Friday, June 9, 2017

Don't Hit It, Unless You Can Eat It All....

Well, that's an odd title for a posting. 

I am not suggesting that you eat anything you hit when out riding the scooter. 

Nor am I advocating that you try to hit anything that happens to be on the road.  I'm afraid that PETA or some other bleeding heart group would come after me if I did. 

I'll explain further in a bit. 

What brought this strange topic to mind was a trip I took the other day, where a stray dog was standing on the road.  Confused as he could be, he was not sure where to turn. 

Here he is:

After slowing way down and blowing the horn at him a lot, he ran off. 

A closer look:

He is not long for this world, I'm afraid, if he stays around here. 

That got me to thinking.  What if I had hit him?  He is probably an 80 or 90 pound animal.  My bike, with me on it, weighs about 620 pounds.  He would make quite an impact if I hit him.  I am sure I would fall if I did, and I'll bet the bike would be heavily damaged both by the impact with the animal and with the road. 

...and that doesn't count what might happen to Bucky. 

So, what size isn't too big to cause major trouble if we collided? 

Let's go down the list and see if we can figure this out. 

I once ran across this horse wandering on the road, along with a pretty big dog. 

See: Stuff in the Road
Both are too big to survive tangling with on two wheels. 

This deer is also too big, even though she is a small one as deer go in this area:

See: Oh, Deer
What about this group?:

See: Got My Goat
Too big, and there being several of them together would make them hard to miss. 

Do you see the cow on the right there? 

It looks as though he is getting ready to sprint out into the street.  (Actually, he is a yard ornament in the city of Brevard, NC. ) 

Nevertheless, he is too big.  

How about this rabbit?:

You might be able to stay up if you hit him.  ...but it would be best of it were not while leaning into a curve. 

Same with this guy:

I can't tell you how many of these I have run over in the car because of their indecisiveness.  They seem to change their minds right when they have escaped being crushed. 

Yea, that's about right, I'd say.  I wish they would take decision-making classes or something. You'd think the indecisive ones would already be wiped out.  Maybe they are all that way. 

This is a slippery one:

See: Stuff in the Road
A tortoise (not a turtle).  Stay away. 


See: Pavement Surfaces and Other Things to Watch Out For

So what is the decision point?  How big is too big? 

One rule of thumb I have heard,
but not tested,

is that if it is too big to eat in one sitting,

avoid hitting it.  

Your results may vary.  ...and it depends on your lean angle, your machine, your tires, your speed, and whether you manage to hit whatever it is squarely or a glancing blow. 

Lots of "depends ons". 

That rule of thumb might work for all but the tortoise.  I believe I could eat one of those in one sitting, but it sure would be quite a lump to run over.  I think I will avoid it. 

Best not to hit any of these varmints, actually. 

Instead, learn to brake heavily and swerve smartly (but not both at the same time, please).  ...and practice those moves frequently. 

There are a few other live road hazards I have experience with. 

One like this got me about four years ago: 

See: Big Bird
I avoided several of his associates who were dining on some road kill, but this one flew right into my face shield as he flew away.  Good thing I has wearing that protective gear.  (I always do, by the way.) 

What about these varmints?:

See: Stuff in the Road
...or this one?:

Especially if he is running in the middle of the road, or not facing traffic.

Some of them seem to willfully make it hard to avoid them.  ...and they have lawyers, I'm told. 

I've seen a lot of these, too:

See: Smooth
Coming and going at high speeds, some more careful than others, and some easier to avoid than others. 

They're too big, and can cause you lots of other trouble. 

So let's run down the list, and whether it is likely to be OK if you hit one:
  • Rabbit - OK
  • Squirrel - OK
  • Bird - OK (if small enough to eat in one sitting)
  • Snake - OK
  • Dog - not OK
  • Goat - not OK
  • Deer - not OK
  • Horse - not OK
  • Cow - not OK 
  • Tortoise - not OK (usually small enough, but hard and slippery)
  • Man - not OK
  • Bicyclists - not OK
  • Motorcyclists - not OK
Well, it looks as though the list is pretty long of things that you should avoid hitting.  That's a good policy. 

What about you?  What animals have you encountered on the road...and what was the result?