Almost Hit A Deer

  • March 8, 2009 6:11 PM PDT

    This was the first really scary experience I had since I have been riding, which isn't that long.


    I took a weekend ride with a couple of friends from my home in Santa Cruz,CA to San Diego.  On the way home today we decided to get off the 101 in Santa Barbara and take the 154, a scenic, kind of twisty road that runs up to Santa Ynez and reconnects to the 101.


    We were riding fairly spread out with me in the second position.  Tony, who was leading, pointed to a deer on the side of the road just in front of him.  Just as he passed the deer the deer paniced, but instead of running away from the road, this deer ran straight across the road.  I FREAKED!  Quickly thinking back to my riding class I didn't panic and lockup both brakes, but swerved to the right since he was heading left. I swear I could of spanked him with my left hand as I passed.


    We pulled over and I was just about hyperventilating.  I finally calmed down and we got back on the road.  Still feeling kind of wierd and out of my riding took me a good hour to finally settle back in. 


    Hopefully I got that out of the way and it doesn't happen again.


    • 5417 posts
    March 9, 2009 4:05 AM PDT
    Glad you are ok. sounds like you kept your cool, thought what you should do and did it...Good for you
  • March 9, 2009 4:15 AM PDT

    Yes we are all happy you are ok.  And just as a reminder to all new and experienced riders...always remember SIPDE!


    The acronym is SIPDE or Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute.

    • Scan
        You should constantly be aware of what's in front, to the sides and behind you. I personally scan constantly, first forward then through the mirrors and to each side and back again; scanning my tach & speed as I go. If you don't already scan or you're new to biking; take time to develop a pattern that includes your mirrors, your controls, and the area ahead of you. You should always be on the lookout for potential hazards and escape routes - even when you are stopped for a traffic signal/stop sign. When changing lanes be sure to check your mirrors early and often. When slowing to stop, check your mirrors to ensure that other motorists behind you are aware that you're stopping. One trick that I use to get the attention of motorist behind me is to tap my brake (either front or rear) in a 3-1-3 pattern. Maintain a 10-12 second lead. Meaning that you need looking at where you'll be 10-12 seconds from now.

    • Identify
        Identify the situation ahead. Is there a hazard? Would you consider a side street a hazard? Probably not if you're in your car. Car's are "big"; meaning that their easily spotted by someone wanting access to the main road. Motorcycles are nearly invisible and you need to be aware of that when you ride. The same car on the side street will 99% of the time see the oncoming car, the percentage get's much lower with an oncoming motorcycle. Be ready, change lanes if you can, approach with cautious awareness that they may not see you. Are there multiple hazards ahead? Oncoming traffic, canyon road, side streets all pose their own risks scan and plan at all times. What are your escape routes? If you need to "ditch" or "lay it down" where? Options? What presents the least threat to you and your safety? Identify each situation by what represents a threat and what represents an opportunity or escape route. The motorcycle safety foundation recommends separating hazards into three separate and distinct categories.

        • 1. Other vehicles sharing the road.  
        • 2. Pedestrians and animals.  
        • 3. Stationary objects.

        With each category representing a different level of risk and each needs to be addressed by the rider differently.

    • Predict
        Learn to anticipate what the hazard is going to do; if it's a deer nature says it's going to get startled. There's a 50/50 chance it will dart in front of you - what's your plan? Once you've formulated a plan (about 0.5sec to do, predict what might happen - I always use the worst case: Of course the deer will dart in front of me - now what? Formulate your escape route; this may be as simple as "I'm going to slow down" or as drastic as "he's crossing the road, I'm going off road." I personally feel that it's best to make my assumptions and plan based on the worse case scenario so that I'm ready for whatever happens.

    • Decide
        Determine your course of action. Let your presence be known; using the 3-1-3 pattern is one way I make sure that I'm seen. Increase or decrease your speed speed, changing the lane your in or maybe even your direction all together. Combine any or use all three. Some riders put "whistlers" on their bikes, can't be heard by us but it is supposed to keep the deer and other wildlife out of the way. No matter what decision you make, be certain that you've account for your skill/experience level and road conditions.

    • Execute
        Take action based on what you decided to do. If you can, separate the hazards so you're only dealing with one at a time. Continue scanning and adjust your actions based on the situation. Remember riding a motorcycle is fluid and things might change. Concentrate on the motorcycle and what you can control. Create a larger safety bubble around the motorcycle. Your safety bubble is the amount of space between you and other vehicles sharing the road with you. When following cars or trucks you should have a 4-5 second safety bubble. When in wet or adverse conditions increase this to 7-8 seconds.
  • March 9, 2009 4:55 AM PDT

    Your just lucky it was a deer  Try swerving around these guys.


