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  • Writer's pictureAnna Robertson

Biker survives close call

Standing beside his only slightly mangled Harley touring bike, Alcove musician Ray Montford said he feels lucky to be alive.

Just after midnight on Sept. 7, Montford was only 15 kilometres from his Alcove home on Hwy. 5 when he collided with a large buck standing in the middle of the road. Montford admitted that he was going “at a good clip,” just over the speed limit, and said that as he came up on the crest of a hill he saw the deer and within milliseconds he hit it.

“I know one thing that saved me was my experience,” Montford said. The 32-year motorbike veteran didn’t panic and he didn’t slam on the brakes.

“If this had happened to me in the first 10 years of riding or if I had been on a smaller bike I probably would have died,” he explained. “It’s not a good competition. It’s not a good outcome,” Montford said, referring to most stories he has heard about collisions between motorcycles and deer.

Ray Montford’s collision with a deer only caused minor damage to his big touring Harley Davidson motorbike. Anna Robertson photo

Montford explained that his Harley Davidson Road Glide, one of the biggest touring bikes available, may have saved him. Before he bought the bike, people told him that his chances of surviving a collision with a deer were better with this model because the fairing, which protects a rider’s arms and is part of the windshield, is anchored to the frame. On other bikes the fairing turns with the steering and is harder to control in a collision with an animal, he explained.

“The deer hit the bottom right and then spun around, missed me, and then hit the back of the bike and that’s when the bike wobbled,” said Montford, describing the incident. Although the bike wobbled, Montford did not drop it which he said most likely would have happened on a smaller bike.

Montford said his saddlebag was “pulverized,” and his belongings were scattered all over the highway. The impact caused significant bruising to his lower right leg. Apart from that he was unharmed and was able to ride the rest of the way home after the incident. He estimates about $3000 worth of damage to his bike.

MRC des Collines police happened to be cruising past the area when they saw Montford and his bike on the road. They helped him gather his belongings and later delivered pieces of his broken bike to his house. Montford reported that police from both MRC des Collines and the Sûreté du Quebec told him he was lucky the crash wasn’t much worse. Montford said that he has often thought about the possibility of hitting a deer when night riding in the area, but, “never thought this would happen to me.” He added that although he has biked extensively over the years, including trips out to the west coast, he has never had as close a call as this one. For riders who do choose to ride at night he cautions be, “super careful.”

“Be really present. Be on the lookout and try to imagine what you would do [if you hit a deer],” he said.

For now riding is on hold and the bike is safely tucked away in Montford’s garage waiting for repairs. Reflecting on his good fortune Montford said, “I still can’t figure it out. It just wasn’t my time I guess.”

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