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Oh Deer, it finally happened !


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Hi all. Had an interesting night of riding I thought I'd share while still fresh in mind. A few lessons to be learned .

Uncharacteristically warm night for November in the Midwest, so a night ride was in order. Tooling along on a country road, mind wandering farther than the bike was traveling, when I noticed the turn I was in wasn't adapting to the speed I was at. Hmmm.

Half way thru the turn the old brain decided to come back from vacation, and let me tell you, it wasn't happy with what I was doing. Now I have always

told other riders that most single bike crashes occur, not because the bike was at its limit, but because the rider either gave up trying or panics and does something stupid. The bike in most cases will make it thru the turn if ridden properly. ( have the mind set that I would rather risk crashing trying to make the turn , than give up by hitting the brakes and pretty much guaranteeing an excursion off the road )

Well, time to put it to the test. Eyes thru the turn , lay the bike into it, metal scrapping, foot and peg grinding into the pavement , not quite enough yet. More lean, steady on the throttle and no braking. Road straightens, noise subsides, trail of sparks diminishes ,start breathing again. All good ! Well not quite. As I'm zipping down the back country roads congratulating myself on once again being on the right side of dumb luck, I hit a deer. At 60 mph. Wham ! Here we go again. Hang on real tight , eyes forward and wonder what type of ballistic arc I'm going to be performing tonight. Will i stick the landing ? If I survive, will the deer be so pissed at me that he'll stomp me to a pulp as I lay in a heap. Hey, at least I didn't spend time and money rebuildin those throttle bodies. Score one for me. Next thing I know is , I'm still on the bike, riding, throttle screaming as somehow I have the clutch pulled in . Ok, release the clutch, relax the throttle and assess. Bike tracking straight, no bones broke, in fact everything feels normal.Try the brakes gingerly. Normal. Hmmm . Dumb luck still intact. Not so much for the deer , sad to say.

Think it's time to call it a night and go home.

So..... why am I telling this story.

Two reasons. One. Did a few things wrong and maybe a few things right. Can learn from both. For those of you that may view my ride critically, you're right, learn from it and don't do what I did. Don't let your mind wander and maybe don't ride thru deer country at night. What ever keeps you safe. Two. Never ever give up. Keep riding till the bike gives up. You will probably find that the bike will do more, take more than you will. Don't assume you are going to crash.

As a side note I have to say , my r1150rt is one stout bike.

Enjoy your rides.

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And that is why I won't ride at night anymore.


We each have to decide for ourselves how to manage the risks of riding. I decided that it wasn't worth the risk. I used to love riding at night.



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Thanks for sharing. Amazing how quick a deer can show up on the road in front of you. What type of damage to your bike?

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Really glad you came through it ok and a great lesson on not giving up on the turn. I believe October and November are the highest deer strike months of the year. I typically don't ride at night because of increased animal movement, but when you 'have' to this is a great lesson on slowing way down after dark. Thanks for sharing.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

Bravo to your self-critique skills. Many riders don't go through that rigor and never improve to the point that they can avoid much worse.

Not commute riding much here since the deer are huge, elk are not terribly rare and drivers, in general, are not the best. Going to work is always at, or before, sunrise. In a nutshell, didn't feel as comfortable in the dark as I have in the past.

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Joeb, glad you made it through your trials recently. I've had a day time experience many years ago with too much speed on a damp curve with guardrail getting really close. Bottom line I didn't give up and made it through the curve with some butt pucker in the process! Risk management is a real asset for riding motorcycles. I don't totally ride daylight only, but I do avoid night rides knowing there's more risk involved. Deer are definitely a real hazard and night riding messes with my depth perception for cornering with any vigor. BTW my R1200ST has fantastic headlights, but they come up short when necessary to incinerate deer carcasses in flight! ;)

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Happy for the outcome!

Thanks for sharing the experience. Very nice write up and stressing to trust the bike and not to give up on making it through "pucker" moments while riding. Been there done that :thumbsup: !

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Thanks for sharing and glad that you are ok. Good wisdom taken from your write up. Stay focused and don't give up.


Hopefully your ride isn't too messed up



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Joeb, just curious, which way was the corner that you were dragging the peg on. Back in July, my wife and I were on a tour of the Alps on our R1150RT. In one of the switchbacks (on Passo di Giau) I felt and heard the bike bottom out over a bump in the corner. A couple of turns later the center stand dragged (no bump) in a 180 degree left turn and the rear tire slid out causing us to low-side. Both times the foot pegs were NOT the first contact point. Fortunately, due to the tightness of the turns, the speed was low (doubt is was more than 20 mph) and there was not any traffic around us. We slid across the road stopping in the rhubarb in the inside of the turn...I'm still not sure why we didn't go to the outside of the corner. I had always believed (forums) that the pegs would be the first thing to drag...not so for me.

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One time I returned from SE Asia, and my time zones were all warped so I decided to go for a ride in the mountains. At 2:00 a.m.


It's pleasant riding at night, I took the 80 up to Auburn, then got on to the 49 with the intention of riding to Placerville then back via the freeways. This is a VERY twisty road. It was all fine. Great. Lovely, until I left the town limits, the roadway was littered with deer. Some crossing, some just standing there, but it's like they chose party night and decided to celebrate on the pavement.


I said hell no, I'm not dealing with fifty miles of this. I'm not doing five miles of this. I'm not doing one mile of this. I did a u-turn around a deer, weaved through the rest of the herd, rode back home, and grabbed the bottle of Bushmill's so I could get a proper sleep.

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