U.S. Deer Collisions By State

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Trash, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    deer collisions001.jpg I thought it might be beneficial to those of you who travel to and through the States to have a sense of where the greatest risk of encountering deer may occur. The attached map shows the most recent collision data, compiled by State Farm Insurance, the largest vehicle insurer in the U.S. There might be some surprises.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  2. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Wow, very sobering. WI is well up on the list. $5.6 BILLION in losses is not hard to imagine considering the cost of a potential injuries to one person.

    I don't mind saying I've taken to wearing an air bag vest on long trips. Not much to them to wear but if it can save me a surgery then it could very well save my life these days.
     
  3. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    I guess the biggest surprise to me was Colorado. I had always heard that they were near the top of the list, and was surprised that they aren’t even close. On the other hand, Iowa was surprisingly higher than Wisconsin. Must be all that easily accessible corn!
     
  4. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Sobering for sure... very hard to avoid wildlife which breaks cover and crosses the road in full flight. :(
     
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  5. Jim C-G

    Jim C-G Active Member

    Deer are the one animal that scare me the most. Too many of them and they are just so skittish and unpredictable. Saw far too many of them as roadkill on my recent trip thru the states. I know we talk about and complain about our moose but I am very glad deer were never introduced to the island.
     
  6. RossKean

    RossKean Active Member

    Interesting statistics and a bit misleading. Note that the rate for New York state is about one quarter that of Virginia. Given that the population is ten times higher, that would mean that there are 2.5 times as many hits in NY. OK, but what are the odds? I bet that the vast majority of driver miles are in the coastal urban regions of the state (high population centers) where the deer populations are much lower. I suspect that it translates to a higher hit ratio (even compared to West Virginia) in the upstate regions. The same argument applies to any state where there are regions of dense human populations (and low deer numbers) and large rural or wooded regions where the deer-to-driver ratios are higher.

    All said, the risks are pretty high in some areas and the map may be useful to estimate personal risk. In the end, it doesn't matter what the risk might be, if you are on a motorcycle and hit a forest rat, it will ruin your whole day.
     
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  7. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    A wise motorcyclist once gave me good advice with respect to riding in deer country which I have found to be true during trips on the mainland in the last few years. Deer are frequently travelling around in groups (herds?). Often there will be one deer that will break out of the bush by the road and cross in front of you. You will see him in time and he might now be on the left hand shoulder out of the way looking at you. Call this one the "Scout". He crossed the road somewhat cautiously and made it to the other side and now commands your attention. What you won't see are his three buddies bolting from concealment on the right to follow the forward Scout who has determined that crossing the road is "safe". These guys follow the Scout blindly. The advice in the article is good... off the throttle and slow wayyy down and avoid a swerve, if you can. Unfortunately, many of the nice twisty more rural roads that make motorcycling fun also means trees and brush right down to the shoulder and you just don't have a chance. Minimize the risk and wear good gear. The choice is your own.
     
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  8. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    While on the topic, I learned of a good tip for moose. If you must swerve to avoid, always aim for the back end of the moose. In this situation, the moose will like move forward.
     
  9. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    I don’t know much about avoiding moose, but my personal experiences (three deer collisions) have taught me never to swerve to avoid hitting an animal. As unpleasant as such an encounter can be, it will certainly be less perilous than running into a mature tree along the road. My suspicion is if you hit any large animal while swerving, you will most likely be catapulted off the road and into who knows what. Plus, in my one and only motorcycle-deer collision, I saw it come flying out of the woods in full stride less than a second before it hit me.
    From that experience I heartily agree with some of the other previous responses suggesting that if it’s your turn, all you can do is make sure you are wearing the proper gear.
     
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    Swerving with a good chance of hitting nothing vs hitting a 1000lb moose straight on......I’m swerving!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  11. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    I hope you never find yourself in such a position you have to decide.
     
  12. murph

    murph Well-Known Member

    Methinks the movement would be instinctual. I have had close calls with moose (and cars etc) and in the split second that you have the knee jerk reaction is less about planning and more about instinct.
     
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  13. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    The problem is that instinctual reaction may be the incorrect one. Example: riding the dirt on the Trans-Lab at the speed limit and encountering loose gravel. Bike gets squirrely and instinct tells you to brake when in fact your throttle hand must disconnect from your brain and increase speed.
     
