Cyclist's neck injured by wire stretched across Saanich trail

Seconds before hitting the rusty wire, stretched across a trail in the hills near Durrance Lake Wednesday, Derek Kidd managed to hit the brakes on his mountain bike — and that probably saved his life.

"I hit the brakes pretty quickly. I know it could have been pretty serious," said Kidd, who has a superficial cut across his neck. "Something like that catches you in the neck, it can kill you very easily."

Kidd, 26, an avid mountain biker for 10 years, also managed to yell to his friend to stop.

The wire was thick and rusty, attached to a tree on one end and held taut with a rock, which makes Kidd believe it had been deliberately stretched across the trail. "I have ridden that trail before and I've never seen anything like that before," he said.

"Sometimes people do things like that because they think it's their land or their forest and they don't think mountain bikers or horseback riders or hikers should be there."

 However, a Saanich police spokesman said it did not appear that Kidd was the victim of a malicious attack.

Sgt. Steve Eassie said it's possible someone strung the wire across the path as a joke or as a deliberate obstruction, though that doesn't appear to be the case. "We can't say for certain — it certainly doesn't appear to be any malicious intent," said Eassie.  "It's very much a possibility that it became ensnared on someone's bicycle or their clothing and it was inadvertently pulled across the trail."

The wire was about twice as thick as coat-hanger wire and may date back 30 or 40 years, to when there was logging in the area, Eassie said.

It's unclear if the incident happened on Capital Regional District parkland or provincial Crown land.

"The trail did not appear to be very well used," Eassie said.

"It's not a maintained or dedicated trail. It's just one established by people using it."

Larisa Hutcheson, the CRD's general manager of environmental services, said Thursday she does not believe there was malicious intent. "I think it was an old wire that was there for some time," she said.

There is only one dedicated trail for mountain bikers in the CRD, near the Hartland landfill. Other parks have multi-use pathways.

Kidd, an employee at Oak Bay Bicycles, did not immediately report the matter to police. But photos of him circulated widely on Facebook Wednesday, spreading concern among Victoria's cycling community.

Kidd said he wants to send a message to mountain bikers to be careful. "Mountain biking is always a dangerous sport and there are always going to be injuries, but they are not usually inflicted by other people."

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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