Q:It is true that as long as I'm not the slowest runner in the group I'll escape your attack unscathed?—Ron B., via email
A: I feel bad for your friends, Ron—do they know you'd ditch them in a second just to escape little ol' me?
They might take some small comfort from the fact that your superior sprinting abilities might not do anything to keep me away. I may look fat and fuzzy, and my famous lumbering gait might seem slow, but I can almost always run faster than you if I want to. Running from me at full clip is generally a bad idea: If I'm not on the attack already, it might trigger a response.
Also, just 'cause you're faster doesn't mean I'll let you go. If I perceive both you and your unlucky friend as threats, I could very well attack both of you, and it's well within my power to run both of you down.
Don't believe me? My fastest reported speeds are around 40 mph; the current fastest human on Earth, Usain Bolt, runs a comparatively pokey 27 mph.
But hey—I'm not a big fan of running you down and chomping on you. Just alert me to your presence with loud noises, and I'll probably amble away before you even see me.
Got a question for the bear? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.