MTB Collision With Grizzly Bear Led to Fatal Mauling, According to Investigation

Photo by Flickr user “Kim,” via the Flickr Creative Commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimrose/
Photo by Flickr user “Kim,” via the Flickr Creative Commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimrose/

Warning: This article contains graphic details.

Back in June, the Flathead Beacon and Singletracks reported that Brad Treat was killed by a Grizzly Bear while mountain biking in Montana. Treat was a US Forest Service law enforcement officer, and a Forest Service review board recently concluded its investigation into the accident.

Location of the collision. Photo courtesy Forest Service board of review report.
View of where the attack occurred. Photo courtesy Forest Service board of review report.
Map showing location of the collision. Photo courtesy Forest Service board of review report.
Map showing location of the collision (red dot). Photo courtesy Forest Service board of review report.

According to the findings, Treat was riding with a friend on the “Outer Loop” in an area known as the Green Gate Trails, traveling about 20-25mph when he rounded a corner and unexpectedly collided with the bear. Treat’s wife noted he was a competitive rider who often tried to best his personal record, so riding this fast on a familiar trail was not uncommon for him.

According to the Great Falls Tribune,

The collision hurtled Treat into and then over the handlebars of his bike and either onto or over the bear. The investigation indicated the impact caused Treat to break both of his wrists and his left scapula as he tried to break his fall with his hands.

Based on Treat’s riding partner’s account, investigators believe the bear was injured in the collision as well. Treat’s partner went for help and when emergency personnel returned, they found Treat’s body bitten to pieces, though it didn’t appear the bear consumed any part of the body.

Members of the review board concluded the attack was not predatory, but rather was the result of the bear being startled. Hair samples from the bear were tested to identify the animal, and investigators found no record of this particular bear having attacked any other humans in the past.

As a result of the investigation, the board of review released the following recommendations for bear safety:

  • 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”
  • Remember bears live there and you are just a visitor

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