Report into incident in Montana last summer.
A report details how a Montana Forest Service law enforcement officer was killed by a grizzly bear after a bike collision with animal.
In June last year Brad Treat was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear after accidentally encountering the bear on a bike trail and surprising and colliding with the bear.
Full speed impact
According the a report into the incident published this week, Treat and a friend were mountain biking on the Outer Trail of the Green Gate Trails in the Flathead National Forest sometime around 2pm.
Treat was leading and went into a blind curve at approximately 20-25mph. On the exit of this curve was the bear. There was no sign of skidding or evasive steering, indicating that Treat impacted the bear at full speed.
The impact through Treat over his bars and onto or over the bear. Treat broke both wrists and a shoulder blade in the collision.
Treat’s riding partner reported hearing the impact and heard the bear yowl “like it was hurt”. Treat’s friend rode around the curve and was met with the sight of the bear standing over Treat who was lead on the ground. Treat’s companion reported spending around 30 seconds wondering what to do. The bear was focussed on Treat and did not seem to notice the arrival of his companion.
Search for help
Treat’s companion turned around and decided to go and look for help because he did not feel he could help get the bear away from Treat.
The companion eventually found a vehicle on Highway 2 (approx 1 mile from the scene of the crash). A 911 call was logged at 2:52pm.
Investigators found Treat at the site of the incident. His helmet was beside his body and had been bitten in pieces by the bear. No part of Treat’s body was eaten by the bear. The report confirms that the incident was a surprise encounter and not a predatory attack.
Treat was a regular to this trail. He jogged the route almost every day with his wife and rode his bike there numerous times every week.
This is the first report of a mountain biker being killed by a bear in Montana. Numerous encounters with hikers are reported.
Bears versus bikes
It seems mountain bikers are disproportionately at risk from bear attacks. There are much fewer mountain bikers than hikers in grizzly bear areas but the higher speed and relative silence of bikers means that bears are less quick to notice them and move out of the way.
The recommendations for mountain bikers in grizzly bear habitats is to stay vigilant, slow down, carry bear spray, make noise, don’t ride alone and never ride at dusk, dawn or night.