BRITISH COLUMBIA

Wire Snags Saanich Mountain Biker By The Throat

06/06/2013 10:19 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT
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A Vancouver Island mountain biker is warning other riders to watch out after he nearly had his throat slashed by a wire hanging across a trail — but police say they don't have any evidence of malicious intent.

Derek Kidd has a large gash right across his throat where he was caught by the wire earlier this week while riding down Partridge Hills trail in Gowlland-Tod Park.

"I was out here mountain biking with a friend the other day, riding down a steep section of trail, and all of a sudden what I thought was a stick hanging over the trail turned out to be a quarter-inch piece of steel cable," said Kidd on Thursday.

"It caught me in the neck, caught me in the arm. I managed to get free and I warned my buddy and we hauled it off the trail," he said.

Kidd posted a warning on Facebook after the incident and says there is no doubt in his mind the wire was strung up by someone who wanted to discourage bikers from using the trail.

"It was definitely put at neck-height across a section of trail and nowhere else. It was pretty obviously a booby trap."

Ongoing tension between trail users

Kidd blames ongoing tension between bikers and others who use the trails in the area.

"There's been tension for awhile between motorcyclists and cyclists, hikers, horseback riders, even ATVers, and everyone sort of wants the trails for themselves," he said.

"I think somebody probably just thinks of this as their trail and doesn't want mountain bikers out there."

He said it is not the first time he's encountered people trying to deter mountain bikers from using the trails. Last year someone was pulling logs across the trails.

But he says finding himself snared by the wire was a real surprise.

"I've heard of it happening elsewhere in B.C., but it's kind of shocking it would happen on my trails on the island."

"This could have been very serious. You can't see it. You can't prepare for it. It could easily kill you. I consider myself very lucky that I got off this easy. My primary concern is somebody could really get hurt."

Daniel Cammiade, the president of the South Island Mountain Bike Society, agrees there are people who don't think mountain bikers should use the area.

"We've received letters from people that wanted us to ask people not to park in the parking lot because they felt it was only a parking lot for people who'd be visiting the lake and they saw cars with bike racks on them. Yeah, so there's a history of conflict."

No evidence of malicious actions

But on Thursday Saanich police conducted an investigation of the incident and reached a different conclusion.

Sgt. Steve Eassie issued a statement saying it appeared the wire has been in the woods for as many as 30 or 40 years, because it was grown into one of the trees, and he suspects it was likely left over from a logging operation or a telegraph line.

"While the circumstances of this incident are concerning, there is little evidence to suggest that this was done with any malicious intent on someone’s part," he said.

Eassie said there was no evidence of anyone climbing the tree to place the wire there, but it remains unclear how it ended up across the pathway.

"The wire itself was hanging in a manner that it may have been pulled across the pathway as a joke; to deter others from continuing on the pathway; or possibly accidentally by someone that had used the trail previously if it had become snagged on a bicycle or clothing," said Eassie.

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