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Braking For Animals

Old 08-30-21, 04:27 AM
  #1  
Pratt
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Braking For Animals

On the Burlington Bikeway the other day I saw a guy suddenly swerve and fall, his buddy also hit the brakes and almost did an endo, but merely (?) mashed his testicles on the top bar. Why? They were "avoiding a chipmunk." Guy #1 was down and a little scraped, but cradling his right arm which he said he could not move; also said something about collarbone again.
My policy for small mammals like that, on a bike or in a car, is straight-line braking. I have known two people who smashed cars trying to dodge a squirrel. One ended in a wheelchair. The critters seem to often give you a really good fake one direction, then go the other, probably effective for avoiding a stooping hawk. If you bite on the fake, then try to avoid the opposite direction run, Blammo! an accident.
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Old 08-30-21, 06:09 AM
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I'm always looking out for animals, especially squirrels, they do crazy stuff. However, living in Florida, I also have to worry about water birds, I've had them nearly run into me, when they fly off, because they couldn't gain altitude quick enough, so it's become second nature to give warnings as I'm approaching so as to not startle them. Yesterday on my ride I saw a group of Canadian geese at the side of the road, so I started clapping my hands and yelling, all they did was look up and stared at me; I could have kicked them as I rode by.

Other than squirrels, one of my biggest issues with animals are the dog owners that seem to expect you to maneuver about their meandering dog on a super long leash.


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Old 08-30-21, 09:29 AM
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squirrels and rabbit, hold your line. I doubt you could hit a squirrel if you tried. but if you evade your chances increase
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Old 08-30-21, 09:30 AM
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Geese walking, slow down and avoid
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Old 08-30-21, 09:41 AM
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There are 2 types of animals- squishable and unsquishable. Never swerve to miss something that is squishable.
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Old 08-30-21, 10:08 AM
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Chipmunks are the worst for darting in front of you from nowhere with absolutely no notice, and they often do a 180 right in front of the front wheel. Basically, I've given up any pretense of trying to avoid them, they're just on their own. Haven't hit one yet, but I suspect any attempt to evade them would make hitting them more likely.

I'll yell at squirrels if they're reluctant to retreat. Seems to work. The close calls I've had with them always involve them darting onto the path from the right without any warning. No evasion is possible in that situation.
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Old 08-30-21, 10:19 AM
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I don't often encounter critters, but for anything small enough not to wreck me I have three words: Mow. It. Down.
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Old 08-30-21, 10:50 AM
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Old 08-30-21, 10:59 AM
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The best way to avoid hitting squirrels and rabbits is to act like a predator and aim straight for them. That's behavior that they understand.

I was skeptical when I read that comment on Bike Forums years ago, but it's turned out to be very reliable.
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Old 08-30-21, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
squirrels and rabbit, hold your line. I doubt you could hit a squirrel if you tried. but if you evade your chances increase
A squirrel ran halfway up my leg 4 or 5 years ago while my BIL and I were riding the Katy Trail for a few days. It couldnt figure out where to go, and it jumped onto my sock to avoid being run over. It scurried up my leg and jumped to a pannier on my rear rack, and then launched off the bag to the side of the trail. My BIL was riding directly behind me and was almost in tears he was laughing so hard at my reaction.
Stayed upright at least!
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Old 08-31-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
I doubt you could hit a squirrel if you tried. but if you evade your chances increase
I saw it done on a club ride. Poor thing must have suffered a head injury because it kept spinning around in the middle of the road.

I made sure I stayed clear of this guy a few years ago:

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Old 08-31-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My BIL was riding directly behind me and was almost in tears he was laughing so hard at my reaction.
I am nearly in tears imagining your reaction. (I would have freaked out.) And I can totally see the squirrel launching itself off the pannier.
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Old 08-31-21, 07:29 AM
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Squirrels can do some serious damage. This pic has been floating around for a while. Google "squirrel in bike wheel" for more...

