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Old 08-24-2012, 09:00 PM   #16
How's that work?
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Northern California
Oddometer: 645
I got hit on my right arm by a deer running after another one, right here in urban Oakland, California. I saw one, with a big rack, and figured that he was the last, chasing a doe. Well, wrong. There was another one, slammed into my arm, down I went, sliding face down at about 35. If you ever wonder whether a full face helmet is necessary, I'm telling you that it sure is. I can still see the pavement grinding against my helmet about an inch from my face.

There is no sure way to avoid deer. The guy that used to write the "Stayin' Safe" column in Rider magazine was killed by a deer in West Texas several years ago. Those deer are big, they are fast, and they are dumb. Stay alert, take it easy at night and around curves and over hilltops. Small animals you can ride over, but deer will put you down.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:27 PM   #17
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Western Montana
Oddometer: 1,024
This fear I share; because for the next month or so, I'll be commuting 38 miles through Wisconsin farmland and woods.

Here's how I see it: When there's a danger of deer, SLOW DOWN. As noted, reaction time at 40 mph is more effective than at 60. I'd add that a spill at 40 will probably be less lethal than one at 60-plus. And a tumble at 30 or so, less so than either.

So...ATGATT; road armor or leathers, helmet, gloves. Go slow if you can at shame in pulling over to let an idiot rocket by. Watch, carefully...I've seen many deer come up to the road and hit one (in a car); their buckskin coloring is flecked with enough grey for them to blend in perfectly. You have to LOOK.

And...I don't recommend this, but it's what I do. No guarantee it's foolproof, either...but here's what it is. In likely deer country...wooded or field lands, in the dark...I just keep tooting my horn every ten seconds. DON'T do this near any sort of town; but out of earshot, I suppose it's no worse than an un-muffled Harley.

The abrasive European horn of a scooter or bike is good for this. An American car horn, the deer will ignore, but a sharp sound sends them running. How do I know this? I make a living driving trains; and I've run down a dozen or more deer over the years. Missed hundreds more. I don't like to hit them; it's sometimes a mess; it's a waste of venison.

They ignore the train's air horn...hard to imagine. But, put the locomotive bell on...that hammering sound, makes them scurry back. Turn the headlights off (the lights paralyze them) and the bell on, and they beat a fast retreat.

You can't turn your light off or use a bell; but you can try noise to increase your odds.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:21 PM   #18
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: sOHi
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I ride rural roads in the dark in a deer infested area every morning. You usually see hem, you will figure out where they are going to be. In 5yrs I have only had two close calls, one left hair on my headlight, but you would be amazed how fast you can stop from 55mph on a scoot. I ride near he centerline in the dark, you can see cars coming and you have panic space for deer.
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:21 AM   #19
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL
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I've been commuting at night in a semi rural area for about 2 years now. I've only seen deer once and came close to hitting some small critter once. Maybe I've been lucky but I do dress for the ride just in case, Armored jacket, full face helmet, gloves and boots. I did hit a deer in the middle of the day several years ago. I hit it at about 65 MPH and killed the deer. I was dressed for the ride and walked away and even rode the bike home although the bike was damaged.

Oh, I ended up face down in the road after sliding and tumbling to a stop from 65. Without a full face helmet I would most likely have lost some of my face

I have also hit a couple of large birds at speed. A raven and a Vulture or something like it. Had they hit me a little differently either one could have knocked me off my bike.
I ride, Therefore I Am.

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Old 09-01-2012, 08:52 AM   #20
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Joined: Oct 2010
Location: West coast British Columbia
Oddometer: 612
Originally Posted by LarryRickenbacker View Post

Yesterday I enrolled in graduate school. In 3 years I plan to retire from teaching Sp. Ed and transition to a new career as a Licensed Psychological Counselor. My first night class is some 23 miles away and involves a country commute. A perfect job for my trusty Honda Sh150i, given current gas prices?
I'm an urban commuter. I'm concerned about things crossing the road like various critters (a local doctor was killed by a Deer recently on his BMW bike in the pre-dawn hours) and the odd tire tread laying across the road. Am I being a wuss or should I simply saddle up, use my brights and watch my speed on my way home?
I use my brights all the time on my SYM Citycom. It has twin 35W H4 that really light up the whole road without offending other drivers. Some AUX LEDs would be a good investment for your beast.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:25 PM   #21
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest, West Oz
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Originally Posted by creighta View Post
I ride rural roads in the dark in a deer infested area every morning. You usually see hem, you will figure out where they are going to be. In 5yrs I have only had two close calls, one left hair on my headlight, but you would be amazed how fast you can stop from 55mph on a scoot. I ride near he centerline in the dark, you can see cars coming and you have panic space for deer.
Obviously a well-experienced country rider (I refer to the "riding down the centreline" part), normal practise out here too, and slip back across a bit for crests and bends.

I've had a few close brushes too over the 30 years or so.......and also had fur on the knee and bar ends.

All I can recommend to others who might be doing it for the first time, is take it easy, and don't let fear of a possibility ruin the enjoyment of riding out on your own.
Who the hell would drag race a Ducati?!?!?!?!
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:32 PM   #22
How's that work?
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Northern California
Oddometer: 645
don't let fear of a possibility ruin the enjoyment of riding out on your own.

That's it in a phrase. You want safe? Good. Take the bus.
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:34 AM   #23
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Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Calgary
Oddometer: 282
Deer and motorcycles don't mix. We make it a habit to stop for the day and be wherever we're supposed to be at least an hour before sunset. I suggest riding through the woods regularly is inviting an encounter with a deer, or a group of them.

