Senior Editor
Canadian cyclist after t-boning black bear

Kevin Milner has a fractured scapula, a cardiac contusion, a few bruised ribs, and a bit of road rash after hitting a black bear. Photos: YouTube/CBC

The Inertia

If you live in Vancouver or some of the surrounding areas, it’s not uncommon to spot a black bear bumbling its way around, snuffling its way along from garbage can to garbage can or blackberry bush to blackberry bush. The chances of seeing one rises, of course, when you head up a trail into the woods somewhere. And Kevin Milner, a cyclist who was riding a paved trail called the Seymour Demonstration Forest Road in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve got a really good look at one when he t-boned it.

Milner, who is 30 years old, was out riding as the sun was setting on Tuesday night. It was around 8:30 in the evening as he sped downhill, presumably on his way home. As he rounded a corner, he saw the black bear. He realized quickly he could either slam on the brakes and stop right in front of it or swerve around it. He chose the latter.

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

Milner landed hard and the bear, likely a little startled as getting t-boned by a bike was likely not something he expected, disappeared into the thick bush beside the trail. Milner fared worse than the bear. “Man, those bears are built like a truck,” Milner said. “I thought I was going to die.”

Luckily, the trail wasn’t empty and a few other cyclists soon came upon him. Two of them went to an area with cell service to call 911 for help while another man on an e-bike stayed with Milner. But before help arrived, the bear decided to return to check things out. “He was like, ‘Oh shit, dude. He’s back. The bear’s back,’” Milner said.

Black bears are naturally curious and not dangerous unless cornered or protecting their cubs. The problem, though, is that hikers can accidentally get between a sow and her cubs, and that’s when issues can arise. This bear wasn’t interested in getting revenge or Milner’s information for insurance purposes, though.

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

Milner wasn’t in good shape — according to The North Shore News, he was “spitting up blood and worried he’d suffered internal injuries, but he couldn’t walk or even lift his leg up.”

So Milner convinced the Good Samaritan on the e-bike decided to lend him his wheels and rode to the trail head. “The thing rips, man,” he laughed.

An ambulance met Milner, loaded him up, and took him to the hospital. They kept him for a night, just to make sure he was okay. He didn’t ride away from the accident unharmed. With a fractured scapula, a cardiac contusion, a few bruised ribs, and a bit of road rash, it’ll be a while before he’s back to 100 percent.

“It feels like the whole left side of my torso went to the dentist,” he said. “…I’m just really, really glad to be alive. It’s like the most Canadian, North Vancouver thing that could ever happen.”


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