pwa wrote: I slid into a black bullock while descending on a dark lane on my bike. I had good lights and wasn't going fast, but the bullock looked like a shadow, not a 3D object, until I saw the light in its eyes. So yes, it is easy to misread what you see in the dark if you are looking at something dark against a dark background. You think you are looking at one thing, then suddenly you realise it is something else.
My only accident in recent years was very similar. A black bovine stood sideways on across the lane, under trees between tall hedges with rising ground behind it so there was neither any skyline nor close background. My lights were showing the hedges and the lane surface, with just darkness dead ahead. When the animal appeared out of that darkness (it's hooves appeared first, showing against the surface) I had time to brake and stop before hitting it - but my rear wheel slipped in some cow exhaust and I fell off into some more.
Sounds like two people going too fast to be able to see and their brains have enough time to process.figure out what it was.
Like some have done a fair bit of riding on unlit roads, as far back as the 80s for me as a teen, but many tens of thousands of driving in the hours of darkness including commuting through countryside that had a tendency for animals to be in the middle of the road. The only time I've ever come close to hitting something was whilst driving and it was a deer at the brow of a hill, that was my fault, I was going too fast for the conditions such that I didn't have enough time to process what was in front of me, just like your mad cows.
We try to kid ourselves that actually it's not our faults, but really it is, that is the whole point of that statement in the HC, one of, if not the most important, it's meant to keep us safe, it's meant to keep others safe whether that be another human being or an animal.
When we 'need' other things to be lit up or wearing a certain colour that may or may not aid us, then we are on that slippery slope of failing to grasp that some things just won't be, that we need a certain amount of time to process information and need to be more aware and slow down to give us that thinking time and a bit more leeway to boot. Getting drawn into the everything needs to be lit up it can so easily and often does end up with people coming a cropper.