Tourist Tuesday, 8/27/19 — Emergency Response hampered by tourist traffic at Bixby Bridge

Today, I am going to forego my planned post on the “Invisible Costs of Tourism” to talk about a very real cost that many of us have been warning about for some time — that is traffic jams at Bixby and the impact on emergency response times. These costs are not monetary, they are to life and limb. I admit, I am biased. I lost my leg in an auto accident, and nearly lost my life. I am VERY aware that in emergency responses, time is a critical factor.

Medical Emergency on Highway One hampered by tourist traffic jam and road construction at Bixby Bridge.

There was a head-on collision at Big Creek yesterday, with several people injured, one critically. The CHP dispatcher wrote this:

12:07 PM8[24] A27-014 HEAVY TRAFF AT BIXBY / DOWN TO 1 LN / REQ 1141 BE ADVSD

Fortunately, Big Sur Fire is south of Bixby. Thankfully, Chief Matt Harris, and his supportive volunteer board is cross-training ALL volunteers not only for fire fighting, but for cliff-rescue as well as EMTs. They needed both for this incident, as is often the case. These are the men and women we count on, who are also there for our tourists. Please consider a donation to: It is a completely voluntary organization dependent on donations and grants.

For the critical patient, our military neighbor, Fort Hunter Liggett, sent a medical helicopter. He was not able to land at Big Creek due to fog, so he landed at the Hermitage. Big Sur Fire, MCSO, AMR met him there and transferred the patient from the ambulance to the helicopter. Good job all, and I probably speak for the entire coast when I wish the patient a speedy and full recovery.

I would just like to note that all of these people involved are professionals, only one of which is not paid. Marcus Foster, and Big Sur Fire, I hold you in great regard. Thank you.

I should add, that in addition to the traffic problems at Bixby, there is currently road construction going on in the area which exacerbates the problem.

Photos by Brendon Shave:

Marcus Foster of Big Sur Fire

6 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday, 8/27/19 — Emergency Response hampered by tourist traffic at Bixby Bridge

  1. We should charge entree fee for coastal #1 from MRY to Camry. Free automatic for local traffic.
    Need to cancel the coastal commission of certain duties. Their ineffective absenteeism is damaging progress to society and nature.

  2. Thank you Kate for a very powerful post and Brendan’s photos, especially in view of your own unimaginably traumatic experience. Driving my Dad on Highway 1 he said “ out here you need to pay full attention, one twitch by anyone and you’re dead!” Not his most eloquent statement perhaps, but that lesson has served me well.

  3. We are at the point were a serious solution must be enacted. Since over-tourism is only gaining ground and not slowing down there is one easy and cost effective remedy. No more parking at Bixby Creek turnout.
    Put a 12 month moratorium by placing concrete lane dividers, effectively blocking anyway to park there. Locals would gladly trade not pulling over there in exchange for traffic sanity. Tourists and tour buses will simply have to enjoy the scenery as they drive by, instead of selfies hanging over the cliff or bridge. After 12 months re-evaluate and come to a consensus with the State. Consider moving a lane divider or two, or redesign the pullover and perhaps realize that for safety sake, loose entirely any parking at all at Rainbow Bridge.

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