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Thread: Deer Strike: To swerve or not to swerve

  1. #46
    angysdad
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    I sold my GS last year. The buyer, who lives in the city, told me me he takes an annual trip to the Adirondacs to see and commune with deer. He waxed poetically about the critters. He went on to say that anyone who could look at a deer and not be moved spiritually has no soul.
    I listened politely, then added...you live in the city. You travel to see deer. I see them almost daily. When I do, I'm frequently doing 40-50mph, in a curve, and they are on the side/middle of the road waiting to kill/injure me. I dislike deer, unless I'm sitting out back, by the stream, watching mom and her doe stroll by. In that case, I may be moved spiritually
    Ride smart.

  2. #47
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    We have so many around us that were I to "get spiritual" around them , this place would turn into a monastery! They eat our plants @ the house(much is protected by a elec fence and they try for my garden(also has a elec fence) and are everywhere on our roads. They are at their worst in the late winter(while we are down south,etc., and have eaten many rhododendrens and azaleas in the past-$$$$$! No, I don't like them;in my yard,on my farm ,near my garden or on my roads. Yep, there a beautiful animal but the supply far exceeds my need for them. End of rant...

  3. #48
    Rally Rat
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    This is usually an annual event.

    Whenever I encounter a deer, they act differently each time. I react the same way every time. My eyes and mouth open wide, I hit both brakes, miss the deer and get religion.

  4. #49
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    I had a friend who was killed by a deer, driving a pick up, wearing a seat belt, going the speed limit, and not drinking.

    Wild life is beautiful... but is sacred...





    Quote Originally Posted by angysdad View Post
    I sold my GS last year. The buyer, who lives in the city, told me me he takes an annual trip to the Adirondacs to see and commune with deer. He waxed poetically about the critters. He went on to say that anyone who could look at a deer and not be moved spiritually has no soul.
    I listened politely, then added...you live in the city. You travel to see deer. I see them almost daily. When I do, I'm frequently doing 40-50mph, in a curve, and they are on the side/middle of the road waiting to kill/injure me. I dislike deer, unless I'm sitting out back, by the stream, watching mom and her doe stroll by. In that case, I may be moved spiritually
    Ride smart.

  5. #50
    rocketman
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    every time I see this post pop up in the search box I stop and think, is there ANY time when I would choose to hit something rather than avoid it? and the answer is always the same..... NO, avoiding hitting something (or trying to at least) would, in my mind, be preferable to hitting something, one method (avoidance) at least gives you a change of coming thru the event without an accident, the other, well it seems to me, pretty much ensures you won't.

    "I'm going to aim for something in the hopes it moves before I hit it" just doesn't seem like a very wise course to choose.....

    RM

  6. #51
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketman View Post
    every time I see this post pop up in the search box I stop and think, is there ANY time when I would choose to hit something rather than avoid it? and the answer is always the same..... NO, avoiding hitting something (or trying to at least) would, in my mind, be preferable to hitting something, one method (avoidance) at least gives you a change of coming thru the event without an accident, the other, well it seems to me, pretty much ensures you won't.

    "I'm going to aim for something in the hopes it moves before I hit it" just doesn't seem like a very wise course to choose.....

    RM
    Avoiding or reducing the energy of a collison is still best.

    Here's one for you: Just finished teachng a BRC class yesterday at Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI), and one 'experienced' rider advocated for speeding up when you see a deer and aiming for its mid-section, as " you will slice right thru it."

    He wasn't joking.

    I learn something new every day - just don't always believe what I learn.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  7. #52
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    There have been folk tales about motorcycles slicing deer in half, some repeated in major motorcycle magazines. In one of those, I seem to recall that the deer sliced in half was a fawn.

    I suppose this falls into the "sucker born every minute" category. Riders who don't understand the concept of getting out of the way might eagerly embrace some tactic they believe is proactive, especially if it involves rolling on the gas.

    Unfortunately for anyone who falls for this "slice em" tactic, impact forces are a function of mass and impact speed. If a bird can take out the engine on an airplane moving at 200 mph, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that a 150-200 lb deer could take out the somewhat fragile front end of a bike?

    Well, as it happens, the human brain has a characteristic of clinging to thoughts once decided. We just don't want to let go of something once we've decided it has merit. So, the "experienced rider" who has decided there is merit in speeding up for deer will not easily be convinced that's a bad idea. And even less easily convinced if he's read it on the Internet somewhere, because if it's posted on the net it must be true.

