Questions about squirrels

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Anonymous's picture

I'm writing a short article for The New Yorker (“The Talk of the Town” section) on squirrel etiquette and biking, i.e. what to do when you encounter a squirrel when you're riding your bike. There seems to be some debate about whether or not to head straight for them (because they usually get out of the way) or to swerve and risk other accidents--not to mention possibility of hitting the squirrel al the same, right?). I'd love to hear from bike afficionados to interview--opionions or anecdotes welcome. Are there squirrel experts in the biking community? Are there particular spots and times of year where squirrels are likeliest to pose risks? Etc.

Thanks very much!
Eric Konigsberg
[email protected]

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)

"Here's an old thread with a few anecdotes."

Anonymous's picture
rossp (not verified)
wildlife in CP

Haven't come across squirrels on the road in Central park but the raccoons are alive and well - missed one by inches on Monday night and missed two by a few feet last night! I'm not looking forward to meeting three at once... :-)

Anonymous's picture
xxx (not verified)

squirrels 'usually get out of the way'????? noooo I don't think so.

squirrels 'usuallly' do whatever it is that you hope they won't do or conversely, they won't do whatever it is you have, against hope, calculated they in that case probably will do.... ie, if you come away from a potential encounter with a squirrel unscathed, offer something up to the heavens. (or your choice of venue/propitiary force)

the best thing to do when confronted with a squirrel is to slow down, come to a stop, and wait until the demented little bugger has completely disappeared into the underbrush. even then, be cautious when you remount and slowly get going again.

I'm almost serious.

Anonymous's picture
D (not verified)

When encountering a squirrel, bird, or other woodland creature it is best to adopt the techniques of racecar drivers. If the animal is in your path, continue to head directly toward it. It will move. Squirrels are squirrelly and if they see you swerving will swerve to avoid you. And then you will collide.

Anonymous's picture
Christian (not verified)

I once experienced this in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution rally car with a deer. Cost the sponsors about $30,000 and the technicians a week's worth of cleaning.

So I don't really recommend it.

Squirrels, I swerve. Bunnies, I hop.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Dave Sabbarese (not verified)

"It is the squirrel's obligation to avoid any and all vehicles in the roadway, not that of the driver/rider. They never obey any traffic signs or lights, so frigg 'em! I recently ran over a squirrel in Central Park twice. I got him w/ my front wheel and again w/ my rear wheel, an unprecendented ""daily double"" for me. Apparently, they have very flexible vertabrae, becuase he ran off and didn't appear to be seriously injured. I can only hope that he learned something from his unfortunate gaffe."

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)

The squirrels, and pigeons, that miraculously scamper away after being run over may not be okay. I fear, while not knowing, that they die soon thereafter, presuming no medical attention. Organs are crushed, bones are broken, but in the heat of the moment - under the influence of adrenaline - they are able to get away. But probably not for long.

Anonymous's picture
Stan the Squirrel (not verified)
The squirrel rights movement

"Since a rider with poor bike-handling skills is routinely described as ""squirrelly"", perhaps you could interview members of the animal welfare movement about the blatant and rabid anti-squirrelism in the cycling community."

Anonymous's picture
Chris T. (not verified)
Your friendly furry Rodent
Anonymous's picture
el jefe (not verified)
more rodents
Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)


Anonymous's picture
Wayne Wright (not verified)
No squirrels .... yet

I can't provide any helpful info here. I've only hit two rats, a dog and two pedestrians while cycling. Sorry about that...

Anonymous's picture
alan resnick (not verified)

"They have their name""squirrels"" and a bike rider who is erratically ""not smooth"" is called a squirelly rider.
Over the last 37 years I have hit 11 squirrels; all in Central Park; as well as 2 pigeons! Of most interest were the 2 I hit in one week -believe Sept of 2-4 years ago amidst all the summer talk of mosquitos carrying some bad disease-I think it got into the squirrel food cahin!!
Anyway-squirrel safety-ride straight- DO NOT SWERVE and hold the bars a bit tighter-you can't outguess them(they are squirelly) so if you go straight you hit them with a straight wheel-not on off at an angle !"

Anonymous's picture
banky (not verified)

I aimed at a squirrel in my path one day last year in Central Park and he stopped moving. I hit him. Had some convulsions and then ran off into the grass. I could not find him to see if he was o.k.

Aim behind them!

Anonymous's picture
jonathan friedman (not verified)

I once was going rapidly downhill and saw a squirrel sitting still. I steered to the left, and the squirrel remained still until the very last instant when he darted directly at me, apparently trying to go through the seemingly transparent, rapidly turning spokes in my front wheel. He seemed just to bounce off without having been caught in the spokes at all. He sat there stunned and confused for a second, apparently unhurt, but trying to regain his bearings, and then he headed off in the opposite direction across the road.

Now, I try to yell out noises beforehand and it seems to catch the squrrels' notice in time. On yelling, I haven't had to slow down, but sometimes it's disconcerting to others when I'm riding with a group of cyclists, who think I may be planning to slow down.

Anonymous's picture
ASPCA (not verified)
"Look no further... NYCC has so many ""Animal"" members (nm)"
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