Death or serious injury are a frequent result of mountain biking. It is inherently dangerous, because (1) trails are a part of nature, and hence largely random and unpredictable, especially when you've never ridden them before; (2) bike tires have a very small footprint (the area where the tire touches the ground), and thus not enough traction to stop quickly when on a steep grade or when going fast; (3) you often can't see very far ahead, and you have to keep your eyes on the trail right in front of the bike (hence not far ahead), to keep from crashing; (4) hiking trails are too narrow for a bike to pass a hiker or another bike, without one of them getting off the trail; and (5) a bike is often too quiet to allow a hiker to hear it coming.


Oct 15, 2007 12:37 pm US/Central


Mountain Biker Crashes Into Rocks, Dies

(WCCO) Bloomington, Minn. A mountain biker was killed in Bloomington, Minn. Friday afternoon while riding, said the Bloomington Police Department.


Mitchell Lee Aleckson, 36, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., was traversing the trails near Indian Mounds School with another rider when he apparently lost control of his bicycle and crashed into a rocky streambed.


The accident happened about a quarter-mile from the trailhead on 11th Avenue.


Police said he was not wearing a helmet. He was unconscious when authorities arrived and was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.


Police said the investigation into the crash is closed.


See also:,


North Van mountain biker's tragic death opens door to six transplants

North Van cyclist's tragic death opens door to six transplants

Lena Sin
The Province

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Jack Pilecki was killed in a cycling accident last Thursday. His
organs provided successful transplants for six people by midnight that

After Jacek "Jack" Pilecki died last week, his family was given mere
moments to decide what to do with his body.

It's not the kind of question most wives or parents would want to face
in that moment of unthinkable grief, but it was a critical question
that six other families needed an answer to.

What hung in the balance was the potential to save five lives and
restore eyesight to a sixth person.

So when Pilecki's heart stopped and his body gave out after a cycling
accident in North Vancouver last Thursday, his common-law wife, Sheryl
Conway, and parents, Kaz and Krys, put aside tears to discuss the
issue of organ donation.

"It was without hesitation that we said yes . . . After Jack had
passed away, it seemed the only thing that I could do to try and make
the best of a terrible situation," Conway told The Province in an

Less than three hours after Pilecki died at 6 p.m. last Thursday,
doctors at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver began performing
transplant surgery.

By midnight, five British Columbians had received life-saving
transplants. A sixth had eyesight restored with Pilecki's corneas.

"When I talked to the transplant society rep after the transplants had
been completed at midnight [he was in the operating room during the
surgery], he told me how well everything had gone.

"He made it very clear how exciting it was to have had such successful
surgeries, and that we had made [six] families extremely thankful and
happy," Conway said.

The recipients included someone who'd been waiting three years for a
new heart.

Another recipient had been waiting five years for a liver.

Pilecki's lungs went to one British Columbian; another received one of
his kidneys.

And a fifth patient now no longer needs treatment for diabetes, thanks
to Pilecki's second kidney and pancreas.

"These are all people who received life-saving surgeries from Jack's
healthy body. They were also able to use both of Jack's corneas,
giving someone sight.

"Apparently we may be able to meet some or all of the recipients in
the future, and that would be an amazing finish to a very fulfilling
experience," said Conway.

Pilecki's family said he died doing what he loved best: cycling.

While going fast down a trail in the Seymour Demonstration Forest last
week, Pilecki collided with a rollerblader who was blading in the
wrong lane.

The helmet he was wearing was not enough to protect Pilecki when he
fell off his bike and his head hit the paved path.

North Vancouver RCMP say the accident could've been prevented had the
blader, a 24-year-old North Vancouver woman, stuck to the posted side
of the trail -- and Pilecki had been travelling slower.

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been laid.

Jeff Peifer, who is married to Pilecki's stepdaughter, says Pilecki
loved to cycle every day and had started to amass a collection of

He participated in his first triathlon last year and was training for
another this year.

When not working, Pilecki and Conway, a high-school counsellor,
produced ceramic tiles and mugs from their North Vancouver home.

For Conway, it is the second time she has lost a partner. In 1989, she
lost her first husband in an accident on the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Peifer said he was struck by both Conway and the Pileckis' generosity
during a very difficult time.

"To me, it seemed like the ultimate act of generosity," he said.

