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Old 08-28-2012, 08:27 AM   #1
Fibzzz OP
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Hit a deer this AM.

It's funny how life goes sometimes. Just yesterday, I wrote a long post in the "When do you call it quits?" thread, and mentioned that one of the ways I try to minimize risk is to ride early in the morning before most people are up, when the only other creatures on the road are deer.

This morning, riding my GSA in the rain at around 6am, I came around an easy left-hander in Harriman State Park to find two whitetail does and a fawn at the left edge of the road. I got on the brakes hard, just in case... And sure enough, as I approached, the fawn spooked and bolted directly into my path. I squeezed the brakes even harder and swerved to the right, but this fawn was hell-bent on meeting me. I hit her at around 15 mph with a big thud, square on the nose of the bike. She tumbled to the right side of the road. I kept control and pulled over to assess the damage. One severely cracked lower fender, tweaked beak, bent fog light, a lot of hair, and that's it. Fork lowers, discs, calipers, lines, rim, steering head all intact. And, more importantly, I was intact.

The fawn, however, was not as fortunate. I hit her square in the body, definitely breaking ribs and maybe her spine judging by the crunch. I walked back to where she was laying, she lifted her head for a few seconds, then put it back down and that was it.

The lower fender needs replacing, the beak will be fine, and the fog light bent right back into place. It will be going to the dealer for a thorough once-over just to make sure the front end is in fact OK, but it drove fine on the way home and I'm very impressed with how it took the impact. This thing truly is a tank!

I know the internet saying, "If there are no pictures it didn't happen." But I couldn't stomach taking pics of the dead fawn so you'll just have to take me at my word.

Maybe we need a new thread for 'Almost-Face Plants.' Whew.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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I also responded in that thread, secretly hoping that I was not bringing bad karma onto myself. Glad that you are ok.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:48 AM   #3
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Kudos for breaking as soon as you perceived a threat (instead of thinking "nah, nothing is gonna happen" and continuing on your merry way)...
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mamm View Post
Kudos for breaking as soon as you perceived a threat (instead of thinking "nah, nothing is gonna happen" and continuing on your merry way)...
My riding friends have learned when I see a deer I brake hard, and they do too. If they are smart.

Rod
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:27 AM   #5
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Whew, glad you're okay!

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Originally Posted by Fibzzz View Post
And sure enough, as I approached, the fawn spooked and bolted directly into my path. I squeezed the brakes even harder and swerved to the right, but this fawn was hell-bent on meeting me.
When faced with deer, I suggest folks dispense with the swerve and just stay on the brakes. You simply can't predict where a deer is going to jump. The time spent swerving is time better spent braking, IME.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinva View Post
When faced with deer, I suggest folks dispense with the swerve and just stay on the brakes. You simply can't predict where a deer is going to jump. The time spent swerving is time better spent braking, IME.
I agree with you. I was on the brakes the whole time, and was hoping I'd get lucky and get around her if she turned even a little bit left or right instead of heading straight into me. As you said, it's impossible to predict what they'll do. I'm just very thankful she stayed on the ground and didn't jump, or I would have had a much more serious problem!

Thanks all for the kind thoughts. I will ride on!
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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I just rode home the middle of other night 100 miles+ in some of the worst deer infested stuff my area has to offer, and kept my speed down as a result. Some ADV type lights really helped too, I was lucky and did not see any... sorry about your meet and greet with Bambi.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
My riding friends have learned when I see a deer I brake hard, and they do too. If they are smart.

Rod
+1000
I've had way too many close calls. I see deer I brake hard end of story.

Was leading a group last summer on a trip through northern MI on M-119 and at the north end saw a flash to my right and hit the binders hard (we were going maybe 30) and wouldn't you know, 4 of them shot across the road not more than 10 feet from my stopped bike.

The last two weekends I've been in the UP and northern WI and have seen a dozen+ both Sundays when I've been heading home.

Good work to the OP
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Glad to hear you survive that one, keep the deer hair and blood evidence on the bike if you have comprehensive insurance and intend to use it, they deem deer strikes an act of God and it will not affect your rates.

I'm in your area (greater NYC area) and ride Harriman occasionally and have hit 7 deer in 35+ years with motorcycles and cars - I've hit three while riding bikes and four in cars, or rather I should say I've been hit by them... it is infested around here.

One thing I have definitely learned to do, is stay off the backroads anytime before say 9am and after later afternoon/early evening... especially from Sept - Nov which is peak deer rut season. ALL my 7 deer strikes were around late summer/fall time and ALL around dawn, dusk or at night. These are nocturnal creatures and will start roaming as sun starts to set and go back into hiding as the sun rises. Also significantly high risk are calm days (no wind). You can google "deer strike statistics" and you'll see what I mean.

