Claude Beaulé is back on his bike, but he's still haunted by what happened to him on Sept. 5, when he was "clotheslined" by nylon fishing line strung at throat level across a bike bridge in Montreal's Southwest borough.
"With the sun I didn't see it, only a reflection," Beaulé said of the thin nylon line, which was tied across the Claude-Brunet Bridge that spans the Canal de l'Aqueduc.
"I grabbed the wire in my hands to avoid getting hit in the neck," he said.
That self-protective gesture sent Beaulé tumbling over his handlebars, hitting the pavement face first.
"Usually I would defend myself with my hands, but they were on the wire — so I plunged head down and [my face] hit the asphalt."
Beaulé, who commutes by bike to and from work daily, suffered a concussion and three broken teeth in the incident, which occurred around 5 p.m. during his ride home.
Dazed at first and bleeding heavily, Beaulé was able to get back on his bike and pedaled for a kilometre or so before running into two police officers on bikes.
Police treating incident as a crime
The two officers went back to the bridge to collect evidence and checked other bridges nearby to make sure similar traps hadn't been set.
Police are treating the incident as a criminal act and possibly a case of assault with weapon, Station 15 Cmdr. Sylvain Parent told CBC.
Parent said investigators have no witnesses at the moment, and he called on anyone who might have witnessed what happened or knows something about it to contact police.
"It's something we take very seriously," Parent said. "It caused serious damage.... It could have happened to kids."
After his crash, Beaulé said the concussion left him sleeping 19 or 20 hours a day for the next two weeks.
It's only now that he's feeling well enough to share his story and get back on his bike.
He said he wants his fellow cyclists to be aware that such traps might be out there. And he wanted to warn both them and the person or people responsible for putting it there of the harm they can do.
"It might be someone who just didn't think of the consequences, who thought, 'I'll just do it for a prank, just for fun,' and there would be no harm," Beaulé said.
"But there's a lot of harm in that."
Beaulé said he would like to see cameras installed at the bridge in order to prevent something similar from happening again.