Police said Jeffrey Swain, 52, was not wearing protective gear as he was riding on a mountain bike between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on the downward path next to Canyon Park.
“He was heading southbound on the trail there, which is a heavily declined hill, Lt. Kory Klotz of the Washington City Police Department said. “He was cooking along on his Huffy mountain bike with no helmet, no protective measures.
“Halfway down there’s a sharp corner. He didn’t make that corner and headed directly to the guardrail.”
Swain sustained severe head and chest injuries. Along with police, Washington City Fire and Gold Cross Ambulance came on the scene after the call came in at 6:20 a.m.
“They tried to work on him but he passed away at the scene,” Klotz said.
A YouTube video on the Washington City website depicts Hell Hole Trail. The paved trail, described by the city as popular with cyclists, connects with the Virgin River and Cottonwood trails. Before Wednesday, the most recent fatality on the trail was in 2015 when a 20-year-old man riding a modified tricycle lost control after traveling at a high rate of speed, crashing into a rock.
First responders respond often to cyclist injuries on the Hell Hole Trail, Washington City and other points of outdoor-loving Southern Utah. But Klotz said it’s much tougher when it comes to dealing with a fatality.
“These are the hard ones,” Klotz said. “You’re just trolling along and bam, someone is gone. Condolences to the family.”
The low-light conditions before sunrise likely were a factor, but Klontz said a real difference might have come if protective gear had been worn.
The officer added the city has been trying to warn cyclists to watch their speed on the trail and that a great deal of the biking injuries they deal with on the trail come as a result of high speed.
“A lot of them are someone on a bike or scooter who go way too fast and we have to go down there. We have a lot of signage but people think they can make it,” Klotz said. “They can’t”