Top Animals that are Riders Worst Enemies
Without a doubt the animal involved in more motorcycle/animal incidents in the United States is the Deer. With the huge numbers of these animals in almost every state it’s almost a given you’ll come across at least one if you spend any time in the wooded areas. They are extremely quick and well camouflaged. And if you see one cross, chances are good there are 2 or 3 right behind. They also have the common sense of a 4 year old when crossing the road. Your best defense is slow down and keep your head on a swivel.
Not only do dogs pose a serious threat to a rider from a collision standpoint, but dogs will actually charge and attack. And I don’t mean just the big boys. I’ve seen schnauzers bolt from their owners and charge a bike at a stop sign and poodles come yapping out of yards launching themselves at the the legs of riders. I’ve discovered that a few loud revs or a couple of horn blasts can stop or at least slow them down. (Loud pipes scare dogs.) If he’s on an intercept course slow down a bit, then just before he reaches you speed up. It throws off their timing. I know it’s tempting but keep those boots on the pegs.
I’ll admit this one surprised me a bit. But after spending some time riding the country roads in the midwest I was amazed at the number of wild turkies in those fields. And as god as my witness I did not think turkies could fly. Well they can for short distances. And they don’t get up very high, usually just about helmet height. At 25-30 lbs. and one and a half feet tall, you hit one of these guys at 60mph and it can ruin your day.
Not usually something to worry about on the interstate or downtown but get out into the rural areas and start carving up a few twisties in farm country and it’s entirely possible you’ll find one that has wondered out of a field . Keep your eyes open, pay attention and just slow down.
If you see one on the road you stop. Period. 2 reasons. First they’re friggin’ AWESOME! So take a moment and just admire. But more importantly they’re friggin’ HUGE! And don’t kid yourself, they’re faster than you. Give these guys at least 75 feet and try not to make him angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry. At about 2000 pounds they can run faster than you can sprint. So if he’s looking directly at you and that tail goes up, yea, it’s time to leave.
Raccoons are one of those animals that you could find anywhere, in the woods, out in the country or cruising through your neighborhood. Not really an agressive threat but when they come scurrying out of the shadows at night they can be a formidable speed bump when you’re doing 35-40 mph.
Again, cruising through the backwoods or maybe the National Parks it’s a possibility. Most of the time they are fairly shy and will avoid you. Black bears are one of the few breeds that are known to charge simply because they are having a bad day. If you see one, stop. Make some noise. Wait for it to leave and then continue.
On a recent trip I noticed a small dark cloud hanging over the road just ahead of me. As I approaced I noticed something, actually a LOT of something bouncing off my visor. I had ridden into a swarm of bees. I tucked in behind my windshield. I thought I was clear when they stopped hitting my shield. Then the buzzing in my ear started. One had gotten inside my helmet. I opened my visor and the little guy eventually made his escape.
Admittedly this is kind of a regional thing, but seeing as I do most of my riding in the southwest deserts I’m including it. While it’s not uncommon to see them on the roadside sunning themselves, they also like to curl up on or under warm engines as the evening temps go down. Snakes have been known to lunge at passing motorcycles. If you see one, let it pass. Even if you run it over it can still bite.
Again, another regional favorite of the southwest. For those not familiar a Javolina is a wild pig. They weigh between 45 and 80 pounds. You can usually scare them off with a couple of horn blasts or a few lound throttle cracks. But don’t take these guys lightly. They are certainly large enough and strong enough to fell a rider and if cornered they are not afraid to stand their ground.
Most of these guys you’ll encounter range from 5 to 15 pounds and go about 2-3 feet long. However, at 75 mph and with that body armor, that can be quite a nasty speedbump. Best thing to do is slow down, hold your line and if you hit it hit it square. And if you do manage to paste one, leave it alone. They often carry leprosy. Seriously.
They’re fast. They’re strong. They’re big. And they bite. And if you ride down south chances are you’ll eventually cross paths. This is another instance where the rider yields. Period.
Aside from using my gas tank and saddle as target practice these guys are downright obnoxious. Not sure if they’re stubborn or just stupid but they all play this game where they wait to see how close a rider can get before they eventually move.
They come out of nowhere at the very last second. They scurry into the middle of your lane. Then they STOP! Your natural instinct is to try to avoid so you grab a handful of brake or swerve to avoid the little varmints. No they are not usually big enough to drop you but something that quick crossing your path out of nowhere is bound to get your internal tach revved up.
Cagers on the Phone
Of all the animals out there the one that strikes the most fear in my heart is the soccer mom with a vanload of screaming halfbacks checking her GPS or the businessman with the cup of coffee in one hand, his cellphone in the other and the steeringwheel between his knees carrying on a conference call as he blows through the red light in front of me. Those animals are everywhere so remember, head on a swivel and be safe my Riding Brethren.