  • g
    March 10, 2009 7:31 AM PDT

    na good pal, ma mate hit one the other week in the works van ,was a ******* mess , u should have seen the dear , **** took a photo like


    *this post was edited by a CycleFish Moderator*

    • Moderator
    • 18965 posts
    April 3, 2009 12:06 PM PDT
    Hey Sweet Soft Tail,
    You had a close one there. Sure glad you didn't get hurt. Hitting a deer can ruin the whole day, hell the whole year. I have had several (thankfully only close calls) encounters with deer. I have recently become aware of even more danger from deer. We all expect to see them when on the country roads but what about in the cities and towns. I live in a fairly dense suburb of philadelphia with the closest small tree area about 1/2 mile away. Taking my dog Riley out for his first P at 6:00 am the other day there were three deer not 15 feet from my house in the front yard. Riley was so excited, but to get to my point, I am always on alert when riding where the deer used to be but now they are everywhere so ya even gotta watch in the urban areas.

    Ride Safe, Be Alert
  • g
    April 28, 2009 1:33 AM PDT
    always remember they are usally in pairs
  • May 1, 2009 7:15 AM PDT
    My epsisode happened many years ago, 1978 to be exact. I was on a camping trip with my parents, my brother, my wife and kids. I had two bikes at the time and we trailered them from Farmington, NM to Tres Peidres, NM on a hunting scouting trip. One of the bikes was a Yamaha 175 Enduro and the other was a Yamaha 500 street bike.   I decided to ride the 500 home instead of putting it back on the trailer. My wife was on the back and we were tooling along about 65 mph when I topped a hill and standing in the middle of the road was a cow. To this day I am not sure how I got around her without hitting her or spilling us all over the pavement, but needless to say the seat had a permanent crease from the reflex action.

    More recently I was riding home from the train station right at sundown and had a deer act like she was going to run out in front of me, but decided to stop at the edge of the road.  This got my heart pumping pretty good too.
    • Moderator
    • 18965 posts
    May 1, 2009 2:12 PM PDT
    Don't mess with the Big Guy. See his photo in my pics.
    Custer State Park, Custer SD July '06. We crested a hill and there was a line of stopped cars watching this herd (about 70 or 80) meandering across the road. I told my riding partner to hold back and let the cars clear out from in front of us making sure we had a clear escape route. About 1 minute after this Buffalo bull (see photo in my pics) crossed the road he charged me. He was 20 yards away looking real hard at me, put put his head down, let out a dust blowing snort, scraped the ground with his front hooves and charged at me. Just like in the cartoons. By the time he was 10 yards away I was making tracks pulling away. Good thing I knew to keep my escape route open and never shut down the engine. These are magnificent beasts that deserve respect and distance. This gave me a new respect for Native American hunters!

    There was another time on that same road trip when riding not far from Cody, WY  I was following a semi up the hill to Chief Joseph Highway. He was going slow and I was in no hurry just enjoying the scenery when about 10 range cattle appeared on the road. The trucker couldn't get around them so he was reving the engine and blowing the air horn but this one stubborn young bull didn't want to move. The trucker actually moved very slow and nudged him out of his path. OK for the truck but now what do I do? I have 400 to 600 pounds of testosterone laden bovine to deal with. With the memory of my Buffalo encounter still fresh in my mind I thought about turning around but thankfully the bull moved to the shoulder to let me by. You can believe I kept one eye on the road and one on the bull as I went past him. And that is a good trick since I am blind in one eye. He was definitely a bull (had the right equipment), probably only a year or so old but big enough to hurt me if he wanted to.
    • 21 posts
    September 18, 2009 12:35 AM PDT
    Hey Rex - We had a the same experiance in Custer - we got caught in a herd and a BIG bull just didn't like my buddy - he was about 15 yards away - he dropped his head and started charging - lucky for my buddy he had a clear route out too - he gunned it and made tracks - the buffalo kept pursuit for prob another 20-25 yards - we got up over a hill a safe distance away pulled over and had a good laugh but man it was crazy experience for sure!!!!
  • November 9, 2009 1:13 AM PST
    Back in 2004 on my way back from Sturgis I hit a deer, on a Sportster... talk about instant ass pucker:-)
  • g
    November 10, 2009 7:04 AM PST
    lol,i bet .the deer are coming down at the moment ,so watch ur sell's .
  • November 10, 2009 12:39 PM PST
    Been there done that! I hit one with the RoadKing I had in 07! I just about hit one on Saturday night! Way to close. Glad you kept your cool !
    Ride Free / Ride Safe
  • November 10, 2009 1:12 PM PST
    Glad to hear Everything worked out.
    • 2 posts
    September 7, 2016 7:09 PM PDT