Motorcycles and Deer

Just to remind riders — Its that time of year again when the deer are extremely active especially at dawn and dusk.

Most deer-vehicle collisions occur between the months of October and December. Reasons: In late October and early November, deer enter their annual mating/breeding season. As bucks instinctively pursue does with the goal of mating, they will often be less cautionary near roads or highways. This can lead to not only the bucks being more likely to enter or cross the roadways but also does will be chased into traffic by the bucks.

Most accidents involving deer occur between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. During this time, deer are prone to be more active and the limited lighting makes it extremely difficult for motorists to see deer near or on the roadway.

Here are some suggestions I found for riders to prevent collisions involving deer:

1. Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the dark hours of fall. If you travel during the early morning hours or evening, the odds of coming across deer on or near the roads increases substantially as deer commonly move to and from feeding areas during these times of the day. Give yourself enough time to be able to reduce your driving speed during these dangerous hours and still make your destination on time.

2. Drive with high beams on, when possible, and watch out for eyes reflecting in the headlights;

3. Remember that deer often travel in groups, so do not assume that all is clear if one deer has already passed; and

4. Honking at deer could scare them away if you see them on the side of the road ahead of you.

5. Pay attention to Deer Crossing signs because deer tend to use the same paths when they are looking for food or places to sleep during their normal daily movements. If you see one deer, there are probably others nearby because they travel in small groups.

Interesting facts: Claims data from a large insurance company showed 2.3 million collisions occurred in the United States between 2008 and 2010. State Farm created a map of the country showing the risk of hitting a deer for each state, according to its own data. States like Michigan, West Virginia, and Iowa have some of the highest risks for deer collisions.

Additional comments:

1. Deer hits are probably much higher than on the chart. Because many hits are not reported.

2. Many areas with lots of deer hits are not posted. See comment 1. So pay attention based on topography and vegetation.

3. June is the second highest time for deer hits as does/fawns look for food.