Night time country commuting

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by LarryRickenbacker, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    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.
    #21
  2. Wentwest

    Wentwest How's that work?

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    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.
    #22
  3. Scott_F

    Scott_F Been here awhile

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    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
    #23
  4. Miles=smiles

    Miles=smiles n00b

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    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.
    #24
  5. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    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.
    #25
  6. Paul Mihalka

    Paul Mihalka Old Fart

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    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.
    #26
  7. sendler

    sendler Been here awhile

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    I hit a dog on my PCX scooter[​IMG]
    .
    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.
    #27
  8. LarryRickenbacker

    LarryRickenbacker Been here awhile

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    Howdy,

    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.
    #28
  9. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    ♘ ④⓪②⓪⑤ &#9816
    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 . . .
    #29
  10. max57

    max57 Adventurer

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    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.
    #30
  11. thunderkat59

    thunderkat59 Cooter on a scooter

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    When I lived in Vermont, I was in Proctor and had to got to Manchester every day. It was a backroad route for a lot of the way, and I got used to chickens, cows and other assorted wildlife just hanging out on certain roads. DR650 with knobs handled it well :thumb

    Riding a Heinkel through Vermont . . . Just cant get any better than that :beer
    #31
  12. Growl

    Growl Adventurer

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    I've been doing it for years. Upgrade your lights certainly. The main protection from deer is to ride slowly. Hopefully the route you are thinking of allows that. My theory is that deer are able to process objects moving up to maybe 35 mph but get confused by objects moving faster... But even so might do unpredictable like things jump in your path... But at 35 mph or less you can react and evade.
    #32
  13. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I don't know that I agree with that.

    The one time I hit a deer with my car, I had gotten it down to 25 mph. I saw the deer at a distance and laid on the brakes...the deer decided to run with me; ran alongside the car. Then decided to bolt in front; I nailed his skull at an angle with my right headlight. All this happened at less than 30 mph; I was under 25 when I hit.

    It being a new, light tinfoil car, I peeled the fender back and tore up the plastic fascia on the bumper. I'm sure the deer was killed, but it being pitch-black in the country, there was no point in stopping until I got to a crossroads with lights.

    That said...I agree; reduced speed is key to surviving. Slower speed buys you everything; time to react; lesser force on impact; less impact and shock if you go down.

    I remember hitting a gopher on the head with my 400 Burgman, right on the surround to the radiator. The force, along with the evasive move, nearly brought me down.
    #33
  14. larrylarry75

    larrylarry75 Aye Chihuahua

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    There's a ton of good advice being given out here, I wish I had time to read it all but sadly I don't. One of the guys mentioned the Hornet electronic deer warning device. I've got one and I agree with him, they seem to work as the manufacturer states. For fifty bucks or thereabouts it's a nice little bit of insurance. As proof consider the story about the guy who always wore yellow pants to ward off tiger attacks....he was never attacked while wearing them. Just sayin'

    The other thing I think worth mentioning has been touched on a little but here's another way you could look at it: Since you're only riding 23 miles you could dial your speed way back to say, somewhere around 35 - 40 mph and it still wouldn't take you much longer to make the trip. The idea is by doing so your avoidance reaction time would be greatly improved. If there's a downside it might be the cages overtaking you by a huge amount and that could spell trouble. Improved visibility - lighting, reflective gear, etc - would help negate that a lot but it never goes away completely.

    The truck would cost more to operate but of course it would be the safest, that's a no-brainer. The difference in operating costs might be worth it though, so think carefully about this one and good luck.

    LL75
    #34