Why wildlife can be a major concern for competitive cyclists

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | Bicycle Accidents |

Competitive cyclists travel at high speeds and usually cover major distances in a single race. They train aggressively and exert themselves in a relatively dangerous environment. Most avid cyclists and tri-athletes will tell anyone who asks that there is nothing like flying down the road propelled by nothing but sheer strength.

Unfortunately, no matter how much practice a cyclist has and how much they invest in safety gear, there are risk factors that can cause them injury – or worse – on the road. Most cyclists are well aware of how dangerous the presence of motor vehicles and even e-bikes can be for their safety. The increased popularity of bicycle transportation in recent years has also inspired many cyclists to become more defensive about others traveling via two-wheeled contraptions as well.

Fewer cyclists stop to consider how the wildlife in their area could be of concern. Especially in transitional seasons like spring and fall (and transitional times of day like the dawn and dusk hours), cyclists may need to be especially careful about where they bike and how they protect themselves from the possibility of an animal encounter.

Large animals can cause catastrophic crashes

Animals cross roads without an understanding of the risk involved. Unlike motor vehicles, which can mostly protect people from such encounters, bicycles aren’t very protective in a collision with an animal. Of course, the size of the animal matters quite a bite.

A cyclist might hit a squirrel or another very small animal, like a toad, and not experience much other than unpleasant emotions. However, the bigger the animal is, the more likely the incident is to injure the cyclist. Hitting an opossum might mean that someone falls off their bike or has to maneuver dramatically to remain balanced afterward.

Bigger animals, including deer, wild sheep and coyotes, are a major safety risk. Deer are unpredictable and large enough to knock a cyclist over whether the cyclist hits the deer head-on or the deer hits the cyclist from the side. Both types of crashes have happened frequently in both training sessions and active races.

In some cases, cyclists are able to patch up their bikes and continue the race or training session. Other times, they end up severely injured and in need of medical attention. Those hurt in a cycling crash that does not involve an at-fault motor vehicle could still potentially have access to insurance coverage through their own policy.

Pursuing a complicated insurance claim after a cycling crash will frequently require the support of a legal professional. This area of law is so complicated – and the stakes of such a claim are so high – that taking a “DIY” approach to this undertaking is simply not a great idea.