Motorcyclist dies in crash on Blue Ridge Parkway, the fourth biker death this year

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A North Carolina man was killed over the weekend in the fourth fatal motorcycle crash of 2021 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Milepost 398, not far from the Chestnut Cove overlook, according to the National Park Service. That’s in the Arden area of Buncombe County in North Carolina.

Shawn Emory, 38, of Weaverville, died after being taken to a hospital, park service officials said in a news release.

“Dispatchers received a report of a single motor vehicle collision involving a motorcycle. ... When rangers arrived on the scene, they observed the motorcycle laying on its side near the guard rail,” park officials said.

“Preliminary investigations indicate that Emory was traveling southbound in an uphill curve when he lost control and over corrected. The motorcycle left the motor road and struck the guard rail. Emory was ejected from the motorcycle and suffered serious injuries.”

It’s at least the sixth fatality reported this year on the parkway, and the fourth involving a motorcycle, according to news releases.

On June 22, Larry McElroy, 70, and his passenger Brenda McElroy, 71, of Georgia, were killed when their motorcycle “crossed into the northbound lane, hitting the oncoming van” in North Carolina, officials said.

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And on May 23, Matthew Gauck, 22, died on a stretch of the parkway through Virginia when his motorcycle crashed while “traveling at a high rate of speed,” officials said.

One of the six fatalities involved a Virginia man who had “a medical emergency” while on the parkway, officials said.

The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is a narrow, winding two-lane blacktop that is popular with motorists, dubbed “Americans favorite drive.” More than 14 million people visited in 2020, the NPS reports.

“A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other: a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands,” the parkway says on its website.

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