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Old 08-31-21, 07:33 AM
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This young one was below me in some brush along the side of the Pine Creek trail in PA. I coughed and must have startled it. Heard a loud splash and looked over to see it swimming across the creek. I nearly bought it slamming on the brakes to get out the camera before it disappeared into the wood on the other side. Second bear in two days on that trip. The encounter the previous day was at very close range.

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Old 08-31-21, 07:49 AM
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My view is, for me, braking for animals is appropriate when there's fairly low risk involved in doing so. Caveats and exceptions abound, of course. Dangerous, on slick surfaces, windy roads, places where there are drop-offs and ditches and whatnot. About the only absolute: when a moose, elk, large deer, bear or other big critter has parked itself right there where there's a good chance striking it full-on will be deadly to the car's occupants.

No way am I going to be swerving hard to avoid smaller critters, certainly not when there are other risks vastly more threatening ... oncoming vehicles, trees, little to no "emergency" area off the side of the road, etc. I don't care how cute-looking the thing might be. Not worth it, with such risks present.
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Old 08-31-21, 08:36 AM
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I never brake for chipmunks. Even at 30+ mph, they are so quick and agile that they always avoid my tires, even when it looks like they might get rolled over. I think you're more likely to hit them if you try to avoid them. If your speed and direction don't change, they can avoid you. I'm sure people have hit them, but it must be rare, as I've had dozens of near misses
without ever touching one. I think they dart out in front of me for sport, especially on fast downhill runs on pavement.
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Old 08-31-21, 09:46 AM
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Traction awareness and spatial awareness are two paramount skills to cultivate. Then you know how to respond to a sudden threat. If you crash avoiding a chipmunk, you're showing that you have neither.

Years ago, I was riding one of my motorcycles around 80-90 mph on a back road in eastern California, when a squirrel suddenly ran out in the road. I didn't try to avoid it. That would not have worked. I was in a fast corner. I ran over it, the front end slid about three inches, and I motored on. RIP squirrel, I know the Karma of that will come back on me, but I'm still breathing.
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Old 08-31-21, 09:49 AM
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I sure wouldn't worry about squirrels.
One day I was riding towards the China border in the north end of Vietnam, on my 120 lb tour bike. I had seen a half dozen dead rats this day. Then finally a live one was in my line, a big white one. It wasn't moving very fast, so I tried to get him. Darn I missed. LOL. The next dead one I did roll over it for the hell of it. LOL.
Only one awol wayward chicken fluttered in front. Several times I slowed to go by and thru cows. They were very well behaved.
All but one of the mean angry dogs were the ones chained up.
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Old 08-31-21, 11:20 AM
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We have a lot of waterways around here, thus we have a lot of dragonflies flying around in the summer. I've read a little about dragonflies and their incredible flying skills and ability to catch prey in flight and that virtually their entire head is all eyes.

I also remember hearing/reading that you shouldn't worry about running into dragonflies on your bike, just ride thru and they'll move, albeit sometimes at the last second. And I've found this to be mostly true, but I did, a few years ago, run directly into one, face first. All I remember are legs and wings dancing all over my face and I nearly went down, luckily I've been riding for years, but I'm sure if this happened to me as a novice I would've definitely gone down.

There's nothing more freaky than a dragonfly dancing on your face

I still head straight for them, but I do have one hand ready to swat them...just in case. Some good reading on dragonflies... https://www.treehugger.com/things-yo...nflies-4864302



P.S. This is not thread drift...insects are in the Animal Kingdom


.
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Old 08-31-21, 11:34 AM
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Ride straight at them.
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Old 08-31-21, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
This young one was below me in some brush along the side of the Pine Creek trail in PA. I coughed and must have startled it. Heard a loud splash and looked over to see it swimming across the creek. I nearly bought it slamming on the brakes to get out the camera before it disappeared into the wood on the other side. Second bear in two days on that trip. The encounter the previous day was at very close range.

