speeding up nature

While I know that most wild animals ultimately meet their fate roughly and with suffering, it's not something I want to see. Especially when it could have been avoided through two simple actions - controlling a pet or paying attention when behind the wheel. I hope I never have to see what I saw at the start of my ride again. I needed a few minutes to gather myself and ended up riding a lot harder then I'd planned. Simply because I was angry at what happened.

I was pedaling along Cheyenne Blvd, heading west for some fun in Stratton. I knew the trails would be super tacky and was looking forward to a fun ride if I could stay out of the rain. As usual when on the roads, I was paying attention to everything. I'd just seen two deer in someone's front yard, munching on flowers. I'd just gone thru the first of two lights on my way to the parking lot and was waiting for the first cars to pass me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something. A fawn, spots just barely faded, running like crazy thru the lawns on the south side of the street. In full on flight mode. That caught my attention and I turned to look at what was scaring the fawn. A huge white husky. Chasing like he was hunting for dinner - with dinner being the frightened fawn. Not sure of what was going on, or where the dog's owners were, I slowed just a little. A white car pulled up alongside of me, the driver absorbed in something. He wasn't paying attention to the drama unfolding on the other side of the road.

Then the drama took a different turn. The fawn turned northwards, leaving the protected environs of the lawns. I saw the fawn bolting into the street. There was no eastbound traffic, leaving only the car beside me and those behind it. Slow motion doesn't describe it. I watched as the fawn, hell bent to get away from the dog - a danger it recognized, only to dash into something far worse. And the thud as it hit the white car, shattering the mirror. It bounced off the side, onto the roof of the car. At my height, only feet from where I was riding. It flailed around on the roof and then slide off the drivers side and collapsed in the middle of the turn lane. I could almost hear it screaming in agony as it struggled to stand, hind legs wobbling and unable to fully support its weight. Finally, it regained its feet, limped across the street - only to collapse again in a lawn. By this time, the owners of the white husky had gotten control of the dog. I saw them talking to a lady with a black dog and a baby stroller, but then they vanished. The driver who hit the fawn went a little further west and turned around. I'm not sure what he was looking for - but he was more upset about the broken mirror then anything else. Then he saw the fawn and walked over - I think to take a picture to prove he'd hit a deer. The fawn, still freaked out and mostly likely suffering from significant internal injuries struggled to its feet and tried to run. I'm not sure how far it made it around the corner. And I'm sure that it won't make it through the night. The sound of impact echoed in my head for my entire ride. That and the realization that it could have been so different. I saw the fawn and had started to slow. But what if it had slid over the car? It would have slid right into me...

It would have been so easy for this to never happen. One - the dog owners actually having control of their animal. Why would you let your dog go chasing after an animal so close to a fairly busy road? If the fawn had made it across the road, the dog might not have. It's just me, but I would hope that people living in the urban wildlife interface would have the intelligence to actually train their animals to ignore the deer - or at least have good verbal control of them. And then there's the driver. I saw the fawn well before it bolted into the road. I know that I'm more aware when on my bike then when driving, but I also drive that stretch of road frequnetly. I know there's deer all over and that I need to be extra careful. I also don't speed through there and usually go a few miles below the speed limit so I have better reaction time. That close to the light, do you really need to be doing almost 40 mph all ready? Had he been aware of his surroundings and actually paying attention to driving, he would have had time to stop - or at least slow so the fawn could have made it across the street.


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