Skip to comments.Alaska Man Attacked by Bear While Biking to Work ('A Bear Being a Bear,' Says Official)
Posted on 06/15/2010 5:28:26 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A man riding his bicycle to work Tuesday on a city trail was attacked by a grizzly bear, which swatted his ear and bit him on the leg, police said.
Sean Berkey encountered the bear on the east end of Rover's Run trail at 5:30 a.m. as he headed to work at the Alaska Native Medical Center, where the 45-year-old works as a pediatric pharmacist. He had crossed a wooden bridge when he surprised the sow, who had a cub with her.
Berkey stopped his bike, and the bear charged. He momentarily used his bike as a shield, said Bruce Bartley, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Berkey played dead - the accepted practice when attacked by a brown bear - and then tried to get away, but the sow came after him again, so again Berkey played dead.
"The bear swatted him and bit him once," Bartley said, describing the injuries as "fairly minor."
Berkey eventually got back on his bike and rode to the hospital where he was met by a police officer, said Anita Shell, an Anchorage police department spokeswoman.
Berkey declined an Associated Press request for comment through the Alaska Native Medical Center. Hospital spokeswoman Fiona Brosnan said he did not want to talk about the attack.
It will be up to the municipality to decide whether to close the trail. It was closed two summers ago after a number of serious bear attacks on Rover's Run, including one in which a 15-year-old girl competing in a bike race suffered a crushed skull and almost died.
Sarah Erkmann, spokeswoman for Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, said at this point closing the trail is not being considered. She said bear warning signs have been posted along the trail route.
Bartley said he doubted there would be any serious consequences for the bear in this case given that it was a sow that was surprised by the bicyclist and was defending her cub.
"By this guy's account, this was absolutely a bear being a bear," he said. "He stumbled on to a sow with a cub at close quarters."
Hey, with Obama as president, even the bears have to get a job and pay taxes.
Proof that bicycles are dangerous and should be banned.
Thanks for linking it.
Sure... Mighty convenient for the bear, too - They like their food spicy.
Would you not agree the big bear-sized pepper spray cans are better than nothing? I’d rather have that than nothing at all. Even if the guy is a nutjob liberal who hates guns, he could at least carry that.
Oh, no wait....that was a tornado.
No, really...I DID have a tornado follow me to work one morning.
Time to put some playing cards in the spokes.....
That’s not a .38.
Look closely at the caliber stamped on the barrel.
Anything is better than nothing... I suppose - The large bore cans can be effective, except for these concerns:
1.) There is no way to be sure that the can is properly charged. This actually happened to me - I was throwing away an old can, as I was upgrading to a better system... I didn't want to leave it charged, feeling someone might be hurt by it someday, so I took it out back to "shoot" it off. The piddling little stream that evacuated the can was pitiful.
Had there been a bear attack, while I was relying upon that can: A better defense would have been to pee on the bear, as at least I would have had a more vigorous stream, and considerably more distance.
Other mechanical failure must be considered as well. A friend of mine, in the midst of an actual event, had the stupid little plastic trigger fail - It simply bent back below it's fulcrum point. Isn't that fun?
Relying upon a single weapon that basically has a single "shot," that is in itself *not* lethal, seems a silly proposition to me.
2.) Wind direction and velocity. ESPECIALLY with the large bore cans, with their wide blast pattern, you may wind up dosing yourself as much as, or worse than, the bear. This may well render you spicy, as well as defenseless, in close proximity to a bear that you have just pissed off even more than he was.
Now, to someone schooled in the thing, and able to keep his head in a violent emergency, this will be considered - But a panic stricken day hiker? Not so much.
3.) Every time I have encountered a bear, it has been a complete surprise - relying upon a single weapon (that doesn't even kill, btw), which one may or may not be able to get to, not to mention opening it's holster, drawing, and being able to deploy without injury to one's self, is not alot better than no defense at all. Most folks hang that can on their right hip, or around back... What happens if the attack is from the right, or if one is knocked onto one's back, with no time to draw?
Effective means in bear country require multiple strategic lines of defense - And one of those means must be in your hand. A .45/70 lever action rifle in a mountain sling is my primary defense (already in hand and ready to go), along with my early warning system: A very big, very bad-ass Wolf-Malamute (now passed on, a new one on the way). Equally important is a large bore sidearm (.44mag or better), a hawk, and a bowie, distributed variously around my body, just in case something goes sideways.
So "Better than nothing" is rather relative to truth, rather than comfort - A real "better than nothing" scenario, one with a chance of working against a really pissed off bear, would be a .30/30 and a .357mag, not a can of bear spray. And even at that, You may not come out of it whole.
Virtually every issue you raised about the bear spray you can raise against a firearm as well. Mechanical failure, ammo failing, being unloaded, bad aim, bad sights, being taken by surprise. Wind resistance and velocity wouldn’t apply in close conditions.
I’m not talking about is it the best thing to carry, or what you or my ideas about what we’d personally carry would be. I am saying for this guy, at this time of the year, to not at least have SOMETHING, even pepper spray if he’s a treehugger and anti-gun ecofreak, would have been better than nothing.
That is why I have TWO, AND a tommy/bowie combo. And the chances of a carbine or a revolver not going bang are infinitesimal... A bad load is about the only consideration.
I am saying for this guy, at this time of the year, to not at least have SOMETHING, even pepper spray if hes a treehugger and anti-gun ecofreak, would have been better than nothing.
And I agreed, with the exceptions listed... However, it should also be mentioned that in this case, a mamma bear with cubs, if one does employ an aggressive defense, one had best be ready to take it all the way... She will not likely back off. She will bring it, with very little chance of reservations.
And therein lies the biggest complaint against spray: Once the bear has engaged, the spray becomes useless, as one is likely to disable one's self with any further action. A gun continues to be effective, providing one can bring it to bear (ooh, look! A pun).
It is not that I disagree with you - I just feel obliged to warn folks, in no uncertain terms, that bear spray ain't half of what it is cracked up to be. There are times that it can be more a detriment than a deterrent.
I think that’s a Ruger Alaskan; shoots the .454 Casull (sp?).
I am shocked to see documentaries of folks that don’t carry such
a piece (or equivalent) in real bear country.
At least it gives you a fighting chance, even if the margin for error
in shot placement with a charging bear is practically zero.
(Went through two dozen natives.)