Dear oh deer, it’s that time of the year

Published: 11 October 2017

Road safety organisation, GEM Motoring Assist are warning drivers and riders to be extra vigilant of deer at this time of year as they are more active due to the rutting season.

With the Deer Collisions Project estimating that as many as 75,000 deer are killed in vehicle collisions each year, with the damage alone totalling at least £17 million, the autumn breeding season is when you’ll be more likely to come across the animals while on the road.

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Of course, it’s a massive inconvenience if you strike a deer in your car, but it’s a whole different affair if you’re on a bike. Without the protection provided by a car, we as motorcyclists are a lot more susceptible to serious injury or worse if a deer suddenly runs out in front of the bike. And, while motorcycle death figures may have been at an all-time low last year, there are still 10-20 deaths each year that are attributed to deer collisions. 

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth says it’s at dawn and dusk when deer movements appear to peak. “We urge drivers to be on the look-out at all times, but to be particularly observant in the early mornings and early evenings

“If you know your route takes you through areas where there are deer, then expect to see one – or more than one – on your journey. In that way, the presence of a deer on the road ahead will be less of a surprise and you will hopefully be able to avoid a collision.”

Deer will be likely to appear more on country roads and in rural areas, but it’s also important to remember that they may also appear on main roads, motorways and even in suburban areas on occasion.

“Take note of deer warning signs, as they have been placed at locations where wild animal crossings are common,” said Neil. “Once you have spotted a deer on the road, don’t speed up and assume the risk has passed. Chances are that there will be other deer close by, all likely to be heading the same way.”

If you do come into contact with a deer while riding or driving, if possible stop in a safe location and report the collision to the police, who can organise veterinary assistance. Also, make yourself seen, especially if the collision occurs on a fast, winding country road.

Finally, be especially cautious on roads near country parks, and especially up in the Scottish Highlands as there are will be more deer in these areas. Ride safe.

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