buffalo safety

YK2HR
Three days of open road, spinning and community

The golden rules of approaching bison on the highway are:​

  • Stop and wait if the bison is on the highway or the highway shoulder.
  • Stop and wait if the bison is off the highway or highway shoulder but are on both sides of the highway. This is rare as the bison herd tend to gather on one side of the highway.
  • If the bison herd is on the right side of the highway, move to the far left side of the highway and pass the herd cautiously. 
  • If the bison herd is on the left side of the highway, move to the far right side of the highway and pass the herd cautiously.
  • Keep cycling if the herd stampedes away as you approach. The herd will stop as soon as you pass you are no longer seen as a threat.

You will encounter bison during your ride. These animals are generally found in herds along the side of the highway between Kilometer 150 to Kilometer 250 of the ride.

Bison are habituated to cars and trucks and tend to ignore the vehicles. They seem to respond more to people on foot and their response to cyclists may be unpredictable.

From our collective experiences, bison will keep a wary eye on an approaching pack of cyclists and will either ignore the cyclists or stampede away. The theory is that a pack of cyclists may appear to be a pack of wolves because of their stealth and size.

Try to stay together if possible when approaching a bison. Do as you would when driving by keeping your distance, going slow and give them time.  Our guess is they will react to cyclists more readily than to cars, and move away – but they may simply move along in front.

You’re more likely to approach bison without them hearing you when on a bike so you could get too close before they are aware of your presence.  If you encounter bison and they don’t seem to be aware of you, make some noise to get their attention while still at a distance. Blowing by an animal that isn’t aware of you is a bad idea.

Calves are on the ground in May/June so be very wary of getting between a cow and her calf.