Sunday, August 23, 2009

Deer: Dangerous on the Road

Yesterday, my wife and I had to run up to Boy Scout Camp Cedars, up by Fremont, to pick up our oldest grandson who had spent the night for a Nani-ba-zhu festival. (It's a bit complicated. As a member of the Order of the Arrow, he has also been inducted into the local Nani-ba-Zhu 'tribe' as a Brave. He spent Saturday making his 'regalia': headdress, necklace, arm bustles, etc.)

We picked him up about 6:30, and headed home. It was an hour-plus drive, and about 7:00, with the sun sitting fairly low in the western sky behind me, we crossed the Platte River into Douglas County. As we came over the bridge, some motion caught my eye. A deer (doe) was bounding through the tall grass down in the tall grass ahead to the right. Something told me to be careful, so I eased off the gas and pointed her out to my wife. I had one car behind me, a friend of ours with her Scout coming home, and oncoming were four motorcycles, followed at some distance by another car.

Moments after we came off the bridge, the deer decided she simply had to be on the other side of the road, and launched herself directly in front of my car. I stomped on the brake, expecting the sickening THUD as I hit her. Instead, as if by a miracle we missed her. At the same instant, i thought, "Oh my God! The motorcycles!', and out of the corner of my eye I saw her hit the lead biker.

I watched the deer, bike, and rider go sliding down the pavement in my mirror as I pulled over to the side. Our friend pulled over right in front of us, but I was already out the door, heading back to see if there was any help I could provide. The car behind the bikes had already pulled over and was calling 911 as I arrived. Two of the bikers were pulling the bike and the deer to the side of the road, while the third was dragging his friend, in a sitting position, to the other side.

As I got there, fully expecting to see a bloody, mangled body, I found the biker, a fairly large man, almost laughing! "Good thing I hit it, and not one of you little guys! Probably would have killed you!" We gave him a quick check over to be sure how he was. He said his ankle hurt - probably busted, but maybe just badly sprained. He took off his helmet (not a scratch on it), and his leather jacket. The left sleeve, from wrist to elbow, was torn up, and he had a little "road-rash" up by his elbow. That appeared to be the extent of his injuries. He said that with the sun setting, and in his eyes, he didn't even see the deer until they collided.

Meanwhile, my wife had also called 911, and was able to give them more exact directions to the accident site. Two Sheriff cars soon pulled up, followed shortly by a Rescue Vehicle. After the Deputies took statements, the biker was loaded into the Rescue Squad to be transported to a hospital, and we were on our way.

After we got home, and before the sun fully set, we took a look at our bumper. We saw two new dings on the driver's side, right where the deer's rear hooves might have hit. It makes us think that we might have altered the deer's path just enough so that, instead of the biker hitting her head on, and possibly doing a header over the handlebars, instead she was twisted sideways and hit him in the side taking the bike out from under him, and possibly even serving as a "cushion" for him during the critical first moments of the slide down the pavement.


  1. Deer are mind-bogglingly stupid creatures. Glad the biker is relatively okay.

  2. Good thing no one was badly hurt. Hereabouts in some rural areas it's not uncommon to hit a cow in the middle of the night, apparently some of them prefers to sleep on roads.