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Grizzlies and Mountain bikes (Glacier NP fatality)

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  • Grizzlies and Mountain bikes (Glacier NP fatality)

    I will try to word this post carefully, with an effort to get the point across,
    without alienating the target audience. Please bring your patience along
    with you and leave your judgments at the parking lot.


    After talking to the Director in person on details, Glacier National Park
    advised that a US Forest Service LE Ranger/Officer-on a mountain bike- was killed by an adult
    male grizzly.
    The officer was off duty on a trail within a few miles of the West entrance to Glacier Park.
    He was traveling relatively fast rounding a curve, and actually hit the bear.

    Incident investigation and hair samples revealed it to be a male grizzly, age above 6 years old.
    The officer sustained two broken wrists as a result of the fall from the bike.
    A companion said the incident happened very quickly, and the bear left the scene.
    The bear felt threatened or attacked after being struck by the bike and rider. Efforts
    to locate the bear were unsuccessful.

    1. The trail was not paved-dirt and partial pebble surface.
    2. Excess speed-ahead of companion rider
    3. Speed did not allow for: full reaction to bear on trail

    Personal observations:
    A. Mountain biking should be confined to paved trails
    B. Grizzly habitat presents obvious dangers to bikers
    C. Tire noise on pebble trails limits hearing-speed limits reaction time
    D. "Share the road"-fine " Share the trail"- NO-not acceptable
    Mountain bikes are intrusive to hikers and biking should be restricted in or near
    national parks, wilderness areas or national forests
    E. Mountain biking should be classed with motorized all terrain vehicles and 4-wheelers

    Hiking, hunting, horseback riding in National Forests and Parks should be encouraged. In grizzly habitation areas:
    all wheeled conveyances, including mountain bikes-should be permanently banned.

    (Reaction: some reading this will think the writer has never owned or ridden a mtn bike. Not so-I sold my bike
    after this incident. I personally traveled the trails in Montana and realized my Interior Alaska stomping ground was no place
    to be blind sided by a bear; because of inattention, noise or hasty travel on a bike. AND-I was missing too
    much that was NOT missed hiking and camping. That's the way I see it. Many will disagree.)

  • #2
    Originally posted by old ephraim View Post
    Personal observations:
    A. Mountain biking should be confined to paved trails
    B. Grizzly habitat presents obvious dangers to bikers
    C. Tire noise on pebble trails limits hearing-speed limits reaction time
    D. "Share the road"-fine " Share the trail"- NO-not acceptable
    Mountain bikes are intrusive to hikers and biking should be restricted in or near
    national parks, wilderness areas or national forests
    E. Mountain biking should be classed with motorized all terrain vehicles and 4-wheelers

    Hiking, hunting, horseback riding in National Forests and Parks should be encouraged. In grizzly habitation areas:
    all wheeled conveyances, including mountain bikes-should be permanently banned.
    Interesting take. A few thoughts:

    A. Biking on paved trails is not mountain biking. That kind of misses the point of a mountain bike.
    D/E. I can understand restricting bikes to certain designated trails. Tires can damage trails by creating ruts, etc. But classifying them with ATVs? I think you'd have a hard time getting people to support that move, and for good reason.

    The risks of run-ins with bears are just one of many risks that should be considered and mitigated as much as reasonably possible. I've nearly run into a bear on my bike, but that hasn't changed my enjoyment of riding in the forests of Alaska. I do so either on trails that are specifically designated for such or in a way that is unobtrusive on the experience of other trail users.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like a knee jerk reaction to me. You could be simply running (on feet) and just as easy run into a bear with a kill or cub on the trail at any blind turn. I took care of a bear attack patient in Eagle River that had that happen to. Several years back we had a mother and son killed on a local trail running. Last year we had a teenager killed in a local cross country race. So maybe we should also not allow running on trails. It was not the wheels that caused the problem, it was going to fast to control the situation that stuff happens in life!!!. Do you have any ideal how much land is locked up in national parks/forests? For some that is the only nearby recreation area. Thanks for letting me hunt, but now ALL meat has to be packed out so unless I am very close to a road no big game animals, unless you don't mind the meat spoiling or getting eaten by animals as I make several trips to get it out. I have seen foot traffic destroy a lot of vegetation using shortcuts leading to erosion and trail damage closure. Once again it is not the tire it is the user. What is the extra cost to maintain Weather stations, Emergency shelters, Ranger stations, Relay towers, Fire towers and Trail/bridge maintenance, now that everything has to be taken in by foot or pack animal?? Please stop trying to save my live from something that is much less likely to happen than being struck by lighting!!!
      DENNY

      Comment


      • #4
        Totally the wrong outcome to come to. Banning mountain bikes on trails is definitely a knee-jerk reaction that does not address any actual factual data on the subject. Even our local buddy Sinnott who is very biased against biking in wildlife habitat such as areas around Anchorage has conducted studies that show that there are far more bear attacks on hikers/hunters/joggers than to bikers. He manages to find a way to spin it by limiting his sample parameters so it only encompasses a few specific events, but the raw data is out there.

