6 Driving Tips On Dealing With Deer During Motorcycle Rides

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

For even more driving tips, apparel sneak peeks and nationwide motorcycle event listings, subscribe to the Leather Bound Blog.

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