6 Motorcycle Safety Tips for Deer Season
Fall means cooler days, beautiful leaves and time with family. But it’s also mating and migration season for deer. Because bucks are roaming this time of year, deer are more likely to cross the path of your motorcycle than any other season. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, you are three-and-a-half times more likely to hit a deer in November than August, though rates of deer collisions can vary state to state.
Since deer collisions pose a risk to motorcycle riders, as well as car drivers, consider the following tips to help you stay safe on your motorcycle during deer season:
1. Keep Your Eyes Open in the Early Evening
Deer typically move around most during dusk and dawn, according to the Quality Deer Management Association, and early evening is when most deer-related vehicle and motorcycle crashes occur, says the Insurance Information Institute. During deer season, when the sky is dark or the sun is low, make sure to keep a look out for deer.
2. If You See a Deer, Look for Its Friends
Because deer typically travel in herds, if you see a single deer during your ride, slow down and use extra caution. There are most likely many more deer in the area that you don’t see. Keep a look out for white tails and animal eyes both in and near the road.
3. Wear Your Helmet
While not required in all states, a helmet can be an important part of your riding gear, especially during deer season. To make sure your helmet offers proper protection, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests riders inspect each of the four major components of a motorcycle helmet: the outer shell, impact-absorbing liner, comfort padding, and retention system (also known as the chin strap). Look for a comfortable, snug fit, and make sure the helmet sports a DOT sticker, signifying the helmet meets the safety standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
4. Do Not Swerve If a Collision is Unavoidable
Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine recommends that if you come upon a deer during a ride, don’t swerve to try to miss the deer because it is important for your motorcycle to be stabilized in case you hit the animal. The magazine suggests braking hard up until your potential collision with the animal.
5. Select a Bike with Antilock Brakes
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) can help you maintain better control of your vehicle when trying to stop quickly, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The III says ABS prevent a motorcycle’s wheels from locking up in a hard brake, which could mean a serious fall. So if you’re in the market, consider buying a bike that has ABS and utilize it.
6. Spread Out If Riding in a Group
While it’s always good riding practice to spread out during group rides, this is especially important if you are riding in the early evening during the last three months of the year. Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine says that this can help prevent one rider from taking down other motorcycle riders in the group if a collision occurs.
Taking a few extra minutes to practice safe riding during deer season can help keep both you and your bike safe.