The family's decision to speak out publicly was based solely on the
hope that they might bring more attention to the importance of organ

"Although it was a bit of a process during a very sad and stressful
time, as a family, we felt that this is truly what Jack would have
wanted," Conway said.

"I would like to do whatever it takes to advocate the importance of
this cause to other families. We really do think of it as the best
outcome for a horrible situation."

© The Vancouver Province 2007

Local couple seriously hurt in Nisene Marks mountain bike accident

Sentinel staff writer

APTOS ­ An evening bike ride in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
turned perilous for a local couple Monday when the woman rode off an
80-foot cliff and her husband plummeted nearly as far trying to rescue

Both suffered life-threatening injuries, but were listed in stable
condition at Regional Medical Center in San Jose on Tuesday afternoon,
according to State Parks supervising ranger Bill Wolcott.

State Parks rangers say the mountain biking accident is one of the
worst they've seen in recent memory.

"It had more severe injuries than we normally get," Wolcott said.

Rangers respond to a handful of mountain biking accidents a month,
mostly riders who fracture arms, legs and "a lot collarbones," Wolcott

The riders injured Monday, who are both in their 50s, suffered
possible back fractures when they fell from the Aptos Creek Fire Road
into the creek bed, fire officials said. The woman broke ribs and her
nose; the man suffered a broken hip and a dislocated or broken

Authorities, who have been unable to interview the couple yet, are
trying to piece together how the accident happened. Their names have
not been released.

"Some witnesses said they'd seen them up at Sandpoint Overlook within
an hour" of when the riders were found, Wolcott said.

Apparently, the woman rode off the cliff and the man thought he could
slide down to reach her, but he ended up falling as well, according to
fire officials. It's unknown what time the pair actually fell, but
Wolcott estimated it was near dusk.

"Around 8 p.m. an off-duty park employee was riding his bike in Nisene
and he heard cries for help and located the two patients down in the
creek bed," Wolcott said. "He went and summoned help and emergency
crews from State Parks, Cal Fire and Aptos/La Selva Fire District

The mountain bikers crashed about three miles from the kiosk at the
entrance of the park and, once they were discovered, people hiking
nearby gathered to help. Two bystanders, including a Santa Cruz city
park ranger, hiked up the creek bed from the Mill Pond Trail to
provide first aid to the couple while they waited for rescuers.

Fire crews and State Parks rangers used a pulley system and a basket
to haul the couple up the cliff. The woman was pulled out around 10
p.m. and the man about an hour later, according to Wolcott. Both were
flown from Seacliff State Beach to Regional Medical Center for
treatment, he said.

State Parks rangers are called out to two or three mountain biking
crashes in the county each month, authorities said, although they
estimate more riders are hurt on local trails.

"I'm sure that for every accident that we actually respond to I'm sure
there's probably three or four more where people take care of
themselves," Wolcott said.

Keith Bontrager, 52, a world-class mountain bike racer who lives in
Santa Cruz, said "Crashing is part of cycling. If you ride a lot,
you're going to crash"

The area where the couple crashed is not a particularly bad spot for
riders, authorities said, but accidents happen on most local trails
and fire roads that are open to bikes.

"The highest concentration of mountain biking in the county would be
at Wilder Ranch, then Nisene Marks," Wolcott said, adding a lot of
riders also go down in the Soquel Demonstration Forest, just beyond
Nisene Marks.

Changing trail conditions, mechanical failures and the time of day are
big factors in mountain biking accidents, authorities said. Darkness
comes significantly earlier in Nisene Marks because of the steep
ravines and heavy foliage, and it's unknown if the mountain bikers
were using lights.

Bontrager, who laughed when asked if he'd crashed before, said
mountain bikers go down for a variety of reasons.

"It depends on the rider," Bontrager said, emphasizing he didn't know
the details of Monday's crash. "If it's an experienced rider it can be
a misjudgment and you don't make it, but that doesn't happen very
often. ... If it's a novice rider, they can just get in over their

Contact Jennifer Squires at

Rob Warner

Breaking bones really sucks, the initial mind blowing pain of a good break can be way too much to take as you like on the ground writhing in an uncompromising agony.  On occasions I've honestly wished that someone would shoot me as I've been encompassd by indescribable pain.  Sometimes you're pretty sure something's bust but adrenaline can get you to the end of the race.  Alsways though denial kicks in, it'll be "a bad sprain" or "I think I've got away with that," nothing will ever let you admit to yourself you might be sitting in a pot for the next six weeks or more until you hear it from the horse's, or doctor's more appropriately, mouth.