        A. Mountain biking is not done on paved trails.
        B. Grizzly habitat poses hazards to ALL users, hikers, joggers, hunter more so than bikers.
        C. Tire noise and other bike noise helps to let the bear know someone is coming much more than a quiet hiker. You aren't going to hear a bear while walking anyway. Nice try though.
        D. Share-the-trail not acceptable? Since when? The trails are there for everyone. Yes, some specific trails may need certain restrictions on use to keep from damaging the trail, but users should be ready to share with other users even on different equipment.
        E. Mountain bikes are NOT even remotely similar to motorized vehicles.

        Comment


        • #5
          To the best of my knowledge the best way to not end up as bear crap is to not live in bear country. You can live in a secure locked house in bear country and have a bear gain entry into the house in any number of ways and eat you, it could also eat you when you are walking to your car, it could eat you when you get you your car that it was already inside. You could be in a boat in bear country and the bear could swim up to your boat, climb aboard and then eat you. You could live in a tree or under a tree in bear country and a bear could eat you. The only guaranteed way of not being turned into bear crap is to not live in bear country, but you better be sure not to go to a zoo with a bear or have a bear escape from a zoo near you because then that bear could also eat you, so even not living in bear country isn't a guarantee that you won't be bear crap at some point. The answer to the old adage is yes, bears crap in the woods they also crap outside out of the woods.

          In other news cars kill people, doctors kill people, cancer kills people, and sure tootin' living kills 100% of people to ever have dared to do so!
          “I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” Physicist ― Richard Feynman

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by old ephraim View Post

            Personal observations:
            A. Mountain biking should be confined to paved trails
            That will NEVER happen....

            You do realize that the whole reason that he got mauled was probably because he actually ran into the bear.....right? Freak things happen all the time. What would be the chance of somebody slammin' their bike into a bear again like that.....one in a million? Is that a good reason to ban mountain bikes in the mountains? You may as well just say people should be banned from walking in the woods as there's a potential for a bear encounter....

            As some have said here "knee jerk reaction" is an understatement to say the least...!!!
            Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              SMH........Lets all get along and respect other user groups.

              Comment


              • #8
                After doing a little more research, I have to laugh at this post even more. You claim you sold your bike after this event. So, after one fluke encounter, you come to the conclusion that bikes are so much more dangerous and need to be completely banned from these areas. You don't even feel safe riding one in that kind of area. How about these numbers. There have been 10 fatal bear maulings in Glacier National Park (remember, this one you referenced was actually outside of the park, so not part of those other 10). There have also been 6 fatal bear maulings in nearby Yellowstone. Of those 16, ZERO were related to biking. Those were all hikers, campers, or otherwise on foot. Based on those kinds of stats, I would think you would be more interested in selling your hiking boots and tent and buying a fleet of bikes.

                Face it, you are a hiker who does not like your serenity disturbed by us obnoxious bikers. That's fine, nothing wrong with that, but don't try to cherry-pick obscure incidents to justify removal of other user groups. Fortunately, those in charge of setting the regulations tend to see through these types of approaches.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Lived and worked full time at Old Faithful YNP, Bison and Elk would become agitated when a bike went by surrounded by hikers and runners, something about the bike that would trigger something. Saw it many times.

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                  • #10
                    I play in Glacier Park a lot... as do a million or more each year. The only issue I see with the Mt bikes is the fact that they travel ~10x faster than a hiker, and chances of surprising a bear over a rise or around a bend in the trail is significantly greater. Hikers are encouraged to make noise, talk, wear bells and so on. I am unaware of protocols for Mt bikers. But certainly, attaching something to the bike, that projects noise down the trail, makes a lot of sense to me... this will help, but never eliminate all encounters at the speeds these bikes can attain.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bobmikk View Post
                      . But certainly, attaching something to the bike, that projects noise down the trail, makes a lot of sense to me... this will help, but never eliminate all encounters at the speeds these bikes can attain.
                      When we grew up we used to put baseball cards in our spokes. Never ever surprised any bears, mountain lions, wolves or any other dangerous game and we put thousands of miles on our bikes. Not only did it keep away the bad guys, it sounded real cool too! On top of all that, the bubble gum was pretty good too. Blowing bubbles kept away the elephants we were told. Must of worked as we never saw any of them either.
                      Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                      WWG1WGA! QANON

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bobmikk View Post
                        I play in Glacier Park a lot... as do a million or more each year. The only issue I see with the Mt bikes is the fact that they travel ~10x faster than a hiker, and chances of surprising a bear over a rise or around a bend in the trail is significantly greater. Hikers are encouraged to make noise, talk, wear bells and so on. I am unaware of protocols for Mt bikers. But certainly, attaching something to the bike, that projects noise down the trail, makes a lot of sense to me... this will help, but never eliminate all encounters at the speeds these bikes can attain.
                        It is pretty standard practice thesedays for mountain bikers to have “bear bells” on their bikes to make noise tohelp reduce the chance of surprising animals. It also works well so other trail users can hear bikes coming.The sound of the bells on a bouncing bikecarry for a pretty good distance.Thebottom line though is that the actual data does not show that bikers are anymore likely to have a bad encounter with a bear than other users.In reality, bikes actually have fewerencounters for whatever reason.Itotally understand the theoretical logic that the faster speeds would increasepotential for surprising animals and leading to bad responses, but it just doesnot prove out in real life for whatever reason.

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