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Bikers + Wildlife = Roadrash

Posted on November 16, 2012

J.R. AbsherWhether your choice of two-wheeled transportation is the motorized or pedaled variety, when you add wildlife to the mix—be prepared for some serious road-rash!

Alaskan Hit & Run

An Alaskan motorcyclist reported having a run in with a bear — and we mean a run in, literally. Garrett Edgmon told Alaska State Police he was traveling on a rural highway near Anchorage when a black bear ran across the road and smacked into the side of his motorcycle, knocking him from the bike.

Motorist Scott Hanson, who was driving on the same road and witnessed the incident, said the bear ran out of the forest and across the road, hitting Edgmon’s motorcycle.

“I saw the expression on the bear’s face,” Hanson told the Anchorage Daily News. “If a bear could look surprised, he looked surprised. He did a little flip and landed on his feet and then stepped over the side railing and disappeared into the woods.”

Hanson said he stopped to see if Edgmon needed help and called 911 to report the accident. He said Edgmon fell sideways off his bike toward the middle of the road, hitting his elbows and rolling onto his hip. He was wearing a helmet and did not injure his head.

“He was saying: ‘Did you see that? Did you see that bear?’“ Hanson said.

The officer investigating the accident said clumps of fur were found on the motorcycle, which was totaled.

Edgmon was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.

“I thought this stuff happened all the time in Alaska,” joked Hanson.

Biker Versus Buzzard

A turkey vulture that apparently was enjoying too much of a good thing near Wyoming’s Interstate 25 became what it normally favors—roadkill—at the expense of a surprised (and very messy) motorcyclist.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Bloom, the bloated buzzard had been gorging itself all day on a nearby cow carcass. When it attempted to fly across the Interstate, it was so full of carrion that it couldn’t gain altitude, the trooper said.

“As the (biker) came by, the turkey buzzard schmucked him in the face. It slobber-knocked him--that’s the only word for it,” Bloom wrote in his report. “The only thing that saved him from having a shattered face was that he had a full-face helmet on.”

The motorcyclist, Rodney Mason of El Paso, Texas, was able to maintain control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle for a few hundred feet before going to its side in the median. Mason was wearing leather boots and chaps, which protected him from serious sliding scrapes.

“If he had not been wearing his helmet, I’m sure it would have knocked him right off his bike,” Bloom said.

Bloom said Mason’s fiancé, who was following on another motorcycle, was “sprayed with putrid meat from the bird” after the collision. Mason was treated for minor “road rash” and released from the hospital that night.

Trooper Bloom pronounced the over-indulgent buzzard dead at the scene.

Grizzly Attacks Wyoming Cyclist

A Wyoming mountain biker considered himself lucky to be alive after a battle with an attacking grizzly bear. Kirk Speckhals escaped his attack physically unscathed; he had only four dirt marks from the bear’s claws on his forearm, a punctured bicycle tire and a bent rim.

Speckhals and a riding companion, said the grizzly was persistent and backed away only after the pair emptied nearly two full cans of bear spray deterrent into the bruin’s eyes. Speckhals gave credit to his partner, who carried an extra can of spray on his hip, for saving his life.

“I was on the ground with the bear on top of me,” Speckhals told a local newspaper covering the incident. “I was waiting for a bone-crunching bite. I was ready to die.”

The attack occurred at Togwotee Pass near Jackson, in the Yellowstone /Teton area of Wyoming, an area well known for its grizzlies.

Speckhals used his bicycle as a weapon to fight off the bear as it “charged six or seven times.”

“Finally, he grabbed my bike out of my hands,” Speckhals said. “He started stomping on it.”

A seasoned outdoorsman and ski patroller by trade, Speckhals, 46, said in the future he’ll always ride close together with companions while in grizzly country and make noise to scare bears.

Oh yeah, and there’s the pepper spray.

“You want the BIG can,” Speckhals said.