A growing number of drivers are opting to commute from behind a set of handlebars. Many people prefer traveling on motorcycles because they use less gasoline than other modes of transportation. They also allow for more flexibility in traffic. Despite the pros regarding motorcycle ownership, there are also significant cons. One of the biggest concerns is safety. From a car’s roof to its doors, people traveling in automobiles are furnished with additional layers of protection that motorcycles just don’t have. Although many motorcycles come standard with windshields to help protect riders from the elements, no amount of protective glass will help when you hit a large object or animal in the road. Deer accidents in a car are very serious. Motorcycle deer accidents are extremely serious and often fatal.

Where and When do these Accidents Happen?

If motorcycle operators didn’t already have enough to worry about while trying to safely reach their respective destinations; animals attempting to cross the road—like deer—are frequently encountered where motorcyclists like to drive.

Motorcycle deer accidents typically happen near trails leading forested land, highways spanning the open prairie, and roads running through other rural woodlands. Yet, deer aren’t the only culprits behind motorcycle animal accidents. Depending on region, motorcyclists must also avoid other large animals: elk, moose, caribou, cattle, dogs, cats, and even alligators.

So, what times of day or year do animals like deer travel on the road? According to the Wisconsin DOT, “deer collisions peak in October-November, with a smaller peak in May-June. Such crashes between April and August are most likely to occur between 8 pm and midnight. Between November and January, 5 to 10 pm were the danger times.”

Which States Have the Most Motorcycle Deer Accidents?

If you are an avid motorcycle driver, then you may also wonder which states have the most motorcycle deer accidents. A 2005 insurance study found the ten states with the most deer hits per year are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia, Indiana , Texas and Wisconsin.

Avoiding Motorcycle Deer Accidents

Encountering deer and other animals while cruising the countryside on a motorcycle is all but inevitable. Since they present such a crash hazard for bikers around the world, finding ways to avoid these hazards should be paramount to any biker. Serious head injuries are the common denominators among motorcyclists with fatal injuries, so wearing protective gear, like helmets, can be effective in preventing a percentage of those deaths. Here are some other recommended techniques to avoid motorcycle animal accidents:

  • Deer are most active during early morning and evening hours, so you should remain on the lookout and heed deer-crossing zone signs by slowing down.
  • If you spot a deer, or any other animals near the road, reduce your speed and blow the horn on your motorcycle to keep them out of your path of travel.
  • Remember that if you spot one deer then there are probably others looming nearby.
  • Since deer basically become blinded or “frozen” by the headlights of passing cars, they will typically stand still directly in your path, so be prepared to brake firmly and swerve if necessary to avoid contact on a motorcycle. Another useful strategy includes flashing your headlights to break the deer’s trance.
  • Groups of motorcyclists are encouraged to spread out to reduce the risk of multiple people going down from a single biker striking an animal.
  • Watch for any temporary voids in oncoming headlights, as this can indicate animals crossing the road ahead of you.

What to Do When You Hit a Deer on Your Motorcycle

In the unfortunate event that you are unable to avoid hitting the deer, here are the first steps you can take to help minimize further injuries to yourself and others:

  1. Assess your own injuries, and apply pressure to any wounds.
  2. Get yourself and any others involved in the accident to a safe place away from the road
  3. Remove the bike from the road
  4. Call for help
  5. Avoid any contact with the injured animal

Exploring Legal Options

One of the most common questions posed by bikers involved in motorcycle animal accidents is whether or not they qualify for compensation for their injuries. Even though there are instances that involve wild animals causing accidents without negligence; there are also times when motorcyclists are hurt by animals that are not properly restrained. It’s certainly not uncommon for a homeowner to be held liable for an accident caused by their pet that is not kept on a leash. Likewise, some farmers have also been found negligent in a court of law when people collided with their cattle that escaped onto public roadways. Some passengers also might have legal cases against those drivers in accidents who were speeding through animal crossing zones.