As Pam Guilbault stopped at an intersection on her bicycle in Oak Bay, she was knocked unconscious.
“I have this memory of this — it’s not even a deer — it’s a shape of a brown thing leaping at me. It leapt at me and I … woke up lying on the street,” Guilbault said.
On Nov. 21 at roughly 12:30 p.m., Guilbault was cycling home after attending a course at the University of Victoria. She came to a stop at the intersection of Bowker Avenue and St. Ann’s Street, where a hedge blocked her view of the road. As she signalled to turn right, the 62-year-old says she was attacked by a large buck.
She’d been wearing a red jacket with a white helmet. Even though it was the middle of the day, Guilbault rode with her headlamp and a rear red light on, to make sure she was visible to traffic.
“It chose to leap at me,” she said. “The policeman who came … said the deer was known to the police, and he was protecting a doe.”
Oak Bay deputy chief Ray Bernoties confirmed the attack, adding Guilbault’s injuries were “significant”.
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“The buck apparently used its chest to knock down the cyclist. After the cyclist was on the ground, the buck walked away and caught up with a fawn and doe that were a few metres down from where this incident took place,” Bernoties wrote in an email.
The driver of the van behind her at the time of the attack got out and helped Guilbault along with another woman until the fire department and an ambulance arrived.
“The citizens of Oak Bay are amazing,” Guilbault said as she fought back tears.
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At the hospital, Guilbault was treated for a fracture on her right scapula (shoulder) and a concussion. She can’t move her right arm, and says taking a shower or bath, even getting dressed, is painful.
“I’m right-handed of course, so I’m learning to do everything left-handed. I’m taking courses at UVic, which I have final exams coming up. Now I have to figure out how to write them left-handed,” she said.
“But my biggest concern is that roadway is a bicycle route for kids going from Willows Elementary or going to Monterey Middle School.”
Guilbault, who has lived in Oak Bay her whole life, and said there were no deer in the community when she was growing up.
“I would like the deer — these wild animals — removed from Oak Bay. They don’t belong in a community where people are living,” she said.