Sierra van der Meer found herself herself face-to-face with a grizzly bear while riding down a remote Yukon highway.
It happened on the South Klondike Highway, between Whitehorse and Carcross, Canada. Van Der Meer says she was riding along the roadside when she suddenly spotted a grizzly bear on the shoulder, just a few metres away.
She had been riding up a hill when she saw the bear, and, cautious of the animal, stopped riding and turned her bike to point back down hill in case she had to make a quick exit.
“To my surprise, it decided to stop munching its grass and sort of walk up onto the highway,” she recalled. “Instead, it decided to sort of chase me down the hill.”
The animal chased after her for between five and ten seconds until a minivan came into view, with the driver realising what was happening.
“[The driver] sort of sped up behind me, and the bear went then into the ditch again. And after it kind of had gone into the ditch, [the driver] pulled onto the shoulder and followed me another maybe 200 or 300 metres, at which point I finally felt safe,” van der Meer said. “She obviously knew what she was doing, and did exactly what I needed in that time.”
“I’m super-grateful that she was there, because I don’t know if it would have kept chasing me if she hadn’t been there. But she certainly de-escalated the situation very quickly.”
Just days before the incident, Van Der Meer had mentioned that she rarely sees bears and joked she thought they were hiding from her.