What To Do If You Hit A Deer On Your Motorcycle
July 3, 2018
UPDATE: Michigan’s New No-Fault Law went into effect July 1, 2020. The information on this page was written prior to the change in the law and may be out of date. Please visit https://callsam.com/no-fault-law/ for updated information on the new No-Fault law in Michigan.
Motorcycle Deer Accidents Can Be Deadly
A deer in its natural woodland setting can be a beautiful sight. However, when that same deer ventures onto a road or highway, the consequences can be deadly. This is especially true for motorcyclists. Wild animals such as deer are unpredictable and known for their quick and sudden movements. If a deer leaps out into the road, particularly at night, a motorcyclist has little or no time to react, often leading to frequent motorcycle deer accidents. Other than (hopefully) a helmet, a motorcyclist is basically unprotected, so even a small deer can do serious damage to a bike and its passengers.
Disturbing Statistics on Motorcycle Deer Accidents
Last year, there were a total of 50,949 deer accidents across the state of Michigan, including crashes involving cars, trucks and other types of vehicles, according to the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting System. These accidents resulted in 17 deaths. 13 of these fatalities, almost 75%, were motorcyclists.
The number of fatal crashes involving deer was three times higher for motorcylists than for passenger cars, SUV’s and vans combined.
In the 251 motorcycle deer accidents that occurred last year, almost 80%, or 190 people, sustained serious injuries.
Of the 50,949 deer accidents, 31,391 of these happened on roads where motorcyclists are most likely to ride: local and rural roads as opposed to major highways.
Insurance Coverage For Motorcycle Deer Accidents
A motorcycle is not considered a “motor vehicle” under Michigan no-fault law. Therefore, the insurance coverage provided for cars, trucks and other types of passenger vehicles is different for motorcyclists. Unlike no-fault policies for typical motor vehicles, there is no unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which usually includes coverage for medical bills and rehabilitation.
When a motorcyclist is injured in an accident involving another motor vehicle, compensation for injuries or damages will usually come from the insurance company covering the owner of that vehicle.
In a motorcycle deer accident, where there is no other vehicle involved, no-fault benefits do not apply. Therefore, it is recommended that motorcyclists purchase optional PIP coverage. This kind of insurance covers medical expenses resulting from a deer accident. Insurance companies are mandated by Michigan no-fault law to offer this coverage to motorcyclists in case of injury accidents that do not involve another motor vehicle, such as motorcycle deer accidents.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Deer Accidents
While drivers of any kind of vehicle should use common sense and follow basic safety guidelines, there are certain deer safety tips that apply uniquely to motorcyclists.
- Be alert, especially on rural and local roads, where most motorcycle deer accidents happen.
- Reduce your speed on rural roads at night and wherever “deer crossing” or “deer migration” signs are posted.
- Keep your hands on the brakes in deer zones or unlighted roads to reduce reaction time if a deer suddenly runs out in front of you.
- If someone is driving closely behind you, let them pass in case you have to apply your brakes suddenly.
- When driving at night in areas where deer are likely to be present, use high beam lights and consider adding some powerful auxiliary driving lights.
- Spread out if riding in a group.
- Remember that deer travel in groups. If you see one, assume more will be following.
- Be careful about swerving to avoid hitting a deer because the deer will probably move unpredictably to avoid you.
- Always wear a helmet and other protective gear wherever you ride.
“Even the most careful rider can be involved in a deer accident because the animals are so unpredictable,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “We understand bikers and we understand the intricacies of motorcycle law.”
Motorcycle law can be complicated, but finding the right motorcycle accident attorney is simple. Our experienced team of experienced lawyers will fight to obtain the compensation you and your family deserve.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.