25 October 2013

A Major Hazard for Cyclists

Being Chased by dogs

I've been biking around my town for over seven years, and have never been approached by an un-leashed dog; until 2 weeks ago. On my early mornign commute to work through a residential area--one of a pair of boxers that are regurlaly walked  along my route, found my repidly accelerating bike irresistable; the cur bolted after me, ignoring how owners admonisioan and followed me for 2 blocks downhill--barking and snarling. It scared the ***t out of me at the time but I had little time to react.

To be honest, the incident was over quickly. When I got to work, my office buddy regaled me with a story of her son-in-law's encounter with a charging (likely playful) dog. This ended with him being thrown from his bike at high speed, slamming into a female bike commuter and ejecting her from her ride as well. The dog was unharmed, but Chris and the unnamed woman both suffered broken bones.

The story was enough to give me a healthy fear of being chased by dogs. I picked up two cansiters of portable pepper spray the following day- and I carry one in had each morning as I bike to work. Hopefully, I'll never have to mace an overly playful dog.

Ways to Avoid an Accident

1. Stop – Dogs love the chase and when you stop you break the chase sequence. They don’t expect you to stop so this also turns the tables and surprises them.

 2. Be the Top Dog – Dogs can sense fear and will act on that emotion so don’t show them you are scared. Instead, become the ‘top dog’ in the pack. Turn to face the dogs, shout loudly and stand with your shoulders and legs in a broad stance, to make yourself look bigger. Many dogs will back off if they see you taking this dominating position.
This idea seemed to work for Frank Tatchell, a traveller and English clergyman who offered this advice from his travels in the 1920s: “Abuse them in the hoarsest voice at your command and with the worst language you can think of. They may slink off utterly ashamed of themselves.”

3. Throw something or squirt water – Once you have a weapon, most dogs will retreat, even if the ‘weapon’ is not truly dangerous. You might also want to wave your pump around or ring your bell.

 4. Get behind your bike – If the dogs are still closing in, get off your bike and stand behind it. This creates a barrier and protects you from being bitten. 5. Walk slowly past – Start to walk slowly away. Don’t turn your back on the dogs. Keep turning around to face them, screaming like a mad man and throwing rocks as you go.

These tips are adapted from the original article found on http://travellingtwo.com/4999

This WikiHOW has some great tips too