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Many motorcyclists take their bikes out during autumn to get in one last, long ride before it’s time for winter storage. The open road provides a moment of peace, with the trees showing their fall colors as temperatures get a little colder.

Autumn is also the mating season for deer. Hitting one while riding a motorcycle can cause significant damage to your bike and potentially cause an injury to you.

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Unless there is no other option, you want to avoid a deer-motorcycle accident.

Tips for Avoiding a Deer-Motorcycle Accident While Riding

Some animal-motorcycle accidents aren’t avoidable, but many of them are. These tips can help you have a plan if a deer decides to dart across the road while you’re riding.

1. Watch for the Animals

Deer are social animals that prefer to wander in family units and herds. If you see one along the road, there are certainly more that haven’t been spotted yet. Slow down safely, look to the side, and be careful. If it is safe to stop, do so to let them pass. West Virginia is one of the top states it terms of such accidents.

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2. Look for Deer Crossing Signs

traffic warning sign for deer crossing

Most roadways have yellow warning signs that communicate high-traffic areas for animals. Some jurisdictions place them where accidents frequently happen or by food sources. Keep your hand on the brake to respond faster when entering these areas.

3. Maintain a Safe Distance

When you enroll in motorcycle defensive driving classes, one of the first lessons you’re taught is maintaining a safe following distance. You’re more likely to be in an unwanted situation if you ride aggressively. Give yourself enough space to avoid traffic and deer if they’re in your way.

4. Don’t Swerve

Human instinct says to swerve out of the way of an obstacle in the road. If you do that on a motorcycle after spotting a deer, you could put yourself in a more dangerous situation. Numerous drivers and riders are injured or die each year, avoiding one problem by turning into a tree or oncoming traffic.

5. Reduce Speeds

Deer tend to come out in the early morning and late evening hours. If you reduce your riding speed during these times, you’ll have more moments to react if an animal tries to get in your way.

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6. Have Safety Apparel

It helps to wear appropriate gear when on a motorcycle to stay safe. That means a helmet, body armor, leather apparel, gloves, boots, and other accessories provide some defense against a severe injury.

If you encounter a wounded deer while riding, it is best to avoid the animal. Should you be in a deer-motorcycle accident, contact your insurance provider to discuss the situation once you’re in a safe spot, take pictures, and file all necessary reports.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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