    Out west we have wild animals larger than fawns waltzing around. You're not jolly likely to survive a direct impact with an elk, moose, antelope, or bear, and even an armadillo or porcupine can lever a bike off it's tires.

    pmdave

  8. #53
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    I teach various car stuff. Sometimes on tracks, sometimes to newbie drivers on basic manuevering skills and making choices (one of the course uses a skid car). For one of the newbie course, parents are required to attend the classroom part and participate in some of the in car simulations as well so they can reinforce stay alive behaviors to kids who always think they're invulnerable. BTW, in that course it is not rare to see folks under 20 who've already had more than 3 accidents- I can remember as high as 7 but that's probably not the record. These folks are out there with you when you're riding!

    In all types of stuff we cover two basic ideas
    1) Never give up. Until the vehicle comes to a stop, you can exert control to minimize potential damage and injury.
    2) Anything that lowers impact g's is the best choice (eg never choose anything that could result in a head on or hitting an immoveable object). Bambi is a lot softer hit than a 2 ft thick oak tree but adding speed before you hit anything is just plain dumb.

    The number of folks who scream, take hands off the wheel, head for a ditch or a potentially occupied left lane, lock up the wheels and let it slide into something when steering around would be easy is amazing. No doubt our traffic officers see the results of this behavior every day. We need video games with tasers in the controls when a crash occurs so they learn better habits before they own a vehicle.....

  9. #54
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    There are in fact a few situations where aiming at something in your path (while slowing at max rate) is the correct choice. Here's an example that shows why that's true- from my own track time.

    Problem - Approaching Turn 4 on the Roebling Road track outside Savannah, GA. A Porsche loses it and goes sliding sideways in front of me on down the middle of the pavement at triple digit speed. On the track, there is of course no chance of coming to a stop before a possible impact- we're way too close for that possibility to even enter the picture. Eventually, his tires are going to hook up again and he'll slide either right or left but right now I can't tell which and if I guess wrong its going to be VERY unpleasant (even with all the protective stuff in a track car, those hits really register)

    Solution- gunsight (aim directly at) the Porsches door while getting on my brakes hard. Max deceleration buys time so I can tell which way he's going to slide when his tires hook up again. Delays the R or L decision I'll eventually have to make as long as possible. When I saw he was going to slid left, I juked right and missed him cleanly by under a foot. I probably had about a 60 mph speed differential when I went by his bumper. Had I just guessed and reacted immediately there was a 50/50 chance of a big hit and if I'd guessed wrong, a 100% chance. The speed diff was big enough that mangled cars were a certainty and injury was possible if a hit happened. The "gunsight" choice that bought time maximized my chance to see what was going to develop and then make the right choice for everyone in all vehicles (including others on the track nearby) to escape with no bent metal or injuries.

    Its pretty easy to see how you might apply the above on a bike with a deer in the road and no stopping distance, if you have the skills to do so, though a bike cannot generate the turning force of a car on track tires so the maneuver would not be as abrupt. As always, the proper choice is very dependent on the rider and the precise situation at hand.

    Accident avoidance is often a synthesis of mixed skills (brakes, steering, throttle at correct rate and timing) and judgement that is mastered only by a lot of practice or experience. Rules of thumb help but aren't always optimal answers. Courses that simulate this stuff typically set up things that require exercising the mix. In the real world, there is no time for analysis- the response has to be both reflexively fast and optimal- that's not an easy level to achieve or execute every time. But plenty of practice sure helps push the odds toward your side as much as the situation allows.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    I teach various car stuff. Sometimes on tracks, sometimes to newbie drivers on basic manuevering skills and making choices (one of the course uses a skid car).

    The number of folks who scream, take hands off the wheel, head for a ditch or a potentially occupied left lane, lock up the wheels and let it slide into something when steering around would be easy is amazing. No doubt our traffic officers see the results of this behavior every day. We need video games with tasers in the controls when a crash occurs so they learn better habits before they own a vehicle.....
    We have all sorts of exotic, high-rez games available, but very few of them provide training in real world skills or judgment. If it's not obvious, young people today learn at an early age to avoid learning (in school or at home) But their computer games are teaching them all the time. It seems to me that we're wasting a tremendous resource. Wouldn't it be clever to have a computer game centered around real world driving/riding, where "winning" would be to survive a succession of street hazards?

