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“It’s probably safer riding with cars”: Cyclist seriously injured after crashing into black bear on forest trail

“The reason I rode in the forest is just to get away from the traffic, right? I’m just really glad to be alive”

A cyclist says he’s lucky to be alive after suffering serious injuries when he crashed straight into a black bear while descending a forest trail – which he had chosen for his evening ride to avoid cycling in traffic on the road.

Kevin Milner, a 30-year-old cyclist from North Vancouver, a Canadian city famous for its hiking, cycling, and skiing trails, was riding on the paved Seymour Valley Trailway on Tuesday evening, at around 8.30pm, when he spotted a black bear as he exited a corner on a descent, North Shore News reports.

Faced with a split-second decision between slamming on his brakes or trying to ride around the animal, Milner’s evasion attempt was, unfortunately for him, mirrored by the startled bear.

“The second I made that decision, he decided to run, and he ran right across the road, right in front of me and I smashed into him right behind his shoulder blade,” he told the local newspaper.

“I did a flip over him. I pretty much kissed the bear and then I guess I flew through the air.”

> “Everyone was shaking”: Montana cyclists survive close encounter with grizzly bear

As the bear fled off the path, the cyclist – who landed hard on his side – was aided by an e-bike rider, who stayed with him while two other cyclists tried to find phone reception to call for help.

However, as Milner lay on the path injured, around 15 minutes later, the bear returned, seemingly uninjured, prompting the e-bike rider to attempt to protect the stricken cyclist.

“He was like, “Oh s***, dude. He’s back. The bear’s back,” the 30-year-old said. “Man, those bears are built like a truck. I thought I was going to die.

“He was kind of looking at me, really curious, kind of like, ‘What’s up with you?’ Then the bear just started eating grass. He pretty much just carried on with his day.”

Desperate to get away from the bear, and despite spitting blood and being unable to walk or lift his leg, Milner persuaded his fellow cyclist to let him borrow his e-bike.

Riding to the entrance of the forest, the cyclist was met by paramedics, who took him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated overnight for multiple injuries, including a fractured scapula, cardiac contusion, bruised ribs, road rash, and numbness.

“It feels like the whole left side of my torso went to the dentist,” he says.

> Grizzly bear that killed bikepacking cyclist in Montana shot dead 

The 30-year-old also noted that he has been cycling on the rugged trails of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve his entire life, but that his close encounter with a bear may change his riding habits.

“The reason I rode in the forest is just to get away from the traffic, right?” he said. “But after hitting the bear, I mean, it’s probably safer just riding with cars.

“I’m just really, really glad to be alive. It’s like the most Canadian, North Vancouver thing that could ever happen.”

> Cyclist in Canada puts in "once-in-a-lifetime sprint" as she is chased by grizzly bear 

As we’ve reported on road.cc over the years, encounters between cyclists and bears are fairly common on the mountain trails of North America.

Last May, we reported that group of cyclists, including children, in Montana’s Rocky Mountains were forced to barricade themselves behind their bikes on the side of the road as a grizzly bear ambled by.

In 2021, a bikepacking cyclist was killed by a grizzly at a campsite in Montana, around 150 miles from the group’s close encounter.

Leah Davis Lokan, a 65-year-old nurse from Chico, California, was dragged from her tent and mauled to death during the attack in the small town of Ovando in July. The bear was killed after a three-day search.

In 2019 a Canadian woman said that she had to put in “a once-in-a-lifetime sprint” to get away from a grizzly as it pursued her in the Yukon.

Two years earlier in Alberta, Canada, a heavily laden touring cyclist was unaware that he was being stalked by a bear as he rode slowly uphill, until a pick-up truck driver alerted him to the danger and, with the help of another motorist, managed to shepherd the rider to safety.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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25 comments

Avatar
brooksby | 1 year ago
2 likes

This would have all been fine if only he (the rider) had just offered up his pickernick basket...

Avatar
wtjs | 1 year ago
1 like

I've had 2 very close encounters with black bears (with a grizzly, I understand that you've had it) and I was lucky that they were both surprised and ran away- I had hit one on the muzzle with a lucky stone throw.

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 1 year ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

I've had 2 very close encounters with black bears (with a grizzly, I understand that you've had it) and I was lucky that they were both surprised and ran away- I had hit one on the muzzle with a lucky stone throw.

You threw a stone at a bear?

Avatar
fenix | 1 year ago
2 likes

So the guy crashed his bike into a bear and then persuaded an e biker to give him his e bike? Presumably whilst the e biker stayed at the scene with Mr very annoyed bear ? Wow. Smooth talker !

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Rendel Harris replied to fenix | 1 year ago
2 likes

fenix wrote:

So the guy crashed his bike into a bear and then persuaded an e biker to give him his e bike? Presumably whilst the e biker stayed at the scene with Mr very annoyed bear ? Wow. Smooth talker !

