A couple of quick-thinking drivers may have saved a cyclist from being attacked by what appears to be a young grizzly bear last week near Radium, B.C.
Robbie Flemming said he was driving from Calgary toward Radium at about 8:30 p.m. on July 14 when he noticed a heavily loaded cyclist slowly making his way up the long highway climb in the same direction.
“All of a sudden, I see a young grizzly jump over the Banff-bound guardrail in front of a tour bus and go loping across the highway,” Flemming said.
“As he gets into my lane… he stands up on his back feet, and I’m sure he can smell that cyclist coming for a bit, and I’m sure he had visions of supper.”
Flemming said he slowed down, pulled his truck up beside the cyclist and started to honk the horn, which the cyclist initially ignored.
“Finally he looked over at me and I said, ‘You’ve got a grizzly bear about 25 feet behind you.’ He looked back and went, ‘Oh!’ and started to pound on the pedals.”
Flemming pulled his truck between the cyclist and the bear and turned on his four-way flashers. It was then that the driver of another truck saw what was happening and also pulled between the bear and the cyclist.
He said they managed to get the cyclist out of the bear’s sight, and he gave a thumbs-up and rode on.
Cassie Beyer and Donald Poster from Idaho were taking a leisurely trip to Lake Louise in their RV that day when they came across the scene.
“He saw the cyclist, we were going down, he was coming uphill and the bear was chasing him,” Beyer said. “It looked like the bear was after the cyclist.”
Beyer snapped a series of photos as they slowly drove by in the opposite direction.
Flemming said the about three-year-old bear was definitely hungry and looked lean.
“It was very surreal,” Flemming said.
“My first concern was that I was going to hit the bear. And then I realized I wasn’t going to hit the bear and then, OK, ‘He’s after that cyclist.'”
He said he didn’t think the cyclist would have been able to outrun the bear at the speed he was going with the load he was carrying.
He said his friends and family almost didn’t believe when he told them about what happened, adding that he wished he’d had a camera to get photos or video.