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Fatality on mountain bike trail a first for Blue Mountain

The trail remains closed while an investigation into the cause of the fatal crash continues
2019-08-08 Mountain bike
File photo.

Blue Mountain is “investigating closely” after a male cyclist was killed in a crash on a mountain bike trail Wednesday.

Collingwood-Blue Mountains OPP announced today the cyclist died as a result of injuries sustained when he collided with a tree while riding one of Blue Mountain’s downhill bike trails.

According to Jackie Paduano, a spokesperson for Blue Mountain Resort, this is the first mountain bike fatality of this nature at Blue Mountain.

“We will be investigating closely and taking any necessary steps to prevent a recurrence,” said Paduano. “The trail is currently closed and will remain so while the investigation continues.”

There was another death on the Blue Mountain downhill bike trails in 2015. A man in his 50s was found unresponsive by patrollers on an expert trail requiring all riders to complete safety assessments before accessing the trails. Officials did not determine why the man left the trail. 

In the fatal crash on Wednesday, OPP reported the man appeared to have lost control, left the trail and collided with the tree. Due to these circumstances and the fact that it was an intermediate trail, Blue Mountain staff consider this the first fatal incident of this nature.

Paduano said the resort’s mountain bike trails are maintained daily and “consistently checked by patrollers for potential hazards.”

According to police, they were called to the Orchard ski lift area on Scenic Caves Road at 4:30 p.m., Aug. 7.

Police report the man was on Embryo Trail on a mountain bike “when it appears he lost control, left the trail, and collided with a nearby tree.”

The man was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Embryo is marked as an intermediate level, single-track trail.

According to the trail descriptions, the intermediate trails (marked in blue) are one step above beginner/multi-use trails (marked in green).

A blue trail is described as challenging riding with steep slopes and/or obstacles, possible on narrow trails with poor traction. Signs posted near the trails indicate a blue trail “requires off-road riding experience.”

According to the Blue Mountain Resort website, a youth rider assessment for riders aged eight to 12 is done on the Embryo trail.

There are other trails marked single black diamond (advanced), and double black diamond (experts only).

There are two other trails - H2O and Haole - marked black diamond special, and all riders are required to complete a skills assessment before gaining access to those trails.

Riders aged 17 and under are required to complete a waiver process with a parent or guardian before being permitted to purchase a trail pass or rentals. All riders under 18 are also required to undergo a skills assessment before being permitted on downhill bike trails.

Riders under 12 must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is at least 25 years old.

Certified bike helmets are required for riders on any downhill or cross-country bike trail at Blue Mountain, and full-face helmets are recommended for downhill trails and required of youth riders.

Riders are also required to have front and rear disc brakes and knobby tires on their bikes before using the trails.

Police have not yet released the identity of the man who died or his age.

A post-mortem was scheduled for today to determine the cause of death.

“The staff at Blue Mountain extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the cyclist,” said Paduano, adding an incident like this “hits close to home."

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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