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Have Squirrels Declared War on Cyclists?

By Frantiska Blazkova

Cute harmless nut-harvesting little creatures with big beady eyes and fluffy tails. That are probably the first thoughts that come to your mind when you think of squirrels. But for one of Chicago’s aldermen this probably changed forever when he was ambushed by one while on the bike. And it was no Disney-inspired scene. Ald. Howard Brookins was riding the Cal-Sag bike trail in Chicago earlier this month when, out of the blue, he was sent flying over the handlebars.

The attack was silent and stealthy and the squirrel paid the ultimate price – it cost it its life. As it, most probably, attempted to leap across the trail, its unfortunate body got tangled in the spokes, which for Brookins resulted in surgery and another treatment for broken nose, fractured skull, and five or six knocked out teeth. One might rule it out as a freak accident but there are peculiar circumstances – this event occurred just weeks after Brookins gave a passionate City Council speech about “supersized aggressive squirrels” that are rummaging through garbage cans and subsequently gnawing holes in them, and that measures need to be taken.

Ald. Howard Brookins

However, the alderman himself can see the funny side of things. “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge,” he said when finally released from hospital care. “Some lady came along the trail and found me lying there next to my bicycle and called 911,” he said. He had no idea what hit him. “I only saw the squirrel when I came to and saw it stuck in the wheel.” He even posted a photo of the bike with the unlucky creature entwined in the front wheel. Still recovering from this predicament, he won’t be able to attend meeting and events for weeks.

We can safely say that kamikaze squirrels aren’t the first signs of Mother Nature attempting to turn animals into furry soldiers with the intent of wreaking havoc among humanity and kick-start the apocalypse. Probably. But the message is clear – don’t let your attention and awareness of the surroundings waver while riding.

Cute harmless nut-harvesting little creatures with big beady eyes and fluffy tails? Don’t be so sure…