I am now officially a Death Road survivor!
Death Road or “The Most Dangerous Road in the World” is the old road connecting La Paz to the semi-tropical region known as the Yungas. It first ascends from La Paz to La Cumbre Pass (15,260 feet) before descending to the town of Coroico (3,900 feet) in the span of about 40 miles. Before a new road was completed in 2006, this road was the main route from the capital into the Yungas.
More information about the road’s history can be found here, though it cites Wikipedia, so I wouldn’t trust it absolutely.
I do know that a total of 24 tourist bikers have been killed in a span of 15 years in addition to 2 Bolivian bikers. Our group avoided any deaths, thankfully. However, one of our group did leave via stretcher and taxi due to a broken collarbone. He was about 5 minutes from the end of the ride when he came too quickly around a curve and ended up in a ditch. Our guide told us at one of the last few checkpoints that 85% of accidents happen in the last third of the ride, due to overconfidence and speed, and perhaps, lack of scary cliff threatening your life. Well….
Lesson of the day: Listen to your guide, especially when you are biking down anything with the word “death” in the title