Cyclist collides with bear

A Durango man said he was riding his bicycle Friday night when he collided with a bear.

The accident occurred about 10:30 p.m. on El Paso Street, a steep road leading down to Roosa Avenue near the Durango Skate Park.

Orion Olin said the bear darted in front of him, as if it was trying to cross the road right before he zipped by on his bike.

“I heard some panting and scampering, and I looked to my left, and there it was,” he said. “Then we collided.”

Olin, 22, said he was sent over his handlebars, hit the back of his head and landed on his back. He lost feeling and movement for about 10 seconds, he said. He felt a tingling sensation through his body before regaining movement in his fingers and toes.

Olin went to Mercy Regional Medical Center where he received a clean bill of health – no concussion, no fractures, he said. He did suffer scrapes to his right leg, shoulder and spine.

“It really just did a number on my back,” Olin said.

The bear, possibly a cub, scampered off, he said. A car was driving about a block behind him when the accident occurred, he said, but the driver didn’t actually witness the crash.

“Mostly, I was scared that I couldn’t move anything,” Olin said. “My second thought was, ‘Where did the bear go?’”

Olin said he was on his way to the bank before going out for the night.

He spent two days recovering before returning to his job as a server at Carver Brewing Co.

Bears are active this time of year, packing on weight before the winter hibernation, said Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Eight bears were killed on area highways in August, but this is the first time Lewandowski has heard of a cyclist hitting a bear, he said.

“I guess cyclists and motorists, too, need to keep their eyes open this time of year,” he said.