Kevin Milner was rounding a corner along a paved trail in North Vancouver when he was faced with a split-second decision. There was a bear on the trail ahead and he could either try to bike past the black bear, or brake and stop right next to the bear. Miller decided to take a chance and opted to try to swerve past the bear—to no avail.
Before Milner knew it, the bear decided to run directly into his path, and they collided. “It was like hitting a brick wall,” Milner told the Vancouver Sun. “The force of it sent me flying through the air…I’ve spent so much time in the bush seeing bears while hiking, I just never thought I’d run into one.”
Milner crashed into the bear’s shoulder and flew through the air. A passerby named Sam stayed with Milner on the trail, while two other riders went to get cell service to call an ambulance. While Milner and Sam waited, the bear came back and reportedly started to show a lot of curiosity. Sam began yelling at the bear. Shortly after that, Milner borrowed Sam’s E-Bike and road the edge of the reserve to meet the ambulance.
At the hospital, Milner was treated for a fractured scapula, cardiac contusion, bruised ribs, and road rash. Milner told the North Shore News, that the left side of his torso felt like it “went to the dentist.” He is now recovering at home.
As for the bear, it is reportedly okay. Milner told CTV News that the whole ordeal seemed like a “minor inconvenience” for the animal. It resumed eating grass on the side of the paved trail following the collision.
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In North Vancouver, where the incident occurred, collisions with wildlife in the area are not unheard of. “Collisions like this can occur on mountain bike trails in the forests, especially when riders are fast and quiet,” the North Shore Black Bear Society explained in a Facebook post. “However, if riders made more noise, particularly around corners, the likelihood of a surprise encounter would be reduced.”
According to the Adventure Cycling Association, a bicyclist is more likely to be killed by a car backing up in a parking lot than a black bear. Still, Milner is a bit shaken by the experience. “The reason I rode in the demonstration forest is just to get away from the traffic, right?” he told North Shore News. “But after hitting the bear, I mean, it’s probably just safer riding with cars.”