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Snakes on the roads - How to handle

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by ajrider, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Something I've seen an increase on the road this year (at least in my area) is snakes. Lots of dead ones. Also after seeing that KurtzKurtz has had a very nasty off with snakes involved I thought that it might be worth some more attention.

    Who's had experience with snakes on a bike, and what is the best way to handle them?

    I'm assuming that if you hit one in a corner whilst leaned over you're going to be in a lot of trouble? (Will they slide with the tire, or just slip whilst on them and regain traction)? I'm guessing on a straight provided I keep the bike upright I should be OK (unless it gets caught in the bike and get's angry)...

    Does anyone here have experience with snakes on a bike? (Sounds like a good name for a bad movie ;) )
  2. I had to google it...
  3. Carry a shotgun!
  4. Just carry an O.I.G. deploy when snake spotted, works every time
  5. Thanks guys - but I'm more concerned about loss of traction and what's likely to expect - or something that could cause the bike to be uncontrolled. (I'm guessing it's unlikely that the snake could get caught in the wheel enough to cause a skid on it's own, so loss of traction would be my primary concern. I'd deal with the soiled underwear a little later) ;)
  6. Never had the experience but I would think it would be akin to hitting a section of white line in the wet, slippery as and then a sudden cessation as you're past it. Maybe some blood and guts on your tyre but wouldn't imagine that would cause too many issues as it would wear off pretty quickly.
  7. Is that a still from that shitty movie "Snakes on a Chain"? :ROFLMAO:
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  8. That movie was great , especially the mountain bike scene

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  9. I'd be more concerned with hitting a wombat or roo.

    I've only run over snakes on dirt bikes. Had a couple of close calls on the road but never hit one and I've been riding for quite a while.

    You worry too much. Stop it!
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  10. Just dont go over 40kph ever, just in case
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  11. There's a difference between worrying, and been curious / interested. Why be so condescending?
  12. There was a bunch of us doing single track up near Bulahdelah, don't remember where I was in the group but the snake was very pissed off by the time I passed it. I was right next to it before I saw it, pulled the boot up as it struck out.No idea what type as it happened so fast. There was a lot about on that ride. Love to see then from a reasonable distance, not so keen up close. That ride was a one off, hardly ever see any.
  13. Cheers Zim. I figure that a chance encounter of a live one is likely to be slim, and even so - I'd hope that the clothes I wear would protect from a strike.

    I'm more interested if anyone's ever rode over one - in regards to traction, or loss their of. (Either alive or dead). The only person I know of so far (on road, not dirt bikes) was Kurtz who doesn't really remember what happened, but it made me curious as to whether snakes could roll with the tire / spill their guts creating slippery surface or in any other way lose more traction or balance than I first envisaged.
  14. Saw a very large snake once when riding my Dirt Bike on private property with the kids, pulled up the bike in such a short distance i didnt know was even possible, there was no way i was running over it,

    Lots of rev bombs and gesticulations (before action cams thankfully) had it turned around and away from our riding area.
  15. I have hit and dodge a few, probably come across 30 or so this year (mostly Browns). I have run over a couple on corners, which is about the only time I hit them as they come up quickly, each time the bike hasn't moved or if anything, it's just a small skip.

    Even though I wear jeans and high boots, my natural reaction is to lift my feet as quick as lightning, which tends to throw me off line slightly; no matter how many times I play this scenario out in my head and I know my lower legs are protected, I still sh1t myself and lift my feet.
    Generally, on straight sections of tar, I can spot them from a fair distance, so I usually ride around them and they get a fair old wiggle on to get out of there also.
    Probably more chance of stepping on one, when I pull up for a rest on the edge of a country road.

    As with most, I've heard to story of a motorcyclist running over the tail end of a snake and it flinging up across the seat...... B.S I think, but maybe 'Mythbuster's' could test it?

    If you ride over one, I have been told, generally it breaks their back, even though it can still take off, it will most probably die soon.

    Lately, (twice in the past fortnight) I've encountered Deer on the road, just on dusk, which worries me more.
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  16. Have run over two.

