B.C. rider says he’s lucky to be alive after trail mishap

Gerald Cline credits rescuers, from fellow riders to Cumberland first responders

Gerald Cline, 65, admits he’s lucky to be alive or not paralyzed.

On the B.C. Day long weekend, he was mountain-biking the trails of Cumberland when he misjudged a spot on the trail and crashed.

“I zigged when I should have zagged, and I could have killed myself,” he says. “I’m still processing how could I have made that mistake. I’m not blaming anybody else. It’s my fault for making the mistake.”

The accident took place in the late morning on Aug. 5 at the junction of the Bucket of Blood and Bear Buns trails. He’d been on the trail before and says it is not an especially difficult section, but something caught him off guard.

His fellow bikers, some of whom have first-aid, helped look after him, even shading from the sunlight, and helped the Cumberland Fire Department get to him.

“One of the big jobs was to try and find the rescue people,” he says. “They had to carry me some distance, and it’s very unstable ground. This was on the trail itself…. They just did a fabulous job.”

BC Ambulance then transferred Cline to Courtenay Airpark, where he was flown to Victoria that afternoon.

RELATED STORY: Injured mountain biker airlifted from Courtenay

“When I was on my back, I couldn’t move anything,” he says. “I was able to verbalize, ‘Man down, man down.’ You’ve got to say that because there’s a person probably behind you that’s going to come over the jump and land on you.”

At first, there was concern he might have spinal damage. He did start to get some feeling back in his extremities after about 15 minutes, and by the time he arrived, it was clear his spinal cord was intact. He was discharged from the hospital after they did a CT scan to verify his spine was not broken.

His ribs were bruised but not broken, but he did break his collarbone. The most lasting effect seems to be his left shoulder and arm, which has required a trip to a specialist. All in all, he knows he is lucky though.

“I’m pretty fortunate to be able to walk,” he says.

Cline has ridden the trails of Cumberland many times, as he and his wife Kim live in Comox part of the year and winter down in U.S. He’s a retired pilot and not taking risks was standard procedure for him, so the accident was a bit humbling. He says he is grateful to everyone who helped get him out of the woods safely and send him to hospital.

“They’re all fantastic, and they all followed through,” he says, adding he wants to thank them all in person once he’s more mobile.

He is not sure whether he will mountain bike again. He knows how important the trails are to Cumberland but hopes this kind of incident will prompt a considered discussion about safety in the sport. He likens it to the situation that ski hills faced 60 years ago when they had to respond by making downhill skiing safer.

“I also want to get involved in making sure my accident does not have any impact on the current riding situation in Cumberland,” he adds. “I look forward to trying to help in my own small way.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo hospital foundation trying to Light the Trees to combat colon cancer

December campaign calls for donations to build new $1.5-million endoscopy suite at NRGH

Smudging in B.C. classroom had ‘trivial’ impact on Christian family’s faith, says school district’s lawyer

Lawyers lay out arguments in case regarding indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

Nanaimo hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

City of Nanaimo budget talks underway, projected tax increase up to 5.6 per cent

Series of special finance and audit meetings was held Wednesday at conference centre

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Front Street becomes permanent location for bus exchange

Nanaimo city council will look at safety upgrades, will work with RDN on design

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a ban on leaf blowers

Loud noise can cause heart attacks, deafness and mental disorders, says letter writer

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

City of Nanaimo to issue alert as it moves to new emergency information system

Municipality will send out reminder Thursday, Nov. 21, asking residents to switch to new system

Most Read