I wasn't sure if i should post this or not, i'm trying to avoid my wife finding out, but its too good of a mini story to pass up.
Riding to work Thursday morning on the Garden State Parkway, a few minutes late to an early morning meeting in Brooklyn. I'm keeping up with traffic, doing about 74MPH, and its around 7:15AM. The sun has been out for about 20 minutes, but still really low. I'm cruising, somewhere between exit 114-117, on the express side, on the left most lane of a 3 lane highway. The car in front of me suddenly and abruptly, swerves out to the middle lane, revealing a baby deer directly in my path. The deer was standing sideways, with its head closest to the middle lane, looking right at me.
I've heard time and time again, motorcycle collisions with deer usually end very badly. I've recently read several articles about this too. This was going through my mind, very quickly, as I "decided" what to do. I pulled back on the brakes, I assume I knocked off half my speed by the time I got to the baby deer. This was a very short distance, and all happened very quickly. I didn't slam on the brakes, but I did pull with a sense of urgency. It's times like this i'm happy to have a newer bike, with good tires, good brakes, and ABS (which was not activated).
Now that I had the speed cut in half, the deer was just a few feet in front of me. As I approached, what happened next is interesting. It felt as if I dragged or pulled the bike to the left to get around the deer. It wasn't my typical body movement to swerve, it felt different. As much as I pulled to the left, I still hit the deer, luckily not head on. I felt something, assuming it was my right pannier, hitting the deer. My bike started to lose control, but not in an aggressive way, swinging left and right. I controlled the bike, and pulled over to the left shoulder. I stayed up! Having a big bike pays off, well in this scenario it did.
I pull over to the left, and smash my keyless start button to turn everything off and confirm to myself that I am safe. Its over. As I get off the bike, I start to shake a little. A van pulls over about 150ft ahead of me to make sure I'm ok. He walks towards me, tells me he's a rider too, and that I did good. He made sure I was ok, and stuck with me for a few minutes as I thanked him. He turned around to leave, and I sat on the guard rail looking back at the deer. It was 100ft behind me, and now laying flat in the right most lane. That means after I hit it, it flew in the air, and landed 15ft to the right from where I hit it.
Everything was moving slow in my head, as I watched the cars in the right lane drive on the shoulder to get around the baby deer, knocked out, possibly dead. As i'm sitting there, still shaking, a van approaching the deer did not swerve. It ran right over the deer, pulling its body apart. Blood, and the inside of its body was instantly revealed. It was over for the deer, but I was still there. That moment didn't help my shakes.
I took another minute or two, got back on the bike, and continued on my way to Brooklyn. Looking back at Waze (gps app), 8 minutes have been added to my arrival time. 8 minutes past by total. That's how quickly everything happened. I'm assuming the actual deer incident happened in less than 10 seconds total until the moment we met. Now, I was safe on my way, and in disbelief of what just went down. I was late to my meeting, but the client understood when I explained it to him.
After the meeting, I took a closer look at the bike. I saw deer hair on the Givi pannier, no dents. I looked closer, and noticed deer hair, deer skin, and deer blood on my right cylinder. My Givi crash bar, and cylinder must have taken the bulk of the hit, and amazingly, nothing touched my leg which must have been an inch or so away from all the action. That amazes me, my boxer engine, at roughly 45mph, hit a deer and possibly killed it.
I wish I took some photos, or had a dash cam (front and rear camera), it would have been amazing footage. All I have are these after shots. Wifey, if you're reading this, I love you, and i'm not giving up my bike.