Fallow Deer Collides with Triathlon Competitor

The cyclist’s helmet was cracked, but he was able to complete the race.

A fallow deer strikes Shane O'Reilly (bottom right) during the 2016 Dublin City Triathlon. (Photo: Erik Scraggs/BBC News)

 

Photographer Erik Scraggs saw it coming long before any of the cyclists did. He was covering the Dublin City Triathlon in Dublin, Ireland, on Sunday when a herd of fallow deer made a run toward the line of bicycles. He never expected the deer to jump over the athletes to reach the other side of the road, but he trained his lens on the area to see what would take place.

That’s when Shane O’Reilly was hit by one of the deer. It’s unclear whether the impact of a flailing hoof or the fall from the bike caused the damage, but somehow O’Reilly’s helmet was cracked in the incident.

“The helmet definitely saved me,” O’Reilly told BBC News. “Apart from that, my shoulder was a bit sore and I had a headache.”

O’Reilly survived the collision and went on to finish the event in two hours and 25 minutes. He finished 28th overall in a field of 408 competitors.

The odds of this hit-and-run taking place were pretty good: There are 450-500 fallow deer in Phoenix Park, where the triathlon was held—practically one deer per athlete. The park is one of the largest walled parks in Europe, but even at 707 hectares, the deer have no choice but to live in close proximity to visitors.