South African cyclist hits dead buffalo in city suburb

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Cyclists in South Africa’s biggest city usually worry about getting hit by vehicles. But one cyclist rode into an unexpected obstacle in Johannesburg’s suburbs: a dead buffalo.

Andrew McLean said Friday that he damaged a ligament on his collarbone and broke his hand when he hit the buffalo carcass while riding downhill at up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) an hour in Fourways, a suburban area in northern Johannesburg. McLean said he didn’t have time to brake before the pre-dawn accident on May 6. Two cycling companions also crashed but were not seriously injured.

“It just looked like a huge shadow,” said McLean, a veteran cyclist who runs a chain of cycling stores. “At the last minute, I suddenly realized that this was more than a shadow.”

He recalled lying injured on the road and seeing steam rising off the buffalo’s body.

“I think the buffalo had been running and had died within a couple of minutes of us getting there,” McLean said.

Authorities were unsure how the buffalo died and how it ended up in the city suburbs.

A farmer or wildlife owner had reported weeks ago that a buffalo was missing from a property, but it was unclear whether it was the same buffalo, said Roleta Lebelo, spokeswoman for the provincial department of agriculture and rural development. She said her department checked for the threat of disease from the buffalo carcass, concluding there was no need for worry.

McLean said he had sometimes trained in rural areas where warthogs are common, and had expected he might collide with one at some point. But not a buffalo.

On Twitter, McLean described the episode as his ‘only in Africa’ accident.”

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