A Message from Toward Zero Deaths Minnesota:
Minnesota’s large deer population makes them a safety hazard on the road all year long, but deer-vehicle crashes peak in the autumn months. Although all motorists need to be extra cautious as the weather cools down, deer crashes can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists – a group which accounted for 23 of the 27 vehicle-deer related deaths from 2016-2022.
Deer are unpredictable – they stop in the middle of the road, they cross and quickly re-cross back, and sometimes even move toward an approaching vehicle. While it is important to plan ahead for unexpected situations, strategy isn’t enough if you don’t have the skills to execute it. Rider training helps new riders develop skills and earn a license, while returning and experienced riders can sharpen their skills. The skills learned in the training can save your life.
Motorcyclist safety tips to avoid deer crashes:
• Avoid night and low-light riding periods. Be especially cautious from 6 - 9 p.m., when deer are most active.
• A rider’s best response when encountering a deer is to use both brakes for maximum braking and to keep your eyes and head up to improve your chances of keeping the bike up.
• Use high beams as much as possible at night, especially in deer-active areas.
• Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.
• Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population – such as areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forest land.
• High visibility gear can assist other drivers in seeing you better, whether it’s while making an evasive maneuver to avoid a deer or laying on the roadway after impacting a deer.
When deer cross the road, they don't look twice for motorcycles. Stay alert and always wear full protective gear to protect yourself in case of a crash.