By Edna Amador
It happened on Canada Day 2016, on July 1st. It was close to 10 o’clock of a nice summer night. Dusk had passed minutes before and the black bear appeared running across the road. The bear had just skipped a car on the right lane and now was four feet in front of my partner Gerard and I. My eyes met those two other very frightened eyes and in a split second, bang!
All went black; it felt like hitting a wall. I flew off and rolled, rolled, rolled, six or seven times. No time to do anything or even try to move, only enough to think ‘ok, this is how I go.’ I wasn’t afraid. I hit the road and I slid, slid, slid…
I thought again: ‘when will I stop moving?’
I did, I kneeled down. I looked to my left and all I could see was the glare of the cars’ lights. Traffic had come to a halt about 100 feet away.
It was only then that I started to panic. My visor was stuck and scratched, I couldn’t see clearly, I started to take the helmet off my head, but I couldn’t untie the strap. I was not about to wander into unknown danger, I feared.
“I am alive after that crash and now a car is going to run me over…” I said to myself.
Maybe 10 seconds passed that felt like an eternity, but finally I took my helmet off. An even worse rush of fear invaded me and made my heart sink. ‘Where is Gerry? What are the chances that something worse did not happen to him?’
I ran off the road to a safe spot in the middle of Ontario’s Highway 11, and then I remembered the bear. I turned around and the bear was lying face down on the pavement. Then a transport truck ran it over. It could have been me. A couple of minutes ago I had also been lying face down on that road!
The beautiful black bear, we invade animals habitat and they end up road kill. (Photo by Officer Wickware).
I shouted Gerry’s name and there he was, his thin and wobbly frame emerging slowly from the dark. His face was covered in blood and his nose was cut open. I said: “I think you broke your nose.” Looking worried he said: “what a holiday.”
Soon people from the cars that witnessed the crash came to our help and stayed with us until the paramedics and police arrived.
On events like this we are even more thankful for Canadian health care.
The OPP officer, Mr. Wickware, started enquiring about the crash with the bear. I began to relate all this when he took a second look at me and asked in a very amazed tone: “Were you on the motorcycle?”
Gerry got very bad bruises on his left knee, arms and face. He had a big gash on his nose, but it was not fractured. No internal damage according to the paramedics and the machines in the ambulance. After some hours of tests in Bracebridge Hospital’s emergency room, not a broken bone in his body either.
Gerry’s face pretty banged up, but he’s healed well.
Officer Wickware was positive the full face helmet and my bikers’ gear protected me. “No matter if it’s 40 degrees outside, I always wear my full gear when I ride, when you are on a bike, you dress for the crash, not the ride,” he said.
Gerry’s regular clothes and jacket weren’t designed for that crash. His half head helmet left his face exposed and he got hurt, but it could have been much worse for both of us.
A kind cab driver got out of bed at 3 a.m. and took us to a hotel in Huntsville. We had booked the room in advance to stay the night. We were 15 minutes away from the hotel when we crashed with the bear.
Next day Gerry’s brother Sean and his wife Angie picked us up. We also brought the totalled bike back to Toronto. I felt sorry for our friend who offered his Yamaha for this trip as a way for Gerry to try a cruiser, but a few days later Gerry bought him a new bike. Material things and money can always be replaced, but life is priceless. I mostly feel sorry for the bear; its frightened black eyes are seared on my mind. That beautiful being suffered the worst.
The doctors checked me too. I ended up with two tiny scratches on my legs and a big bruise in my thigh. My nerves got rattled, but not until the next day.
The next day, Gerry lost his shoes and I my style.
I don’t know. I guess our number wasn’t up that day. Perhaps – as my mother always says when something undesirable occurs, it was not meant for Gerry and I to ride another three hours north to the bikers’ reunion in New Liskeard.
My gear spared me, but flying off that bike at 120 km, I could have broken my neck.
Gerry’s Harley Davidson got spared too because it remained with our friend back in Toronto. It took Gerry a month to ride it again, however now he knows he can’t control other drivers or else on the road. These days, he chooses sideroads most of the time.
It took me almost two months to conquer my nerves and jump on the back of the motorcycle. I can’t live in fear; we can’t live fully without doing the things we love or without taking risks either. I think of a Sunday five years ago when I had worse injuries after falling off my bicycle, or when I had to walk with a limp for a couple of months after twisting my ankle during a hike.
I’m very lucky, Gerard is too. As the Irish man he is, Gerry would say: “That’s the luck o’ the Irish rubbing off on yi.”
Us during the 911 Charity Ride in Southern Ontario, two months after the accident.