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  14. Jim C-G

    Jim C-G Active Member

    Instinct is tough to counteract in those split seconds we usually have in a dangerous situation especially when there is an animal concerned with it's own instincts. Race car drivers always say to steer towards the accident as it will move past that point (usually) by the time you get there. Unfortunately deer and other critters don't just follow Newton's Laws (a body in motion stays in motion) and defy them like a UFO making 90 degrees turns at 30,000 ft.. My first old motorcycle mentor told me that my throttle will get you out of trouble more times than your brakes. It has. Yet, my brakes have saved my ass more than a few times too. I have stopped within 15 ft. of a cow moose that just was not going to move off the road. She stared me down for a couple of minutes before remembering the grass was greener at the side of the road. I have gone through a herd of deer in the middle of a summer's night (I was young and foolish) in Nova Scotia... somehow I weaved thru a dozen to 20 deer. I was on an old BMW R75/5 with a headlight that really was no better than a flashlight. Thank god for our headlights and running lights now. I remember having the head of one deer pass by so close that I could smell it's breath. They were feasting on ripening corn. There was nothing but instinct and reaction in this encounter and to this day I don't know how I missed them. I have passed moose at the side of the road far too many times only seeing them out of the corner of my eye as I was passing. You can never daydream... or especially duskdream.
    Personal Observation:
    1. moose tend to go forward, deer and squirrels do not.
    2. raccoons and porcupines can be pretty solid even when they are already road kill
    3. skunks linger for days even though you have had nothing to do with them
    4. cats seem to physically pass thru a motorcycle and come out the other side unscathed
    5. dogs just like to play chicken with bikes
    6. pheasants become a small cloud of gently wafting feathers in your rear view mirror
     
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  15. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    I agree with you Jim. Best way to overcome instinct is training and practice in my opinion. I have come to appreciate a moto with excellent brakes.
     
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  16. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    An excellent point!
    The only way to influence what your instincts will tell you to do is to practice panic maneuvers.
    It took me too many years of riding before I committed myself to becoming proficient at it.
    These days I make sure that I regularly practice slow speed decreasing radius turns, balance exercises, panic stopping, riding in rain, and counter steering, especially early each year after the Winter layoff. And, oddly enough, the more I push myself to become more proficient, the more I enjoy riding.
     
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  17. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    The concept of "muscle memory" comes to mind. Here's some info I read recently.

    By periodically practicing good riding techniques, you develop "muscle memory" which means when something unexpected occurs, your brain automatically tells your body what to do. There is no thinking of what to do. It's an automatic response. When confronted with a panic situation, you will always revert to your habits, which develop through constant repetition or training. This is why the military and first responders train constantly. Motorcyclists should do the same.

    When it comes to riding a motorcycle, the concept of "Use it or lose it" applies. When you stop riding for a few weeks, the "muscle memory" starts to deteriorate which is why taking a yearly refresher course is so important after a winter layoff or any layoff to help re-develop the "muscle memory" needed.
     
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  18. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Totally agree with all forms of training, with braking and counter steering being the most applicable in avoiding or minimizing wildlife impact.
    I was once told training was the counter intuitive as it's not something most folks would do, i.e., sky diving, high diving, killing other people etc.
    For any counter intuitive activity, consider the education-training-practice continuum and make sure you have a solid grounding in each phase before moving on to the next.

    And... beware of what I call "cross training contamination" because I really don't know what else to call it. For example, as noted above, good training becomes instinctual and reactions happen in milliseconds. For example you come upon an unexpected sharp left hand corner in a car and you'll whip your right arm up/left arm down on the steering wheel to avoid going off the road. Try the same thing on a motorcycle and the bike will straighten up and leave the road on the corner. Same setting, same instinctual response is a life saver in one vehicle and is lethal on the other.

    So, as also implied above, most of us have passed through the education and training phases and need to be diligent in our practice. Most simple muscle motor responses such as catching a ball need a minimum of 2500 successful repetitions to become 'learned'.

    I try to 'practice' enough to survive todays traffic, I even try to anticipate 'texters', but I'm often left in doubt. Just sayin':(
     
  19. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    Just to put the size of our Wisconsin deer population in perspective, the nine day gun deer hunting season just ended last weekend. The State reported that there were 211,430 deer harvested this year. In NINE DAYS.

    Add another 80,000 deer harvested during the Archery and Crossbow Seasons that were before gun deer.

    The report is not yet in for the Muzzle Loader Season that ends this weekend.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  20. keith

    keith Active Member

    Is that sustainable?
     

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