Don't overdrive your lights. Get some good HID running lights, or better yet, two 75W truck back-up lights. I also put $5 deer whistles on my bikes. I'm not convinced they do much. It certainly doesn't scare them off the road, but they do hear it and they look at where it's coming from. I often see their eyes before I see anything else.

Deer are skittish and unpredictable, but they are smart. If they bolt, their instinct is to dart across an attacking predator's path so only their haunch is exposed. In other words, right across your path. They go up, into the woods in the morning to escape the heat and the bugs, but come down again in the evening for water. Most roads through the mountains follow a river. If you ride the same route every night, you'll learn where the deer cross the road. They have habits, but don't become complacent. There is no good outcome if you hit one on a bike.

Ride safe
Scott Fraser
one 125 Vino; two 650 Burgman Execs
06 Vulcan 900 Classic LT; 05 V-Star 1100 Silverado
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:06 AM   #24
Joined: Aug 2012
Oddometer: 4
I have been commuting on my Linhai 150cc for almost a year and a half. I work 2nd shift, so the 18 mile ride home is always in the dark. The commute is about as rural and wooded as it gets. I travel at 45 mph on the way home. As another said, slower speed gives a bit more reaction time and also means less kinetic energy for your body to absorb in a worst case scenario.

I've had 2 CLOSE calls with deer in that period of time. Not too surprising due to the fact that the scooter is my daily driver, rain or shine, until the snow flies.

IMPORTANT: If you do see a deer ahead of you, slow down (of course) but DO NOT honk your horn to "scare them away". More often than not, this startles them and triggers the "flight" response in them and they charge into or away from the road. 50/50 chance is not a good ratio here lol.

Another tip: If you see one standing/moving along the side of the road, focus your attention to the side of the road the deer is coming from/facing away from. This is
more than likely the side of the road where more deer will pop out from if its not traveling alone.

Miles=smiles screwed with this post 09-04-2012 at 04:14 AM
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:40 AM   #25
Bar None
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: WNC SWFL
Oddometer: 4,962
My wife was driving through a wooded section here in WNC and two deer jumped on the side of her car. Minor damage to a car but probably dead or serious injury on a bike at 55 MPH. I've almost hit loose cows at night in rural FL and NC . You just can't see them. I just don't ride my bike at night in those environments. I've got an econobox cage.
Vince @ SWFL or WNC
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:05 PM   #26
Paul Mihalka
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Maryland
Oddometer: 877
If possible find a car to follow. There is a good chance the car will scare it away or hit it first or see it early and you slow down more.
PS I have two motorcycle - deer kills on my record. One bike totaled, I hurt, one I did not go down, bike damaged, deer dead.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:11 PM   #27
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Syracuse, NY USA
Oddometer: 773
I hit a dog on my PCX scooter
It only has a top speed of 67 mph so I can't take the highway. Country roads are much more dangerous. It was after dark and very foggy on a Friday night. A warmish night for this time of year and very pleasant. My mood was high. I was wondering how many other riders were out enjoying it and how many took the car because they don't have the right equipment to feel comfortable in fog. Cruising at 50 mph on a state two lane in farm country and very alert. The dark and fog makes you focus your attention between the lines as there is not much information in the hazy glare to the sides of the road. Out of the black and fog steps a big black dog. Grey muzzled with a labored gate. Probably deaf now. 27 inches high and heavy at 100 pounds? A once noble beast and no doubt a trusted friend. Three steps in and wham. I barely had time to cover the brakes. Let alone even begin to apply them. I hit him toward the front and didn't run over him. By the time I stopped the bike, collected myself, and rode back, he was nowhere to be found. Vanished again into the fog. If only his master had fitted him with a reflective collar. It was too late to start riding up and down, banging on doors so I stopped and called the cops. He said he would use his spot light to search for him and that I should head home. Very sad. I love dogs. My first job away from home was as a professional dog trainer.
My bike is crunched but I am fine. Crouching to let the top of my tall windscreen blow the water drops from my face shield, my braced position was strong enough to bend the left handle bar as the bike smashed back eight inches allowing the key to make contact with my right knee. Honda should know better. It could have been worse as I never wobbled or wavered.
I think I have made two payments on it.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #28
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Joined: May 2008
Location: NW La. (USA)
Oddometer: 313
The wifey sez "Nyet" to my commute


Thanks for all the informative posts; this forum is indeed useful! Well, my lovely wife put her foot down on using my
scooter for my night time/country commute. Instead she's urging me to use my scooter more often for my morning urban work commute, which would also save money on fuel.
I usually try to keep the odds on my side whenever possible with regard to safety (you should see me in my all-White helmet and reflective vest, LOL!) and I'm gonna do what the wife says.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:26 AM   #29
Cooter on a scooter
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: ♘ ④⓪②⓪⑤ ♘
Oddometer: 1,205
Ditto the deer stuff . . .
Deer are everywhere, even in cities. At night, I constantly scan for reflection off of their eyes on the side of the road.
Drop speed waaaaay down and when going around blind corners, just assume they are there. I dont know any rider who hasnt had a scary deer encounter. ITs only a matter of time. Being prepared for it mentally is what will make the difference between staying upright or the other . . .
☮ ☭ ☯ PCX 125, Eton 50 Past-->AN400, Stella 150 ☯ ☭ ☮
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:27 AM   #30
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Calais, Vermont
Oddometer: 56
I live in rural Vermont and stay under 40mph after dark if I can. So far so good. I see lots of deer, herds sometimes, but they must hear or see my Heinkel coming. over 40 years and no trouble.
"Deep in the heart of every human being...the drive to demonstrate competence." R. Buckminster Fuller
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