Animals in the roadway are certainly an interesting hazard to motorcyclists.  A friend of mine actually had a vulture pick up its lunch from the roadway, fly it across a lane of traffic, and then drop it on the pavement right in front of her!  And then there was the time she used her foot to point out some roadkill, which turned out to still be alive!

These situations happen to motorcyclists all of the time, though I have not found very much specific information on what to do when it happens to you.  The Delaware Motorcycle Operator Handbook reads:

“Naturally, you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal.  If you are in traffic, however, remain in your lane.  Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big – like a car.

Motorcycles seem to attract dogs.  If you are chased, dowshift and approach the animal slowly.  As you approach it, accelerate away and leave the animal behind.  Don’t kick at an animal.  Keep control of your motorcycle & look to where you want to go.

For larger animals (deer, elk, cattle) brake and prepare to stop – they are unpredictable.”

Period.  That’s literally it.  Now seriously, how helpful is that?

Back in the day when I took my Basic Rider Course there was a class segment devoted to this topic as well.  I will never forget what my lead instructor said regarding the matter:

“When it comes to animals in the roadway, there are the Squishables and the Non-Squishables!”

OK, once again…WTF does that mean???  I mean obviously a caterpillar qualifies as a Squishable and a moose would be Non-Squishable, what what about the in-betweens like squirrels and groundhogs?

eastgraysquirrel.jpg groundhog2.jpg

I came across a turtle in the road the other day and started wondering if the poor little critter would qualify as Squishable or not?  I mean, he was pretty small…but then with the hard shell I don’t know that he would actually “squish” as it were. 


What about a bunny rabbit?  How about a fox? 

rabbit3.jpg red_fox.jpg

Where do we draw the line between the Squishables and the Non-Squishables?  What do you think?  Have you had any experiences with any of these creatures?  What’s the biggest thing you’ve run over?  Was it successful, or did it tear up your bike or cause you to crash?  Do you have any funny stories about critters in the roadway? 

Please share your experiences with Squishables and Non-Squishables by commenting below…