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Photo: Flickr

One mountain biker was killed in an attack by a mountain lion outside of Snoqualmie, Washington on Saturday. His riding partner was also attacked but escaped with only injuries.

The two were riding on a remote dirt road around Lake Hancock, northeast of Snoqualmie, WA when a  cougar began to chase them, according to the Seattle Times. At first, the two tried to intimidate the mountain lion. One of the riders picked their bike up and swung it around, which aligns with the Washingon Division of Fish and Wildlife’s, (WFWD) measures to stay safe around the cats.

But, it returned and attacked one of the riders, Isaac Sederbaum, 31, biting his head and shaking him.

According to the Seattle Times, the other rider, Sonja J. Brooks, 32, dropped his her bike and ran from the attack, which may have elicited a chase response from the cougar. When Brooks ran, the cat left Sederbaum, chased Brooks and attacked him her.

Sederbaum picked himself up and saw the mountain lion dragging his friend into the woods. Sederbaum picked up his bike again and rode two miles before he had cell phone service and could make a 911 call.

When responders arrived, they found Brooks’ body near what appeared to be the cougar’s den. The cougar was on top of him her. A deputy fired his weapon in the direction of the mountain lion and it fled.

Sederbaum was taken to the hospital. The Harborview Hospital in Seattle tweeted on Saturday evening that his condition was updated to satisfactory and that he would be admitted for more care.

“Normally we respond to a cougar attack on somebody’s livestock,” Captain Alan Myers of the WFWD told the New York Times. “People are not on the menu for cougars. They normally want nothing to do with us.”

The mountain lion was said to be about 100 pounds. The King County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Saturday afternoon that the WDFW killed the cougar that was believed to be involved in the attack.

In 2004 a mountain lion killed a mountain biker in Orange County, California. Mark Reynolds, 35, was found dead along a trail. According to the LA Times, Reynolds’ chain may have broken during his ride. When he kneeled down to examine the mechanical, it possibly provoked the cat to attack.

Authorities believe that attacks like this are rare.

Singletracks reached out to Washington Fish and Wildlife Department for comment and a press release, but they didn’t return requests before publishing. King County Sheriff’s Office did not have a press release for the incident.

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# Comments

  • Moto Bike Mike

    What a shame. To bad one (or both) of these guys didn’t have a means to defend themselves. Sounds like they had time. A 45 would have been most useful.

  • rajflyboy

    Good point and I was also giving thought to bear spray for cougars. Does this have the same affect on Cats?

  • Downhill Mike

    I am sure even a dog spray would work on a mountain lion as long as you get it in its face. I usually ride with a knife, bear spray or a dog spray depending on a ride I am doing.

  • stumpyfsr

    Bear spray should work for cats too. It looks like that cougar was either protecting its territory or simply was desperate to get food.
    Either way feel sad for this unfortunate ending to a casual bike ride. Condolences to victim’s family

  • Sean Gordon

    Bear spray is a good option. Its easier to hit a moving animal with a constant spray than with a pistol, and in a high stress situation the effective range of a handgun is about the same as the spray. Furthermore a light handgun that would be comfortable to carry on your person while mountain biking may not penetrate the thick hide/muscle/bone/skull to hit a vital organ. A family friend took 6 shots with a .357 mag revolver to stop a bear charge – AFTER he had shot it with a .300 win mag rifle. A .45 has much less energy and sectional density than a .357, and most .45 cal handguns are already pretty heavy. Cats aren’t as tough but you still need good shot placement on a fast moving animal to stop it before its on you.

    With defensive firearm use people conflate the amount of force it takes to KILL something with the amount of force it takes to STOP something. With a charging animal you need to hit the central nervous system or cause enough blood loss so the animal loses consciousness and stops attacking – and this has to be immediate.

    With spray you just need to get the spray near its head for it to be effective – and now you have a bear or cat that will carry on in the ecosystem and give other hikers and mountain bikers a wide berth.

  • pastrin

    And where are you going to carry the bear spray? I guess it must be carried very handy attached to the bike frame.

    That´s something you cant do with a fire weapon… unless your name is John Wayne!

    • tsteinha

      There’s a great product called Bear Cozy that pops into your bottle cage and holds a standard 225 gram bear spray can. Keeps it handy vs. scrambling around in your back pack!

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