    1st was a red-belly doing the dash over hot road in Whitsundays. He was not a huge one, and was straight lining so hit it at 90 degrees. First reaction of a snake is to strike, so I'm sure my feet were over the handlebars very quickly - no handling problems and think doing the speed limit (100) was quick enough for the bike to pass over it without it wrapping around the rear.

    2nd was a python at night in Port Douglas. Was behind a car at 60 which suddenly swerved so I naturally did the same. I swung over to the RH side of road and know I ran over it on some sort of lean. There was no slip or loss of traction - just a bump. He was knackered after car and bike so put it out of it's misery. Nothing like a 7 foot python to scare the b'jesus out of a few mates :)
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  17. I've gone over a few on a straight line (accidentally) but not around a corner. Natural involuntary reaction once the brain calculates its a snake and not a stick is legs up and fast. Your brain would probably make you do the same mid-corner which would be bad. Ran over one on my push bike recently - much more scary. Legs tried to go up but "clip-on" shoes wouldn't let that happen. Snake was already flat so I wasn't bitten, change of jocks and all was good again.

    Passed a huge red-belly black about a year ago on the side of the road. It was still alive so I tried moving it off the road without getting bitten. Bloody thing wouldn't move and I couldn't find a stick long enough to push it off the road. I ended up working out it did not like the sound of my bike revving up. So backed my bike towards it (in gear and ready to drop clutch in case it turned), revved the shit out of Ducati and the snake very slowly slid off the road. Not sure if snakes can hear (never seen one with ears) but I guess the vibrations get them moving.
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  18. Good technique, it was believed that they picked up vibration with their body but now science says snakes hear through their jaws. Factoid of the Day :)

    ABC Science
  19. Got this message from a USA buddy:

    First things first. When it's hot out, snakes don't linger on roads. In cool weather, snakes bask on paved surfaces, and that's when they present a problem. On cool, sunny days, snakes will continue to bask on paved roads well after sunset.
    Next, when snakes are dark coloured and not too long, they can easily be mistaken for a small branch or other tree debris.
    When exclusively land dwelling snakes are caught out in heavy rain, they head to high ground. The closest road is often high enough, both during and after storms.

    A little background. I've done most of my riding while engaged in law enforcement activities in Texas, as an accident reconstruction. There are a lot of snakes in Texas, including rattlesnakes that exceed three m length and that are often are as fat as a soccer ball. Such snakes are easy to spot, but as a rule of thumb be advised that many snakes, when coiled, can strike up to 50% of their overall length.

    My first encounter was in Big Bend NP, on a very twisty park road while traveling at approximately 60MPH (100KPH). I saw the snake when about 50m away, and was already committed to my line through the left hand curve. My dad was behind and he claimed I hopped up on the seat when I passed the snake, which knowing me, isn't as improbable as it sounds. I'm terrified of snakes and rarely act rationally around them (very bad encounter as a kid, sorry). Anyway, rattlers are pit vipers and strike at heat blooms, so this one probably went for the engine. The impact was on the front outside corner of left saddlebag, and there were remnants of fangs in the plastic. I did not hit the snake with tyres, so did not slide.
    This past summer I hit a small rattler in Montana on a new R1200GS/LC. Tyres, Michelin Road Pilot 4 Trails with about 1200km on them. The rear slid out enough to get a pucker alert going. Gentle curve, speed quite illegal. I had about zero reaction distance in heavy smoke from forest fires.

    Conclusion? If you hit a big enough snake in a committed curve, you might very well lose it. You should avoid at all costs running over a snake in a curve, especially with your "downhill" side more exposed. Snakes will strike at moving vehicles. They're generally stupid, but mean.

    Aggressive scanning for suspicious debris during certain conditions is warranted.

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  20. Seen many on my rides, It would be the same as running over a small branch, It will roll under the wheels, Causing you to slip sideways a bit,
    Possibly an off if your laid right over and going quickly,
    Just change your line and dont run over them,
    Normally they will lay there and not bother you, Unless you stop and start annoying them,
    Their spines break very easily, Then only the front half from the break can move, The back half is Kaput and wont move except for nerves,
    Its highly unlikely that they will bite you through your boots,

    Dont stop and play with them, They can strike exceptionally fast for a stick thats just laying there,
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