Bicyclist Seriously Injured after Eight Attempt to Illegally Bicycle Through Zion Tunnel
Contact: Aly Baltrus, 435-703-3836
At approximately 4:30 pm on Friday, February 22, 2014, a group of eight bicyclists from Salt Lake City attempted to illegally bicycle through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel in Zion National Park. Two of the bicyclists apparently hit the tunnel wall and crashed. One, a 51-year-old male from West Jorden, suffered significant head trauma and was transported to the hospital by the Zion Park Ambulance. The second cyclist ran into the tunnel wall, sideswiping it and tearing his shirt. He refused medical care.
It is illegal to bicycle through the 1.1-mile tunnel. To ensure the safety of bicyclists and that of passing traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians must be transported through the 1.1-mile, unlit narrow tunnel in a motor vehicle. The bicyclists were part of a larger group of 12 who had arranged for a shuttle to take them to the other side, which is proper protocol. Apparently eight people in the group (including two minors) decided to ride through instead. According to one of the bicyclists near the back of the group, "As soon as we rounded the corner, it was like pitch black, and that‟s where it happened… he was just lying there. They were in a bad spot, and only two of the bikers had little flashers. I thought, „someone else is going to get killed.‟" The biker turned around and went back to the tunnel entrance to stop traffic from entering too fast. He said, "That was my first thought cause I didn‟t want anybody else to get hurt… it was really stupid what we‟d done… I think we all learned our lesson and we now have to pay the price." Another biker said, "I just can‟t believe that we put ourselves in that kind of situation."
Park rangers issued violation notices to the group. The condition of the victim is unknown at this time.