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It’s that time of year again—deer mating Season and hunting season. While deer are beautiful and graceful creatures, they do pose a risk to motorcyclists on the road—especially during mating/hunting season. In fact, nearly half of vehicle accidents that involve whitetail deer occur from October to December. November, in particular, is a deadly month because hunting and mating season converge. November sees 18% of the annual deer-vehicle collisions.

While they may not seem like significant dangers, deer that inadvertently run out in front of unsuspecting motorcyclists can cause serious and deadly accidents.

Animals, especially deer in mating season, also cross roads in search of mates or territory. Many drivers in rural areas have noted the heavy “animal traffic” along and across roadways during the summer and fall months, as deer roam widely in search of food and companionship. Many accidents involving deer occur during these seasons.

Sometimes hunters or farmers entice deer by placing “salt licks” or food sources in convenient locations, such as roadsides in rural areas. Bikers should be particularly cautious on creek-side and lakeside roads, especially at dawn and dusk, which are the preferred feeding and watering times for many types of large animals. Even smaller animals can trigger an accident if they cause the motorcycle’s tires to lose contact with the pavement.

Why are motorcyclists at risk when it comes to deer?

In a word: Size. The larger and heavier a vehicle is when compared with the animal’s mass, the more likely the driver is to retain control of the vehicle after an impact, and the less likely there are to be injuries, regardless of the amount of vehicle damage. The fact that motorcycles are very small vehicles, especially compared with the weight of deer and other four-footed animals, means that a motorcycle is far more likely to be destabilized by even a minor collision with a deer.

For example, a large truck, which strikes a deer, may suffer only moderate damage to its grill. The truck driver may feel only a minor tug at the steering wheel upon impacting a deer. Yet, when considering smaller vehicles it is apparent that the driver of a passenger vehicle that strikes an animal will find it more difficult to retain control of the vehicle. In comparison, even if a motorcycle barely sideswipes a deer, the rider is very likely to lose control and be thrown from the bike.

Other Animals on the roadway

Animals are drawn to roadways for a variety of reasons. Reptiles such as snakes and lizards come to pavements at night in search of the warmth from the day’s sunlight. Larger animals such as livestock or deer often cross roadways in search of food and water on the other side.

While deer get the majority of the attention, small animals such as raccoons, squirrels, and possums can be just as deadly. Motorcyclists may swerve to avoid a collision with the animal and run head-on into a tree or other roadside object.

Reducing the Risks of a Motorcycle Collision

Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of being involved in an accident with a deer or animal, by wearing appropriate safety gear at all times. If you are to be driving in a wooded area, be sure to use as much of your headlight as possible to improve your visual field. Be cautious during the hours of 6-9pm when deer are the most active.

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

We know why your ride—because we share your passion for the open road. That’s why we want to keep you as safe as possible during all riding seasons. BAM is a free roadside and legal assistance program that is the nation’s largest network of Bikers Helping Bikers®. We Ride—We Care—We Win! To learn more about BAM, call us at 1-800-4-BIKERS today or visit us on the web at www.russbrown.com.