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Bear clobbers bikers on charity ride

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ” This bear wasn’t fazed by a few bikers roaring along on large, noisy motorcycles.

It paused, sized up the situation and made its move. The black bear darted through the group riding on the Seward Highway this weekend and sent some of them flying.

According to several of the bikers, the bear walked onto the shoulder near Cooper Landing on Saturday morning and paused at the roadside while the first few in a group of eight bikers passed going south.

But before Anchorage motorcyclist Randy Hames could get his own Harley Davidson past, the bear decided to run for it.

“I thought it was a dog because it was not very big,” Hames said. “It paused and then went zipping across the road, and that’s when things got exciting.”

A biker in front of him veered and stopped, and Hames almost avoided a crash too until he was clipped from behind by Anchorage rider Michael Sweet’s bike, he said. Sweet, 48, suffered injuries to his head, neck, arms and legs. Witnesses said he was wearing a helmet.

Hames, Sweet and a third rider, Gilbert Wilson of Anchorage, all went flying from their bikes. One of those bikes ended up under an oncoming Dodge Ram pickup driven by Tim Lebling.

Hames said he and Wilson were banged up but OK.

Lebling said the bear got across the road unscathed.

“Both my wife and I saw it ears-down and flying across the road,” he said.

Lebling’s truck had to be towed to Anchorage.

He was grateful things didn’t turn out worse.

“The biggest risk we take in Seward is driving the Seward Highway,” said Lebling, an animal rehabilitation technician at the Seward SeaLife Center.

The bikers were part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s fundraising “Live Ride” from Anchorage to Soldotna.

Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com


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