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

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs improve to 6-0 at home

Bulldogs take down top-ranked Penticton Vees

Bamfield boat service increases following fatal bus accident

Science students taking MV Frances Barkley to Bamfield marine station

Courtenay-Alberni candidates trade barbs at Alberni all candidates meeting

Crime, climate change, seniors all on slate of questions

Derelict hotel in Port Alberni sold

New owner from Lantzville plans to build condos on Arrowview Hotel site

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

PHOTOS: Kipchoge becomes first runner to dip under 2 hours for marathon

Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocks 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds

Most Read