Bears Hit by Speeding Cars

July 31, 2020 Posted by: Yosemite Bear Team


Bear Crossing the Road
Black bear crossing the road. NPS photo.

In the last three weeks, at least four bears were hit by cars in Yosemite, at least two of which were killed. The two bears that survived were hit by drivers going faster than the 25 mph speed limit and were seriously injured and limping. We will never know the severity of their injuries. It is important to remember that while traveling in the park, the posted speed limits are not only there to protect people, but to also protect wildlife in areas where animals cross roads. Following posted speed limits may save the life of a great gray owl as it flies across the road, or a Pacific fisher as it runs across the road, both of which are endangered species. This easy action—slowing down—may also prevent you from hitting a bear eating berries on the side of the road, or a deer crossing with its fawn. While traveling through Yosemite, try to remember that we are all visitors in the home of countless animals, and it is up to you to follow the rules that are put in place to protect them.

Have you ever noticed the signs by the side of the road that say, “Speeding Kills Bears” with the image of a red bear on them? These signs mark the locations of bears where they have been hit by a vehicle this year, or where bears have been frequently hit in previous years. We take these signs down each winter and put them up as the accidents occur, hopefully as a reminder to visitors to slow down and keep a lookout for wildlife. If you do hit an animal while in Yosemite and need immediate ranger response, you can report it to the park’s emergency communication center at 209/379-1992, or by leaving a message on the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209/372-0322 if you believe that the animal is uninjured. You may also use the Save-A-Bear Hotline number to report non-urgent bear observations.

10 Comments Comments icon

  1. Yosemite National Park
    August 05, 2020 at 07:05

    Daron: In some cases, including some of these, the driver or witnesses indicated the vehicles were speeding. We don't assume limping bears have been injured by cars, but in the cases described here, the bears limped away from the scene after being hit by cars.

  2. Yosemite National Park
    August 05, 2020 at 07:04

    Larry: Texting while driving is illegal in Yosemite

  3. Yosemite National Park
    August 05, 2020 at 07:03

    Camille: Speed bumps have a pretty brief effect, but we do have some places with rumble strips adjacent to bear crossing signs. We do issue citations for speeding.

  4. Daron
    August 05, 2020 at 12:04

    What data do you have that shows these were speeding related incidents? How do you know speed was a factor? How have you determined that "limping" bears were subjected to vehicular accidents?

  5. Larry
    August 04, 2020 at 01:52

    Has texting while driving been prohibited in the park? Maybe that has been a contributing factor.

  6. Dans
    August 02, 2020 at 09:57

    Come on people... Really!?! This place is my little piece of heaven on Earth! I am so in love with Yosemite and everything that it encompasses! It's like being in another world. The animals there... this is their home and we are intruding on their space. So why should they have to look out for us? Why should their lives depend on us being responsible? This is so unfair to them! This is their home! Their habitat. This is like being invited into someone's home then destroying it! Rules are there for a reason!

  7. Rolando
    August 02, 2020 at 09:29

    is not just about the rangers, we have all the responsibilities,,, come on,, how stupid and almost impossible no to see an animal this size even a deer, please make your shelf more responsible so we can keep a better world for our shelfs, humanity is trying to send people to live in another planets, and we don't appreciate what we have here, our own stupidity have us blind, am Sad to be Honest, so simple don't Rush take time and make time. I know we all can be better and do better, I love ❤ Yosemite Areas. Is a hidden world. With majestic redwood trees and big mountain, keep you cigarette 🚬 inside your cars, is not so hard, we only live once lets appreciate to the maximum, and also care for the rest, and lets leave something nice to our next families or Generations. Please be kind and respectful 🙏.

  8. Daryl
    August 02, 2020 at 08:56

    I think that there should be more ranger presence on the roads in and around the valley as to deter people from speeding, or put up digital speed displays to show how fast they are going. I visited Yosemite a couple of weeks ago and experienced several cars speeding passed me to get to the eastern part of the park. The funny thing was that I got to curry village at almost the exact same time as a couple of the cars the sped passed me like a bat out of hell.

  9. Camille
    August 02, 2020 at 06:50

    Why don’t the rangers do something about this and deter people from speeding with more than just signs? Maybe speed bumps, someone issuing tickets, traffic cameras...? I was in Yosemite the first week of July and stopped in the parking lot at Sentinel Beach for a couple hours. I saw at least 10 cars speeding by during those two hours. There’s no consequences so these careless fools will continue to speed and kill bears. Period.

  10. Pam
    July 31, 2020 at 07:53

    We watched bear #32 over by The Ahwahnee for about an hour last weekend. Can you tell us a little history of this bear? It was fascinating to watch him/her in its natural habitat.

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Last updated: July 31, 2020

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