You may be up to speed on safe driving techniques on city streets but if you intend to do some riding further out, you should be aware that you need a whole other set of tactics – especially when it comes to riding in deer populated areas.
And that means more than just riding with a motorcycle helmet. Consider these statistics from Defenders of Wildlife:
• 85% of all deer-motorcycle collisions result in human fatalities
• Almost half of all deer-related crashes occur because drivers swerve to avoid the animals
• More than 75,000 deer are killed each year in New York from vehicle collisions
So the issue isn’t if you might meet a deer on the road but how you’ll respond when you do. Follow these 5 tips for safety:
- Read the Signs – Deer crossing signs are erected in specific areas because of the high number of crashes that have occurred there. If you see a deer crossing sign, slow down.
If you happen to have an overly eager vehicle on your tail, let them pass and maintain a safe speed of approximately 10 miles below the limit.
- Understand Deer Patterns– Defenders of Wildlife report that vehicle-deer crashes occur most frequently between October and December.
If you choose to take to the back roads remember that deer are actively migrating on centuries old routes which pre-date the road on which you find yourself.
- Think Like A Deer – While you may not be a forest browser, you should still learn to think like one when you’re driving in deer territory. Remember these proven deer facts:
• Deer are more active at dawn and dusk
• Deer prefer to feed in shadowy areas and can often be found nibbling roadside
• Deer often travel in groups of 3 or more, usually a doe and twins and possibly last year’s babies who are still hanging with mom
Always consider that when you see one deer more are likely to be about.
- Stop Don’t Swerve To Avoid Deer – Although it’s a common reaction, swerving to avoid a deer can deliver disastrous results. The reason – deer often react abruptly to predators by running in a zig zag “wolf evasion” pattern.
They’ll usually move toward the direction they are facing but after that their movements are unpredictable.
- Look For Clues – Knowing that deer may be lurking nearby in the dark, keep alert for any reflection you may see from your headlight down the road. The difference between a reflective road sign and a deer is that the animal will blink.
This is especially important because the brown deer hide often will not reflect light so the animal is essentially invisible.
- Don’t Forget Your Motorcycle Helmet and Protective Gear – If you happen to have an unfortunate encounter with a deer, be sure you’ve done all you can to protect your head and body. A good motorcycle helmet and quality padded [men’s leather motorcycle jacket hyperlink: http://www.leatherboundonline.com/Leather_Motorcycle_Jackets_for_Men_s/295.htm]
may be the difference between just bumps and bruises and worse.
As in most things, being prepared will reduce chances of a nasty run-in with one of our furry friends. Take time to practice stopping abruptly and make a habit of keeping your fingers at the ready on your brake when driving through deer crossing areas.
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