Motorcyclist who survived collision with deer urges provinces to act
A man who survived a horrific accident in which his friend was killed when a deer ran in front of four motorcycles believes Nova Scotia needs to do what New Brunswick has done to make highway safer for motorcyclists.
Jody Stokes’s life has changed dramatically in the last week as he recovers from serious friction burns, along with muscle and nerve damage to his legs and shoulder. He says he is uncomfortable -- and grateful -- at the same time.
He doesn't remember much about the accident, but what he does remember, he'll never forget.
“I just vividly see the deer,” Stokes says. “And I see it basically when he hits it.”
Four motorcycists were riding at the time, heading west on Nova Scotia’s Highway 103 near Ingramport, on June 18.
It was just before 10:30 p.m. and 49-year-old Wade Hall was leading the group, and hit the deer head on.
He died at the scene and all of it is surreal to Stokes, who slammed into his friend's bike.
“He's a beautiful person. I love him like a brother,” says Stokes, who was emotional during the interview. “I didn't feel like I was even going to do this interview, and when we talked, it was like, ‘I can't do this,’ and the reason I have to do it is I don't want anyone else to go through this.”
Although the government insists the number of deer hasn't changed much, many drivers are reporting otherwise.
Stokes and other bikers say cutting back brush along roads and highways would go a long way to improving visibility and reducing accidents.
Neighbouring New Brunswick has taken matters a step further.
“It's really interesting to look at areas like New Brunswick, where they've erected these fences along the highway, and essentially cut down on the animal crossings entirely,” said CAA Atlantic’s Julia Kent.
Stokes says you notice the difference when you’re driving through New Brunswick.
“You don't see deer everywhere lying on the side of the road,” he said.
Despite the pain and trauma he’s experiencing, Stokes insists he will ride his bike again. It’s something he says Hall would want him to do. He will also pay his respects to his friend at the celebration of life scheduled for Saturday in New Ross.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.