Reminds me of this story from a few years back:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cyclist...ing-triathlon/
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Old 08-31-21, 01:19 PM
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Where I live it's mostly the rabbits that are always jumping out and trying to make me crash. Sometimes squirrels, sometimes lizards, but the rabbits really have it out for me.
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Old 08-31-21, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
There are 2 types of animals- squishable and unsquishable. Never swerve to miss something that is squishable.
^^^This. I run them over.
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Old 08-31-21, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Reminds me of this story from a few years back:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cyclist...ing-triathlon/
More recent. 2016. Forest Service cop was bombing a descent, came around a corner and apparently hit a grizzly in the trail. Bear attacks and kills him.

Officials: West Glacier Cyclist Collided with Bear Before Fatal Attack - Flathead Beacon

From a later story about the incident:

"According to the report, Treat was mountain biking with a friend on the “Outer Trail” of the Green Gate Trails in the Flathead National Forest. Between 1:30 and 2 p.m., Treat collided with a grizzly bear with his bike at a high rate of speed after rounding a blind curve on the trail.

Treat had access to the trails system from his house and was reported to jog the trails with his wife almost every morning. Treat mountain biked on the trails four to six times a week. Treat’s wife, Somer, described him as competitive and said he often tried to beat his previous times as he traveled the route.

Treat was estimated to be traveling at about 20-25 miles per hour, giving him only 1-2 seconds after rounding the corner to see the bear. The investigation found no signs of skidding or evasive steering, indicating Treat did not immediately see the bear and hit him at full speed.

The collision hurtled Treat into and then over the handlebars of his bike and either onto or over the bear. The investigation indicated the impact caused Treat to break both of his wrists and his left scapula as he tried to break his fall with his hands.

The riding companion was reportedly 20 to 25 yards behind Treat when the incident occurred. The companion reported hearing the impact and heard the bear vocalize and make a sound “like it was hurt.”

The companion rode around the curve and saw the bear standing over Treat, who was laying on the trail. The bear was described as “very big, brownish-black in color, lighter than black” with its hair “bristled up.” The companion reported waiting about 30 seconds as he tried to figure out what to do. Neither Treat nor his companion had bear spray, firearms or cellphones with them.

The companion said the bear was “intent and focused on Mr. Treat,” and did not turn to look at the companion when he came into sight. The companion decided to turn around and head back up the trail the way they came to seek help because he did not feel comfortable trying to get the bear off of Treat."
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Old 08-31-21, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
More recent. 2016. Forest Service cop was bombing a descent, came around a corner and apparently hit a grizzly in the trail. Bear attacks and kills him.

Officials: West Glacier Cyclist Collided with Bear Before Fatal Attack - Flathead Beacon

From a later story about the incident:

"According to the report, Treat was mountain biking with a friend on the “Outer Trail” of the Green Gate Trails in the Flathead National Forest. Between 1:30 and 2 p.m., Treat collided with a grizzly bear with his bike at a high rate of speed after rounding a blind curve on the trail.

Treat had access to the trails system from his house and was reported to jog the trails with his wife almost every morning. Treat mountain biked on the trails four to six times a week. Treat’s wife, Somer, described him as competitive and said he often tried to beat his previous times as he traveled the route.

Treat was estimated to be traveling at about 20-25 miles per hour, giving him only 1-2 seconds after rounding the corner to see the bear. The investigation found no signs of skidding or evasive steering, indicating Treat did not immediately see the bear and hit him at full speed.

The collision hurtled Treat into and then over the handlebars of his bike and either onto or over the bear. The investigation indicated the impact caused Treat to break both of his wrists and his left scapula as he tried to break his fall with his hands.

The riding companion was reportedly 20 to 25 yards behind Treat when the incident occurred. The companion reported hearing the impact and heard the bear vocalize and make a sound “like it was hurt.”

The companion rode around the curve and saw the bear standing over Treat, who was laying on the trail. The bear was described as “very big, brownish-black in color, lighter than black” with its hair “bristled up.” The companion reported waiting about 30 seconds as he tried to figure out what to do. Neither Treat nor his companion had bear spray, firearms or cellphones with them.

The companion said the bear was “intent and focused on Mr. Treat,” and did not turn to look at the companion when he came into sight. The companion decided to turn around and head back up the trail the way they came to seek help because he did not feel comfortable trying to get the bear off of Treat."
Was the bear using a cell phone?
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