It’s a story with a distinctly Canadian twist.
But North Vancouver resident Kevin Milner said he is lucky to be alive.
“I thought I was in a worse situation, and it turned out to be,” Milner told Global News Thursday.
He was riding his bike in Seymour’s Demonstration Forest and had just passed the six-kilometre mark where the road starts to go downhill and he started to pick up speed.
“I was going around the corner, really tight corner,” he said. “And as soon as I was coming around the corner, I look to my left and immediately there was a bear.”
Milner said the bear was on the grass on the left side of the road and he was on the right side.
“When I saw him, I didn’t have much time to react,” Milner said. “I thought about braking, but then I would have ended up right next to the bear, which I thought would have startled him pretty bad and potentially provoked an attack, which I was concerned about.”
So Milner decided to just keep going but the bear appeared to have the same idea.
“I guess he looked at me. He accelerated extremely fast and he just headed right for me, just directly across the road, right in front of my path,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe how quickly he picked up speed. And he just pulled right in front of me and I caught him right behind the shoulder blades.”
Milner launched over the top of the bear, went flying through the air, still attached to his bike and landed on the ground.
He said he couldn’t get up, couldn’t move his neck or his head.
“It all happened so fast,” he explained. “But after I landed and I was on the ground, my bike was probably like 15 feet in front of me.”
Milner said the bear started running away so he wasn’t worried about being attacked but he was worried that he was very badly injured.
“I couldn’t move or it’s like I had some internal bleeding going on because my whole left side (was), and it still is, completely numb to the touch. It’s like rubber all the way down to my upper thigh and up into my ribcage. And so I was definitely more concerned about my injuries. I couldn’t move, couldn’t move my arm. And so my whole left side was shut down pretty hard.”
It was getting late and Milner said he hadn’t seen anybody else.
However, luckily another bike rider came along on an e-bike and saw Milner lying on the road.
They tried calling 911 but there was no signal. Two girls then showed up and they said they would ride to the entrance to try and get a signal to call for an ambulance, Milner explained.
“While they were gone, I was getting attacked by mosquitoes,” he said. “And I couldn’t fend them off because I couldn’t move,” he added.
That’s when the bear came back.
Milner said it was sniffing the air and looking at them. The other rider started yelling and scaring the bear so that it would leave.
“And the bear just kind of looked at him like, you know, like, ‘What’s your problem?’” he said.
The bear didn’t leave and just started eating the grass again, Milner said and it appeared he was interested in what happened.
That’s when the duo decided Milner needed to get some help fast. He could see some blood in his spit and was worried about internal injuries.
The other rider managed to help him up and put Milner on his e-bike.
“And then I was just riding this bike back with one arm on the handlebar, and I had this thumb just on the throttle, which is pretty difficult because my face screwed up and I just threw all the way back, ended up passing the girls that went to call for help,” he said.
Milner made it to the entrance but couldn’t lift his leg off the bike and he couldn’t walk.
The two girls then showed up and with their help, Milner was able to put the bike down sideways and drag his foot across the frame to dismount.
He started calling everyone he could for help and the girls called 911.
Milner was rushed to the hospital.
Turns out he fractured his scapula, he has a cardiac contusion, and bruised ribs and is so badly bruised and swollen he said he looks like he gained 40 pounds overnight.
He spent the night in the hospital for observation.
“People were coming up and asking me, ‘Are you the guy that crashed into the bear?’,” he said. “(The doctors) told me they’d never heard anything like it.”
Milner is now recovering at home and will be off work for a while.
He said the whole experience was such a surreal one and he never anticipated that he wouldn’t be able to avoid crashing into a bear.
But, Milner added, as his boss told him when he called in sick, “Nothing you can do about a bear.”
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