A mountain biker received a large cut along his throat yesterday after being clotheslined by wire hanging across a park trail near Durrance Lake in Saanich.
Derek Kidd, 26, said thick rusty wire gashed his neck yesterday afternoon when riding a trail that is “off the beaten path,” but still regularly used by mountain bike riders.
Kidd, who works for Oak Bay Bikes and has mountain biked for a decade, said the wire appeared to be placed across the trail and between two trees.
“It was intentionally put there. It looked super old. It was rigged between the trees and weighted with a rock on one end,” Kidd said Thursday afternoon.
The trail is in an area called Partridge Hills in eastern portion of Gowlland Tod Park. Kidd said he was riding down the track when he saw the wire at the last second, within five or 10 feet. He slammed on the brakes and tried to duck down. “It still got me,” he said.
He yelled at his friend coming behind him to stop. They inspected the wire and pulled it off the trail. He said from its placement, the wire was purposefully positioned across the trail likely this week.
“I definitely got the impression that it was to scare people off the trails, maybe not meant to chop someone’s head off,” he said.
A photo of Kidd posted to Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday by the bike shop shows a long red wound just below his Adam’s apple, although he said his neck is doing fine – “it looks worse than it is.” If he had slammed into the wire at full speed, his injuries could have been much more serious.
Saanich police and CRD parks staff inspected the wire today, and doubt it was placed across the trail with malicious intent.
Sgt. Steve Eassie said the wire had been there for decades and was likely from former logging activities or possibly telegraph wire from even longer ago. A tangled mess 15 to 30 feet long was dangling down and part of the tree had grown around the wire.
Eassie said the wire could have been pulled across the pathway as a joke, to discourage others from using the path or even accidentally by snagging on someone’s clothes.
“It’s possible it was pulled across the pathway intentionally to deter people from using the path or unintentionally pulled across the pathway,” he said. “It was draped across the path, but there’s nothing to indicate it was secured on the other end, or that it was secured in place by rocks.”
Saanich police cut away much of the thick gauge wire, although some remains in the tree. “There is no indication from where it was placed on the tree it was malicious.”
-with files from Kyle Slavin