Monday, October 7, 2013

Start Seeing Deer

A co-worker recently told me of a great ride he had last week along the St. Croix river while admiring the fall colors and enjoying the crisp fall air. He said:

“The ride was amazing, but the last 10 miles home were terrifying! There were dozens of deer right at the edge of the road and in the middle of the road. I had to ride at 30mph to avoid hitting them. It was scary.”

I have a similar experience on my return trip from Indianapolis with the deer right on the edge of I-94. I slowed way down to give my headlight a chance to see them. I even saw a deer in the city on my way to work last week. A motorcycle rarely wins with a deer.

Our state safety coordinator sent out this infographic, and I thought it was timely and worth a share. It’s the motorcycle-deer crash stats for ‘91-‘12:

motorcycle-deer crash stats for ‘91-‘12.

They also had some safety tips to share for both motorcycles and cars.

Motorcyclist Safety Tips:

  • Avoid night and low-light riding periods (dusk and dawn) when deer are more active.
  • When encountering deer, use both brakes to stop. If riders cannot stop in time, swerve carefully and slowly around the deer if there is space.
  • If a collision cannot be avoided, keep head and eyes up to improve chances of keeping the bike up.
  • Wear protective gear, especially a DOT-approved helmet.

Motorist Safety Tips:

  • Buckle up, drive at safe speeds and pay attention — be especially cautious during dusk and dawn when deer are more active.
  • Don’t veer for deer — swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic. Bringing a vehicle to a controlled stop and hitting a deer is safer than swerving.

Ride safe!


  1. Quote of the day! "A motorcycle rarely wins with a deer."

    Excellent info; thanks for posting it.

  2. Are there more deer out this year than previous years? The number of fatal crashes seems much higher. Or are there other factors involved?

    Thanks for sharing the info graphic. We don't have deer but do have other hazards...

    1. I don't think there are more deer than previous years based on this chart: it doesn't have current year. it just seems the crashes are more deadly. motorcycles fatalities are up in general in MN this year as well which is disappointing.

      yes, you have other giant hazards that stand in the middle of the road and lick it...

  3. A timely reminder Chris. I had three deer cross my path in the fog on the way to coffee Saturday morning. The percentage in those statistics is not a good sign.

    A local rider in Albany was on his Versys and met with a deer Friday morning and is in the hospital. Ouch.

    1. The deer are trouble. I'm glad you had an incident free ride.

      Too bad about the guy from Albany, and glad he is in the hospital instead of the morgue.

      I did hear about a guy on a goldwing that hit a deer and didn't crash. he just broke his windscreen and mirror. i also met another rider who swerved to avoid the deer, and then lost control and crashed. he spent a month in the hospital. ouch is right.