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The deer near Wausau don’t seem be reading my “Watch for Motorcycles” sticker. What can I do to avoid Wisconsin deer-motorcycle accidents?

Deer are a growing hazard. In the late 1970s, crashes involving deer accounted for about 5 percent of motor vehicle accidents. But by 2011, more than 15 percent of accidents involved deer. According to the State Farm insurance company, one out of 79 Wisconsin drivers will hit a deer this year.

When the driver of a car hits a deer, he is protected by safety features such as airbags and seat belts. When a motorcyclist hits a deer, there is no protection. The rider is thrown from his motorcycle. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 68.8 percent of Wisconsin deer motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death. Nationally, deer collisions cause about 200 fatalities each year; about 140 of those who die are motorcyclists.

Since you can’t slap a “Watch for Motorcycles” sticker on a deer’s rump, it is up to the rider to prevent Wisconsin deer-motorcycle crashes.

The Wausau motorcycle accident lawyers at Hupy and Abraham suggest that Wisconsin motorcyclists take the following precautions to avoid collisions with deer:

  • Watch for deer. More than 18 percent of deer-vehicle accidents happen in November. October and December also have high rates of deer crashes.
  • Stay alert, especially on roads near wooded areas.
  • Slow down in deer crossing zones. Deer crossing zones are areas where a high number of deer have been reported.
  • Slow down when you see a deer. Deer are very unpredictable. Expect the unexpected.
  • If you see one deer, expect there to be more. Deer travel in groups.
  • Use your high beams when driving at night (if it is safe to do so).
  • Make sure that your brakes and tires are in good condition.
  • Don’t swerve to miss a deer. This could cause you to lose control of your bike or put you in the path of a larger vehicle.
  • Try not to frighten a deer. Honking your horn could cause the deer to panic and run at you.

If you are in a Wisconsin motorcycle crash, Hupy and Abraham is here to help. Request your free copy of The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims or call us at 800-800-5678. We offer free consultations to injured riders throughout Wisconsin.


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham