Human-moose encounters up; people advised to back off

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Bikers are beginning to run into some unexpected hazards as they make their way around Alaska.

An Anchorage bicyclist suffered a broken arm Sunday when he skidded under a cow moose and her two calves that were blocking a trail.

Greg Romack said there wasn't much he could do except hit the brakes.

But he was too close.

''I hit the skids, and the bike kind of slid under the mama moose,'' Romack said. ''The mom was standing there, and the calves were kind of wide-legged; not too stable.''

If it was just one moose, Romack thought, he might have steered around it or gone into the trees. But three made that option almost impossible, he said.

Romack was trying to edge off the trail toward the trees. The mama moose was snorting and had her head down.

''The mom kind of seemed like she lost her sense of humor,'' Romack said.

About that time, another bicyclist rounded the corner and diverted the cow's attention.

Two other people strolling the trail helped Romack walk the 2 1/2 miles up the trail to the Kincaid Park chalet. His wife drove him to a hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the fractured arm.

Hospital workers initially were concerned that he might have had head injuries.

''I had a bike helmet on, and it got crunched,'' he said from his home Tuesday.

State wildlife biologists believe about 300 moose live in the Anchorage area during the summer.

Rick Sinnott said about six people a year are injured badly enough in moose encounters to require medical attention.

People should show the animals some respect if they meet them on a bike trail or in the woods, he said.

''They are wild animals and are potentially dangerous,'' Sinnott said. ''My main advice is don't push it.''

Romack said he was lucky.

''There are a lot of moose with young calves out there on the bike trail, and people should be careful,'' he said. ''That was a sobering experience, especially when you look at your helmet.''

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