Author Topic: Deer Encounter near Philadelphia  (Read 1804 times)

Offline t2sfd

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Deer Encounter near Philadelphia
« on: June 13, 2011, 09:34:47 pm »
This explanation of a deer coming onto the interstate isn’t meant to be a pro or con to ABS brakes, it’s just a description of my recent experience.

The following encounter happened on my way home from Ocean City this past Saturday morning, heading back home to NE PA. As I’m traveling up I-476 (Blue Route) just west of Philadelphia, out pops a deer onto the shoulder of the highway. I’m traveling northbound in the middle lane with a pick up in the right lane about 50 yards ahead, a car directly in front of me about the same distance as the pick up and nothing in the far left lane or behind.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first, here we are cruising along about 75 mph (speed limits 55, but you’d get killed going that slow) in light to moderate traffic and bam, this deer decides she has to get to the other side of the highway from where she is. Not sure how many of you have had a close encounter with a deer, this was my first encounter at this close of a distance in all my twenty plus years of street bike riding, but It doesn’t take long to realize how unpredictable they are.

 At first she appears out of nowhere on the shoulder, the pick up sees her along with myself, the p/u hits the breaks, she hesitates for a second and then darts right out in front of him, how the guy missed her I don’t know. Now this is all happening in slow motion, and my mind is already doing the calculations; if she stays on her course, I’m good, if she turns and heads towards me, well let’s just say she didn’t and if she did there would have been a collision. Luckily she stayed on her original course which was almost straight across the lanes. What I remember the most is how much detail I had remembered about that deer after t was over, I knew it had no antlers, it was tall, but not that heavy. I was so focused on that deer just trying to gain an edge as to what she was going to do next.

By now the vehicle ahead of me is hard on the brakes, and swerving to avoid the deer and I’m on the brakes, (Non-ABS) slowing quickly but safely, clutch in and down shifting trying to catch a glimpse in my rear view to make sure some car isn’t barreling down on me, but luckily there wasn’t.  With the heavy braking, my back wheel is so light it’s locked up and I can feel the back end starting to swing lightly to the left and right as my speed drops to about 15 mph. I guess all the years of dirt bike riding helped out here; I was counter steering lightly as I slowed and the bike stayed as straight as an arrow. Rough guess, it wasn’t til the last 10-15 feet until I could feel the rear end swerve.

By this time, the deer had completed her trek across I-476 and was gone as quick as it had appeared. I know it’s hard to tell but all of this couldn’t have taken no more than 5-8 seconds.  I flipped up my face piece, looked to my right; by this time I’m about even with the pick up after I had started picking up speed again and the guys in the truck just looked at me like “what the hell just happened?” It was actually pretty amazing how not one vehicle hit the deer, and it was also sheer luck the deer didn’t start zig-zagging through the cars. I’m trying not to make this too long, but it was actually a unique experience, considering plus nobody was hurt.

I can honestly say I didn’t get butterflies or anything after it had happened, I really didn’t have time to think while it was happening, I just started to brake and slow down as quickly as I could, but not a panic brake. It’s amazing how your reflexes take over.

Afterwards, I wasn’t wishing I had ABS. Would ABS have helped? I’d have to say yes, if only to inhibit the back brake from locking up. Since I had only one bike prior to this that had ABS, all my years of riding are on Non-ABS bikes and when I had the ABS bike I never had to put it to use so I didn't find myself dependent upon them.

I was actually pretty impressed with the way the bike handled during the heavy weight shift to the front tire as the rear end started it’s light swerving. I tried to look back and see if I could tell how far the rear had been locked, it didn’t feel that long, but traffic wouldn’t allow.

What I did learn from the experience is not to underestimate when you might and might not come across a deer, or some other unexpected encounter. Living in NE PA, the deer are all over, most usually out in the country, I never expected to see one in a suburban area west of Philadelphia.

Be careful out there.

Offline tjpgi

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Re: Deer Encounter near Philadelphia
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 07:48:02 am »
Glad to see no one got injured. My wife and I were riding at dusk down a country road at about 40MPH when out of the brush comes what I think is a raccoon. He (or she) darts out perpendicular to our line of travel. It happened so fast that my only reaction was to hold the handle bars as firm as I could and barely had a chance to brake ( I was waiting for the expected thump, thump). Anyway the animal wound up traveling under the bike, between the wheels and made it to the other side of the road.
We couldn't believe what just happened, but drove home slower and on high alert.
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Offline Walker18

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Re: Deer Encounter near Philadelphia
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 04:43:15 am »
Glad all is well, and you're safe.. I live in Bucks County, PA, and even though my county is
not named 'Bucks' because of deer, it might have well been, for our deer population
has been a significant problem for motorists of all kinds. This is semi country/suburbia,
north of Philadelphia by about 25 miles. My township (8k residents) has paid a company to thin out
herds, to which they took 470 this past year, smaller than the year before.
Sure wish that they would just give selected permits to vets for this task. The meat was earmarked
for the less fortunate, and less recorded deer strikes have been reported, though we have lost
2 souls on motorcycles this year because of deer.
Head on a swivel, see what you're looking at.. Be careful, folks..
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