Bike Collision With Bear Caused Mauling Death Of Forest Service Officer

Review board releases findings that show mountain biking at high speed attributed to grizzly attack that killed Forest Service law enforcement officer in Montana.

GON Staff | March 1, 2017

A U.S. Forest Service review board released details of its investigation into a grizzly bear attack that killed Brad Treat on June 29, 2016. Mr. Treat, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer, was off duty and riding the Green Gate Trails in the Flathead National Forest in Montana with a friend when the attack occurred.

According to the review board investigation, Treat was riding at 20 to 25 miles per hour when he rounded a bend and hit the grizzly bear. The investigation showed no signs that Treat had time to brake or steer around the bear.

The other rider told investigators he heard the impact and heard the bear make a sound like it was hurt. According to the report, the other rider did not have a gun or cellphone, so he decided to ride back to get help.

The Flathead National Forest totals more than 2.4 million acres of federal land in western Montana. Mountain biking is allowed on hundreds of miles of single-track trails on Flathead National Forest. The web page on bicycling in the area does not mention grizzly bears, but it does state, “All types of bikers need to be on the lookout for wildlife encounters or other safety hazards that could occur.”

Following the investigation, the review board released recommendations related to mountain biking in bear country, suggesting riders “stay vigilant, slow down, carry bear spray, make noise, don’t ride alone, never ride at dusk, dawn or night, don’t think ‘it won’t happen to me’ and remember bears live there and you are just a visitor.”

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