Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cyclist hurt and bike a write off after collision... with 300lb black bear - 12th July 2011

For one cyclist getting hit by a car was possibly the worst accident he'd ever had.

But after colliding with a 300lb black bear, John Hearn, from Panama City, Florida, has a new benchmark of pain.

Mr Hearn had been cycling the 12 miles to work at Tyndall Air Force Base at around 6am on Thursday like he did every morning.

But as he was riding along U.S. 98 at around 23mph he was hit with something unexpected.

'I saw something big and black out of the corner of my eye,' Mr Hearn told Northwest Florida Daily News.

'Then it hit me and I felt bear all over my leg.'

The collision knocked him off his bike and the bear off its paws as drivers looked on in horror.

'At first I didn’t know what happened,' witness Debbie McLeod told the paper.

'The bear was flying across the road from the left side to the right. I thought he was going to miss the rider, but then I saw the fluorescent coloured vest fly up in the air, and knew the bear hit him.'

The bear, slightly dazed from the crash, got up and hurtled off into the woods.

Mr Hearn had grazes on his elbows, back and hip but his bike was mangled.

The impact had ripped the back tyre clean off and the frame was badly damaged.

'It was like getting tackled by a furry, toned, bony body in football,' Mr Hearn said.

He has been cycling for nine years but said he had never been hit until he moved to Panama City four years ago.

Since then he has been hit twice by cars and now, once by a bear.

'This is by far the worst damage done to my body and my bike,' Mr Hearn said. 'We must’ve been going almost the same speed. But sadly, the bear didn’t have insurance so I can’t do anything about it.'

Lt Stan Kirkland of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the incident was 'unusual.'

'You hear about people seeing bears, but never being hit by one. That’s usually about deer or wild hogs,' he said. Source