/bend a few laws. The cops should have just keep quiet and "carried a big stick" by setting up a few traps, etc.

Oh well, dinners almost ready, later!


(... (sigh) guess I'll never be a ~real~ hooligan.


greg it whats on the inside that counts not the MPH:blah: youll always be a hooligan in all fellow bikers eyes cause we all have alittle bit of Hooligan in us some have alot of Hooligan in them and some you just dont see it that clearly but its there dont be fooled we are all Hooligans At heart:thumbsup: Take Care All :thumbsup:

very well put ken.....you both are a couple hooligans in my book....even if you are the two oldest MoFo's in the group :thumbsup: lol( as in the oldest SuMoFo members)

(Zac says) you both are a couple hooligans in my book....even if you are the two oldest MoFo's in the group lol( as in the oldest SuMoFo members)

Thanks Zac do we always have to put age in the middle of everything:foul: Like birthdays arent enough:rant: we are all getting older by the minute:crazy: all you young whipper snappers thinking Old is slow:naughty: all I have to say is Lets Ride Son:ride: lol Take Care see ya soon:excuseme:

Just Kinding Fellow SoMuFo Bro:thumbsup: lol

Not:foul: young Whipper Snappers think they know it all:rant: I'll show them When in doudt Gas it!

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now