Frisky deer bring risk of road crashes

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Motorists in Milngavie and Bearsden have been warned to be alert to avoid hitting frisky deer.

At this time of the year, young roe bucks head out in search of their own terrirories and a mate - causing a spike in the number of car collisions.

The Bearsden and Milngavie areas have a high population of ‘urban’ deer, and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) want motorisrs to be on the lookout.

Along with Transport Scotland, they have erected new signs warning drivers of the dangers of collision on roads, including the M8 and A720.

Signs will be displayed until May 15 - covering the time when most accidents occur.

It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents every year in Scotland, on average causing about 70 human injuries. The economic value of these accidents is £5million. Across the UK, it’s estimated there are between 42,000 and 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 20 deaths, with a cost of over £17m.

Jamie Hammond, SNH Deer Management Officer, said: “The number of deer is increasing in some parts of Scotland, particularly in the Central Belt and around our towns and cities as more green space and woodlands are created. These provide ideal habitats for roe deer, leading to more accidents.

“Because of this, I’d advise drivers to be more aware than ever of the risks of deer on our roads. Many people think most accidents with deer occur on remote Highland roads, but more and more this is something we should be aware of around urban areas.

“At this time of the year, we’d caution motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic. Be particularly alert if you’re driving near to woodland areas where deer can suddenly appear before you have time to brake. If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.”

Tips given to drivers to minimise deer strikes include include trying not to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a deer as a collision into oncoming traffic could be even worse, only breaking sharply and stopping if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic and trying to come to a stop as far away from the animals as possible to allow them to leave the roadside without panic.

SNH also recommends that after dark, drivers use full-beams when there is no oncoming traffic, as this will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and give motorists more time to react.

Drivers are urged not to approach an injured deer themselves as they could be dangerous.

The rise in urban deer populations in Milngavie and Bearsden has also caused an increase in poaching - particularly on golf courses, where horrified golfers and walkers have reported finding the blood spattered remains of butchered animals.