The deer population has been on the rise over the last decade. In years past, they were mostly a rural problem. However, their numbers have increased to the point where they are a common sight in the suburbs and in many urban environments. Not surprisingly, motorcycle collisions with deer cause far more fatalities than car/deer collisions.

Deer are unpredictable and very active at night when the darkness and their natural “stealth” coloring make them hard to see. While deer are a year-round problem, they are especially active during the fall and early winter seasons. Here are eight tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents¬†with deer:

  • Observe deer crossing signs. These signs are placed in areas where deer frequently cross and are often hit by motor vehicles. Slow down, keep your guard up, and be ready to stop.
  • Cover your brakes. To speed up your reaction time, keep your brakes covered.
  • Use bright driving lights. When possible use your high beams and add extra driving lights.
  • Reduce your speed at night. Speeds higher than 45 mph are too fast for you to react in time when you see a deer in your headlights.
  • Deer move in groups. If you see one deer on the side of the road, there could be several more on the road farther ahead. This is why it’s so important to slow down when you see them because the first one you avoid may distract you from spotting the next one down the road.
  • Don’t swerve if you’re about to hit one. Instead, brake hard until you hit the deer. Going in a straight line in a stable upright position improves your chance of staying on your bike.
  • Look for signs of deer at night. These include looking for light reflecting off their eyes and the flickering of car headlights ahead that indicate deer crossing in front of them. You may also notice dark movement against light reflecting from the road surface ahead.
  • Wear your helmet and protective gear. A deer can jump unseen in front of your bike and it could be all over before you’re aware of what happened. Startled deer jump forward in which ever direction they happen to be facing, even if it’s toward the motorcycle that startled them.

Sometimes collisions with deer are caused or heavily influenced by the negligence of others such as the failure to erect deer crossing signs in areas with high deer activity or the failure of local authorities to promptly remove a deer carcass off the road. A motorist may also involve you in an accident because of their negligent driving in an area with a high deer population.

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