Goose attack hospitalizes Canadian cyclist

As a bicycle commuter I’m always a little leery of the abundant Canada geese that foul the paths around Twin Cities lakes. They stand their ground and appear a little threatening, especially when they have young ones in tow. (To be sure, they probably feel the same way about me.)

It doesn’t hurt to give them wide berth. A Canadian woman spent five days in the hospital with a concussion and fractured cheekbone when a surprise attack caused her to fall from her bicycle on the Trans Canada Trail near Ottawa.

CBC News reports that Kerry Surman had come across a family of geese crossing the bike path.

“I thought, ‘If I just zip past I’ll be fine,’” Surman said. “But I misjudged how fast I was going and the goose misjudged my intentions.

“What I remember is the goose giving me the evil eye and then the goose wrapping its wings around my head, and I can’t see and I hear myself screaming,” she said.

Surman says her bike helmet and sunglasses probably saved her from more serious injuries. A photo accompanying the article shows the woman with a black eye and road rash.

The story goes on to say,

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources says goose attacks are rare, but the birds can be aggressive towards people and pets, and recommends avoiding any conflict with them.

It sounds like good advice. I remember cycling home from work along a wooded portion of Big Rivers Regional Trail near St. Paul one evening and suddenly finding myself in the midst of a dozen wild turkeys. Low light and an overactive imagination had me convinced they were Velociraptors.

No harm done, and the resulting burst of adrenalin got me home that much faster.

  • Dave

    I got hissed at by a mother goose once. Since then I’ve had no doubt that they would put up some kind of fight if necessary, but I never imagined they could be this aggressive. I always thought I’d be able to defend myself with my bare hands, but that is obviously not the case!

    The article does not say what caused the concussion, but it must be from hitting the ground.

  • Gary F

    Sky rats.

  • CL

    My mother-in-law was one of the kindest, sweetest, and nonviolent person I have ever known. But she fantasized about running over some of the geese in her neighborhood. They had become so numerous that their feces covered the walking paths, making it quite dangerous, and they crossed the road oblivious to traffic, causing many near accidents. I don’t think she ever acted on those impulses before she died, but her neighbors would have cheered.