There are a few lists compiled of these (for example – http://ow.ly/CkAE30kQOpE ) and over the years we have ridden most of them. So the looming spectre of Turkey’s D915 between Bayburt and Of was always going to get our adrenalin pumping. The main reason being that it’s the D915 that tends to get the prize as the most dangerous. For sure the Death Road in Bolivia (which we’ve ridden 3 times – once by bicycle and twice by motorcycle) has the highest death toll but that’s because of the traffic count. At the time we first rode that one the death toll was running at one per day. Since that time a big highway has been built across the valley so the traffic & death count is well down nowadays.
The D915 is closed – but only half-heartedly as it’s easy on a motorcycle to get around the barriers. But one of the benefits of that is we encountered no other traffic on it’s cliff sides – which is just as well because in parts now you could not get a 4 wheel vehicle through. Indeed I’d fully expect that within a couple of years now the worst of this road will be effectively closed – because they are building an alternative route right now.
Anyway one of the sections of switchbacks is particularly tight and as we looked back up at it having reached the bottom it’s clear that that section has been built across a major landslip making it pretty unstable anyway. But while the repairs on the gravel road are crude to be kind with rocks of a size the bikes just get shoved sideways from, the sphincter-tightening section is when the road reduces to a single track and there are no barriers to prevent the 1000m fall. That is where a determined approach of ‘eyes straight ahead’ and ‘keep the speed up’ needs to come to the fore. It’s no good dreaming if only we were on lightweight trail bikes, the challenge is getting what seem at this moment to be overloaded juggernauts, through.
I think it’s these elements of the D915 that lead us to give it the prize for now of being the scariest of the Top 10. One good thing for us – we were not traversing it in snow or rain. Either of those would have seen us take the long way round.