Motorcycle Accidents

How to Avoid Motorcycle Collisions with Critters

How to Avoid Motorcycle Collisions with Critters

Motorcycle accidents involving critters are pretty common. When a car hits an animal on the road, the driver is protected by safety features like a seat belt and an airbag. On the other hand, there's no such protection for motorcycle riders. According to a study, almost 70% of crashes involving deer and bikers result in injury or death.

This article will discuss how to avoid collisions with critters when riding your motorcycle.

1. Critters Often Involved with Motorcycle Crashes

How to Avoid Motorcycle Collisions with Critters

1.1 Deers

Deers are responsible for the majority of animal-related motorcycle crashes in the U.S. According to a study, in the late 1970s, crashes involving deer made up about 5% of all vehicle accidents. If a rider hits a deer, the rider is thrown off, resulting in serious injuries or death.

1.2 Dog

Dogs often wander onto roads or try to chase bikes. Different people have different approaches when it comes to handling dogs while riding. Some keep going and adjust speed to confuse a chasing dog, while others stop and stare at the dog. The best course of action depends on the individual rider.

1.3 Reptiles

When you see a snake on the road, never assume that it’s dead. Many riders make the mistake of using their shoes to try and move the snake out of their way, only for the snake to suddenly strike at them. If you spot a snake on the road, go a different way or give it a wide berth.

1.4 Wild Carnivores

When off-roading or passing through a jungle area, you may accidentally come across wild carnivores like wolves, coyotes, foxes, feral dogs, and bears. Though these animals generally avoid humans, if you encounter them, try to keep your distance and give yourself space to maneuver.

1.5 Farm Animals

When traveling on rural roads, it is not uncommon to see sheep, cows, and other farm animals crossing or standing in the middle of the road. It’s best to slow down and wait until the animals have cleared the way.

1.6 Insects

A spider or bee can fly into a rider’s face and get inside the helmet visor, although this doesn’t happen often. In this situation, it is important to maintain control and stay calm. Wear a visor or safety goggles to keep insects from flying into your eyes.

1.7 Small Animals

Small animals like skunks, rabbits, squirrels, possums, raccoons, beavers, otters, cats, moles, or rodents may suddenly cross the road without warning. Because they can be difficult to spot and may not be able to move quickly, it is important to be vigilant in case you need to react.

1.8 Birds

Low-flying birds can occasionally fly into motorcycle riders without warning. Since they are often flying towards you quickly and can be difficult to spot at a distance, the best you can do is wear proper safety gear to avoid injury and be ready to maneuver your bike.

2. How to Avoid Motorcycle Crashes with Critters

2.1 Go Slower in Dangerous Areas

If you are riding in a familiar area for a long time, you may recognize spots where critters jump out and cross the road. Some roads also have signs or boards indicating animals in the area to keep an eye out for.

Slow down where there are more chances of animals jumping into the road and causing a crash. When you’re going slow, it will be easier to see the animals and you’ll also have more reaction time.

2.2 Improve Visibility

The great thing about motorcycles is that you can customize them according to your needs. To improve visibility, you can install auxiliary lamps on your motorcycle to light up a wider front periphery. This will better illuminate the road at night and make it easier to see animals approaching along the sides of the road.

2.3 Don’t Swerve

Many riders make the mistake of swerving to avoid the animal. This can cause you to lose control, collide with another vehicle in the adjacent lane, or crash onto the sides of the road which can result in severe injuries. It is best to slow down and let the critter finish crossing the road before you continue.

2.4 Avoid Trying to Push Critters Out of the Way

Don’t try to intimidate animals or use your vehicle to push them out of the way. This could cause the animal to panic and run into your bike or another vehicle, or it may cause the animal to become aggressive and attack you.

2.5 Be Aware During Times When Critters are Most Active

Determining when animals are active depends on the time of day and season. Taking time to research the pattern of when critters are most active in areas you travel through may help you exercise more caution during hours most wildlife is active. For example, deers are more active during the morning and evening. If you plan to ride your bike at these times, go slowly and carefully.

3. Most Common Motorcycle Accidents Involving Critters

According to different studies, most motorcycle accidents involving critters are due to deer. In 2012, there were approximately more than one million motorcycle crashes due to deer in America.   

They are crash hazards for motorcyclists around the world, it should be paramount for all motorcyclists to find ways to avoid these hazards.

3.1 How to Avoid Crashing into Deer

  • Deers commonly travel in groups; if you spot one, there are likely more nearby. So slow down immediately even if you see only one deer crossing the road.
  • Deers are most active during dusk and dawn, so travel slowly in deer-crossing zones and remain on the lookout.
  • If you see a deer near the road, slow down and wait until they safely cross the road.
  • Deers may become frozen if blinded by the headlights of passing vehicles, often standing still on the road. To avoid hitting, prepare to brake and go around. Another strategy you can use is flashing your motorcycle’s headlights to break the deer’s daze.
  • Watch any oncoming vehicles in the opposite lane to see if they stop as this may indicate an animal is crossing the road.
  • Noises like revving your motorbike engine or pressing the horn may startle and cause deer to run onto the road.
  • Don’t challenge larger deers by approaching them aggressively; they might attack and throw you off.
  • Use high beams when riding at night and make sure that the tires and brakes work properly.
  • If you are riding in a group, spread out. This will reduce the risk of all the riders crashing into each other if the front rider hits a deer. 

3.2 Motorcycle Collisions Injuries Involving Deer in Western New York in 2015

Injury Type Incidence % of Total Injuries
Chest Injuries
Rib Fracture 20 16.7
Pneumothorax 10 8.3
Sternal Fracture 2 1.7
Lung Contusion 5 4.2
Heart Contusion 1 0.8
Subtotal 38 31.7
Orthopedic Injuries
Clavicle Fracture 6 5.0
Scapular Fracture 5 4.2
Upper Extremity Fracture 10 8.3
Pelvic Fracture 3 2.5
Lower Extremity Fracture 11 9.2
Foot and Ankle Fracture 3 2.5
Lower Extremity Traumatic Amputation 1 0.8
Subtotal 39 32.5
Head Injuries
Closed Head Injuries 9 7.5
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage 6 5.0
Subdural Hematoma 1 0.8
Skull Fracture 1 0.8
Petechial Hemorrhage 1 0.8
Subtotal 18 15.0
Spinal Injuries
Spine Fracture 7 5.8
Disc Herniation 2 1.7
Cauda Equina Syndrome 1 0.8
Subtotal 10 8.3
Facial Injuries
Nasal Fracture 3 2.5
Orbital Fracture 2 1.7
Maxillary Fracture 1 0.8
Tripod Fracture 1 0.8
Teeth Fracture 1 0.8
Subtotal 8 6.7
Abdominal Injuries
Splenic Laceration 4 3.3
Hematoma 2 1.7
Urethral Disruption And Bladder Rupture 1 0.8
Subtotal 7 5.8
Total 120 100

4. Last Words

Motorcycle crashes involving critters are becoming a serious issue for riders, particularly for those who often go off-roading. This article discussed the list of animals often involved in motorcycle crashes and tips on how you can avoid these kinds of accidents.

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