It's not directly mentioned but I assume the ebiker accompanied the injured rider on the bike he'd been riding; otherwise, yes, give that man asales position!

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
6 likes

Why oh why oh why wasn't the bear, self-confessed to be wearing black clothes, in hi-viz?  And probably a helmet.

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HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes

Quote:

Desperate to get away from the bear, and despite spitting blood and being unable to walk or lift his leg, Milner persuaded his fellow cyclist to let him borrow his e-bike.

Another strong argument for throttles on e-bikes.

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Sredlums replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
1 like

I really hope you are joking. It would be pretty lame joke, but it's better than the alternative.

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HoarseMann replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
0 likes

Sredlums wrote:

It would be pretty lame joke

There's more where that came from!

All a bit moot in the UK, as full throttles are legal (if you jump through a couple of hoops).

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Sredlums replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
3 likes

Just save yourself the hassle and get a motor bike or a moped. Why pretend you are a cyclist?

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HoarseMann replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
1 like

I'm easy either way with throttles. There are advantages, particularly for those who have disabilities, who might be able to pedal a bit but are unsure for how long.

I'm surprised how against them some people are. Throttles have been legal in the UK since the EAPC law was rolled out in 1983.

There was a three year period between 2016 and 2019 where new bikes could not be sold with a throttle, due to the EU law - but the UK government found a way around it with the twist & go 250W LPM single vehicle approval process.

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Sredlums replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
0 likes

I am not 'against throttles', I am against calling something with a throttle (and thus no need to pedal) a bicycle, and have it fall under the rules for bicycles.

They are not bicycles, nd shouldn't be treated as such.

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HoarseMann replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
0 likes

Well, in the UK they are a bicycle and have been since 1983.

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Rendel Harris replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
3 likes

Sredlums wrote:

I am not 'against throttles', I am against calling something with a throttle (and thus no need to pedal) a bicycle, and have it fall under the rules for bicycles.

They are not bicycles, nd shouldn't be treated as such.

I'm never quite sure why anyone would bother getting exercised over whether or not ebikes are called bicycles, in what way does it impose on anyone else or their pleasure in cycling? Anyway, it's worth bearing in mind that throttles are of great benefit to elderly and disabled riders who find it difficult to get started up quickly; it makes them much safer when pulling away from traffic lights and other stops. Many only use the throttle for this and use the pedal assist the rest of the time. Is it okay to call something with a throttle a bicycle if the throttle is only used 5% of the time? In terms of not allowing a bike with a throttle to fall under the rules for bicycles, do you really want the aforementioned elderly and disabled riders for whom throttles are a boon to have to wear compulsory motorcycle helmets, have numberplates, MOTs and insurance just for a little addition which doesn't make them go any faster?

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Sredlums replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

First, let's keep this discussion clear. I never said ebikes should not be called bicycles. I said an ebike that does not require pedalling is not a bicycle.

And 'the elderly', always 'the elderly'. Remember when ebikes were introduced, and their main selling point was 'they are great for the elderly'? How did that work out? Even kids are now demanding ebikes to ride to school, because 'all the other kids have one too', and even young and healthy people ride ebikes.
And now those throtles are for 'the elderly', supposedly, but you know damn well who will eventually ride those things without ever pedalling: youth. They'll ride them like motorbikes, fast and without much care for anything.

So, I say, let's only allow them for the elderly and disabled people, if it helps them. Problem solved.
 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Sredlums | 1 year ago
2 likes

Sredlums wrote:

First, let's keep this discussion clear. I never said ebikes should not be called bicycycles.

Well, I think that's a silly name and we should never refer to ebikes as bicycycles

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mark1a replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

Sredlums wrote:

First, let's keep this discussion clear. I never said ebikes should not be called bicycycles.

Well, I think that's a silly name and we should never refer to ebikes as bicycycles

or indeed bycles (qv daily blog ages ago).

 

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fenix replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes

Well we don't have black bears in the UK so no need for throttles on e bikes then ? Sorted.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
11 likes

"kissed the bear"

Sounds like a phrase I would need to look up on urban dictionary.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
6 likes

A " black bear"

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mctrials23 | 1 year ago
9 likes

The fact the bear returned to the scene later should be taken into account during his sentencing. He shouldn't have fled the scene but its good that he composed himself and came back to check on the cyclist. 

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chrisonabike replied to mctrials23 | 1 year ago
15 likes

"I may have had couple of stiff kilos of fermenting berries to settle my nerves when I got back to my lair", the bear told police at the scene.

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mark1a replied to mctrials23 | 1 year ago
9 likes

Probably had an urgent need to defecate in a nearby wooded area. 

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SimoninSpalding replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
2 likes

Do they do that?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
1 like

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