    It would be best if the "game" were hyped as a game, not as training. The player would not realize that it's a learning experience. But it would better prepare anyone for driving/riding in the real world. And, it's a lot less costly and injurious if the "player" crashes a video game than a real vehicle.

    pmdave

  11. #56
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angysdad View Post
    I sold my GS last year. The buyer, who lives in the city, told me me he takes an annual trip to the Adirondacs to see and commune with deer. He waxed poetically about the critters. He went on to say that anyone who could look at a deer and not be moved spiritually has no soul.
    I listened politely, then added...you live in the city. You travel to see deer. I see them almost daily. When I do, I'm frequently doing 40-50mph, in a curve, and they are on the side/middle of the road waiting to kill/injure me. I dislike deer, unless I'm sitting out back, by the stream, watching mom and her doe stroll by. In that case, I may be moved spiritually
    Ride smart.
    I'm with you on this one. A hunting and riding buddy lives in the boonies of Vermont (is that redundant?) About 10-15 years ago a piece of land we used to hunt on was purchased by a New York city based restaurateur and his wife. They built a beautiful house and barn for her horses. The land was promptly posted.

    A year or two later, the wife mentioned to my buddy that it would be OK if we hunted deer on their land.

    A year later, during hunting season, my buddy and I were walking down the road carrying hunting rifles when a Range Rover carrying the very well dressed Mrs. Restaurateur pulled up next to us. This very sophisticated lady rolled down the driver's side window and said "Fred (not his real name), I want you to shoot every f***ing deer on my property". It seems that Mrs. Restaurateur had completed the transition from New Yorker to Vermonter.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  12. #57
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    I have had a couple of near encounters with deer while motorcycling. Both were in broad daylight on interstate highways. Both deer were walking towards the road, looking directly at me. I slowed down and, while trying to figure out what the deer was going to do, nailed my horn. In both cases, the deer made a 180 and went back the way they came. I dunno if this is a generally good tactic or not, but deer do seem to get brain dead near roads. They also don't regard cars as a threat (ask any of the rural guys who do their hunting from a pickup truck).

    I have also seen deer stop dead along the edge of a road hypnotized by a car's headlights. In a majority of instances, as soon as the cone of the lights were past the deer, they bolted in whatever direction they were pointed. If you see deer ahead, you really want to avoid crossing in front of them even it they appear to be motionless.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  13. #58
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anyname View Post
    I have had a couple of near encounters with deer while motorcycling. Both were in broad daylight on interstate highways. Both deer were walking towards the road, looking directly at me. I slowed down and, while trying to figure out what the deer was going to do, nailed my horn. In both cases, the deer made a 180 and went back the way they came. I dunno if this is a generally good tactic or not, but deer do seem to get brain dead near roads. They also don't regard cars as a threat (ask any of the rural guys who do their hunting from a pickup truck).

    I have also seen deer stop dead along the edge of a road hypnotized by a car's headlights. In a majority of instances, as soon as the cone of the lights were past the deer, they bolted in whatever direction they were pointed. If you see deer ahead, you really want to avoid crossing in front of them even it they appear to be motionless.
    I too have had daytime deer encounters, though the 'dusk and dawn' times are still more reliable.

    Often when a road intersects a stream or river, deer will be nearby and seem to be considering crossing my path. A loud blast of the horn (blessed with an early-model '05 R1200RT, with a 'locomotive-quality' device!) has always sent them running in the opposite direction - a tactic I remember to use when appropriate.
    Last edited by Greenwald; 09-21-2010 at 01:15 PM.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  14. #59
    Rally Rat nytrashman's Avatar
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    i know if it was me and and deer strike was inevitable i would not try to swerve but instead i would keep the bike in a straight line and be hard on the brakes. if i'm gonna hit something, be it a deer or a car, i want to be going as slow as possible. i'd rather hit a deer at 20mph and hard on the brakes then to swerve and hit it at 30 mph.

  15. #60
    chaconja
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    A fellow co-worker just hit a deer while him and his wife were riding on his D/S(V-Strom) on the VA/NC. He hit a full grown buck going 40MPH and both he and his wife "superman-ed" off the right side of the bike.

    The bike is totaled. His story brought us to the topic of deer whistles. Anybody know if these work on motorcycles?

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