Used to love riding early early mornings, no traffic or cops... but unfortunately lots of deer. Deer are by far the greatest risk to my life, limb and happiness.

Deer strike season is just starting now....
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
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Did you use your horn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibzzz View Post
It's funny how life goes sometimes. Just yesterday, I wrote a long post in the "When do you call it quits?" thread, and mentioned that one of the ways I try to minimize risk is to ride early in the morning before most people are up, when the only other creatures on the road are deer.

This morning, riding my GSA in the rain at around 6am, I came around an easy left-hander in Harriman State Park to find two whitetail does and a fawn at the left edge of the road. I got on the brakes hard, just in case... And sure enough, as I approached, the fawn spooked and bolted directly into my path. I squeezed the brakes even harder and swerved to the right, but this fawn was hell-bent on meeting me. I hit her at around 15 mph with a big thud, square on the nose of the bike. She tumbled to the right side of the road. I kept control and pulled over to assess the damage. One severely cracked lower fender, tweaked beak, bent fog light, a lot of hair, and that's it. Fork lowers, discs, calipers, lines, rim, steering head all intact. And, more importantly, I was intact.

The fawn, however, was not as fortunate. I hit her square in the body, definitely breaking ribs and maybe her spine judging by the crunch. I walked back to where she was laying, she lifted her head for a few seconds, then put it back down and that was it.

The lower fender needs replacing, the beak will be fine, and the fog light bent right back into place. It will be going to the dealer for a thorough once-over just to make sure the front end is in fact OK, but it drove fine on the way home and I'm very impressed with how it took the impact. This thing truly is a tank!

I know the internet saying, "If there are no pictures it didn't happen." But I couldn't stomach taking pics of the dead fawn so you'll just have to take me at my word.

Maybe we need a new thread for 'Almost-Face Plants.' Whew.
You didn't mention if you used your horn. On the brakes and on the horn at the same time - practice it! It spooks the animal and gets it moving ASAP - if it runs across the road chances are it would have run in front of you as soon as you got closer anyway. One short blast and they look right at you from a good distance and usually head straight back into the bush.

I put an air horn on my bike and the thing is awesome for animals and unaware cars, trucks (and bikes)
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:39 AM   #11
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Deer are definitely a problem in recent years & certainly curtail my riding hours/routes.

Glad you kept it upright. FWIW in my experience having hair present helps greatly in the eyes of your insurer,should you have to file a claim.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapper View Post
One thing I have definitely learned to do, is stay off the backroads anytime before say 9am and after later afternoon/early evening... especially from Sept - Nov which is peak deer rut season.
Good advice. I grew up in Central NY in a family of deer hunters, so I'm very familiar with whitetail habits. This was the first time I've ever hit one in/on any vehicle because I go a lot slower and always cover the brake during peak deer hours. But this morning proved that sometimes they're just gonna get you no matter how "good" you think you are!

This encounter has me re-evaluating my philosophy, but I think I'd still prefer to risk a collision with a deer by riding early instead of going in late morning when the roads fill up with aggressive drivers speeding in 3000+ lb vehicles! I think we have to pick our poison. In the meantime, I'll be leaving a little later in the AM!
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:04 PM   #13
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Damn Deer!

Glad you made it out ok! Hard on the brakes seems like the best bet. The little suckers are truly unpredictable!

I f#^ing hate deer.

You can photoshop a GS into one of these pics if you need evidence to go along with the story.







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Old 08-28-2012, 12:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfgc2310 View Post
You didn't mention if you used your horn.
I honestly didn't think to use the horn in the couple seconds I had to react. I grabbed the clutch and brakes. But you're right - that's worth practicing. All three deer had ears and tails up, looking straight at me as I rounded the corner because I was the only thing making noise, so I know they saw me. But who knows? A loud blast on an air horn might have caused the fawn to break in a different direction, which would have been just fine with me!
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:11 PM   #15
Fibzzz OP
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Originally Posted by Entrepre-neer View Post
Glad you made it out ok! Hard on the brakes seems like the best bet. The little suckers are truly unpredictable!

I f#^ing hate deer.

You can photoshop a GS into one of these pics if you need evidence to go along with the story.
Wow! I am honored to get a reply from the world famous Entrepre-neer! I immediately thought of your video when it happened this morning. My encounter was a hell of a lot easier than yours! You have hero status in my household. Even my wife thinks you're a bad-ass.
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