New city barricades could kill

By the time Cody Kelpin saw the wooden barricade, it was way too late. The 17-year-old had been screaming down a Porter Creek trail he uses all the time, on his dirt bike. The barricade was new, unmarked and, from a distance, blended in with the dirt.

By the time Cody Kelpin saw the wooden barricade, it was way too late.

The 17-year-old had been screaming down a Porter Creek trail he uses all the time, on his dirt bike.

The barricade was new, unmarked and, from a distance, blended in with the dirt.

When he finally saw it, Kelpin hit the brakes and braced himself.

The front tire hit the wood so hard it gouged a rut in the beam and broke the concrete supports at either end.

As the front forks separated from the bike, Kelpin felt his feet catch the handlebars, and he flipped mid-air before sailing a good 20 feet, landing in the dirt.

Neighbours heard the bike roar by, then they heard screaming.

The city put up the barricades several weeks ago to deter dirt bikers and ATVers from using the trails, which are posted with signs notifying users that motorized vehicles are prohibited. It’s a protected area.

When the ambulance arrived, Kelpin was on his feet, walking around.

“He’s made out of rocks,” said Kelpin’s mom, Madonna Joncas, who’d arrived at the scene.

The bike lay in pieces, in a puddle of spilt gas.

“I think it’s crazy the city put this here,” she said.

“Kids ride four-wheelers and dirt bikes here all the time.”

They come up the street fast, said neighbour Len Usher. “And if they don’t mark (the new barricade), it’s going to kill someone.”

Kelpin shouldn’t have been riding his dirt bike there.

But lots of kids do, said local resident Ross Peterson, who’s one of Kelpin’s teachers at Porter Creek.

“They could at least paint them orange,” he said.

Peterson teaches Kelpin a class called Planning 10.

“It’s part of planning to keep these guys alive,” he said.

Whitehorse’s bylaw department was not available for comment before press time.