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  • Glynn

A Deer Miss

Updated: Mar 16

There are the best of times, and then there are the worst of times!

And then there are the bloody lucky times!

Now... I've been involved in a few scrapes when it comes to motorcycling, and some have not turned out so favourably. And as any motorcyclist knows, the ones you get away with are usually the ones forgotten! The video above was shot on my helmet cam while out riding with a friend on a ride through Kyoto prefecture.

There are many points of view and words of advice on how you should ride through deer country and a lot of them should be taken with a pinch of salt. The one particular problem with this near miss was that eyeballing the deer was done in the last few seconds, and so there was no time for evasive action. I just held my line and prepared for impact.

Preparation involved keeping loose on the bike and preparing to stay loose off the bike, trying to roll, to reduce the chances of broken limbs. All this and hoping you stay on your side of the road. Lots to think about while your buttocks are clenched! (Buttocks never listen to advice).

While in Northern California, I experienced a few near misses there, too. One deer actually jumping over me between two fields while I was riding along a very narrow trail. So riding in deer territory comes with its hazards, but if you are in these areas, then you'll also be enjoying wonderful scenery and good country air, with hopefully the occasional view of some deer in the fields and woods and not making a B line for you!

Some advice below could help with the above situation if it were to arise:

  • Deer travel in groups. One deer means there are probably more, so even if the one you see is off the road and going away, slow way down immediately.

  • Heed deer-crossing signs, particularly in the seasons of Spring and Autumn (during breeding and migration) and times of day such as dawn and dusk, when deer are active. Slow down, use your high beam, and cover the brakes.

  • Additional good, powerful driving lights are worth their weight in gold on a deserted road at night. Alternatively, fit a bulb with a 100-watt high-beam.

  • Noise: Using your horn, revving your engine, etc. may drive deer away.

  • Flashing your headlights may break the spell that seems to cause deer to freeze.

  • Deer and other wild animals are designed to be hard to see. Aside from the flickering white tail of some species or reflection from an eye, they simply disappear. However, this absence of reflected light can also tip you off. A “hole” in a white fence or wall or “missing” roadside reflectors at night might be an animal. A reflector that “blinks” might also show an animal passing between you and it.

  • Don’t challenge large animals by approaching them. A large deer might attack to drive you off. Stay away and consider turning and riding farther away.

  • If an animal has been injured, stay away. It may attack or injure you unintentionally if it comes to and tries to escape.

  • If a collision appears imminent, do not swerve. Braking hard right up to the point of impact is good, but you want to be stabilised if you collide, which will give you the greatest chance of remaining upright.

  • If riding in a group, spread out. This will keep one rider who hits a deer from taking other riders down with him.

  • Wear protective gear. As with other crashes, no one plans to hit an animal. The only way to be ready when it happens is to be ready on every ride. One rider had a deer leaping over him and catching him hard enough with a hoof to leave a significant gouge in the side of his helmet and wrench his neck a bit. That rider was very pleased he was wearing a good helmet. A collision with a deer that leaves you lying injured or unconscious in the road is also one of those occasions when you will appreciate reflective material on your gear.

Either way, being aware of your surroundings and with some idea on how to react is helpful in reducing the chances of being hit. Having a Homer impression standing by also helps in reducing the drama of the situation.

No Deer (thankfully)... or Humans... were harmed during the making of this video!


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Mar 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Glad you’re okay

Happy belated Birthday 🎉

From Edd and Renee


Mar 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great reaction and commentary 👌

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