The news always hits me hard, so hard, so hard it's one of the only things in adulthood to make me well up on a regular basis; I find it utterly crushing to know another season is to go by while I sit in front of the telly.  Life is severely disrupted but nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that months, years even, of preparation are shot down in a millisecond and, while you get fatter and slower the rest of your sporting world marches on regardless, leaving you behind again.  Every time I get hurt some clever soul (usually my old man) always gives it, "aren't you getting too old for all this?" to which I reply with a shrug of the shoulders or a wry smile, while an indescribable rage fills me from the inside. To those people I ultimately feel sorrow as they clearly don't know what life is about.

Wrap yourself in cotton and wool and never leave the house, what kind of existence is that?  I live for those moments of having a bike driftingaround underneath me barely in my control, for those runswhere I'm going so fast my focus leaves only a jigsaw of moments to piece together through a hazy cloud of euphoria.  Days and weeks after a good race those feeling stay with me and make the ultimate ride worth almost the ultimate price.

Over the years I've smashed and broken this body of mine to pieces, five surgeries and counting, five broken ankles, a snapped leg, a wrecked knee, destroyed hips, wrecked back, broken hand, bust wrist, three times, bust elbow, broken shoulder blade, a dozen broken ribs, separated my ribs from my spine, complete separation of my shoulder, severe nerve compression making my arm useless for two months, from prolapsing a disc in my neck and concussions that have left me with a recurring blindness in on eye and put on top of the chronic fatigue syndrome from the party lifestyle and you have to ask youself was it all worth it?  Well it was, and it still is caus I'm not ever going to stop and I'd do ita ll again and more because this is living, this is what it's all about.  There's no point taking an immaculate corpse to the grave, make sure you've worn it out to the max, played hard in it and lived your life to the full because riding is life and the only thing that'll slow you down is picking up the pieces after a big one.

Rob Warner


Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 12:40:50 EDT

Subject: Re: "Mountain biker dies from fall off cliff"


In the "for what its worth" column....


My friend Barry Fountain ... about 4 years ago was taking a "beginner's" course in mountain biking through a county program outside of Richmond, VA.


By 11 am he had broken his neck when he hit a small tree root and went over the handlebars into a dry streambed.  He was in his mid-40's and not a wildman by any stretch of the imagination.


For four years he could not move anything below the neck as he lay in a nursing home bed in Roanoke, VA and battled bedsores, fluid on the lungs, etc.


Finally in year 4 he settled his personal injury suit and was able to afford to move from the nursing home into his own home in Richmond, VA.


Within about two weeks he was dead ... died last November, 2004.


Point is ... even the "easy" biking stuff can put you in a state worse than death, and then kill you.


Thom Savage

Fredericksburg, VA,0,4406046.story:


Mountain biker plunges off 40-foot cliff


Annapolis man in critical condition after accident at Patapsco Valley State Park


By Melissa Harris | Sun reporter

4:10 PM EDT, October 30, 2007


An Annapolis man mountain biking on a walking trail in the Patapsco Valley State Park this morning failed to navigate a curve and plunged over a 40-foot cliff, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The accident occurred off Ilchester Road southeast of Ellicott City in the Hilton area of the park.


Christopher Campbell, 40, was flown by state police to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was listed in critical condition this afternoon.


Campbell was the second person in a line of three bicyclists on the trail about 10 a.m. The first cleared the curve but Campbell did not. The third cyclist saw the accident and rushed to render first aid, said Kara Turner, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.


Cyclist dies during mountain biking race

Sun, 30 Nov 2008 8:36a.m.

A cyclist has died after crashing during a mountain biking competition north of Kaikoura.

The 40-year-old man was reported missing to Blenheim Police around 3pm yesterday afternoon, after failing to finish the annual Moa mountain bike ride in Kekerengu Valley.

A Police and helicopter search found the man's body about 20 metres down a bank off the edge of the road, about 7 km from the end of the course.

It appears the man failed to navigate a corner on the track.