Many people enjoy riding bicycles to work and in their leisure time. Bicyclists should have the right to ride safely on public roads that remain open to this mode of transportation.
However, bicycle riders face real dangers from aggressive domestic animals.
A number of injuries involving bikes and dogs
While statistics on dog bites and bike riders remain hard to find, one study highlighted by the National Library of Medicine looked at injuries to cyclists from dogs. The numbers reveal that in one 10-year period just over 35,000 bicyclists required emergency medical treatment after an interaction with a dog.
Many of these injuries came about from falls associated with the interaction. About half of the injuries, though, came from dog bites. In addition to injuries from bites, the cyclists also suffered injuries due to swerving away from a dog and then falling, or colliding with the dog and falling.
A few precautions for cyclists
When cyclists and dogs interact, the cyclist is apt to react in a variety of ways. Many riders attempt to outrun the dog. Others try to yell or even kick at the dog. Information from the Adventure Cycling Association suggests several strategies for avoiding injuries from dogs.
Outrunning the dog works best if the rider has a good lead and the road is heading downhill. The use of pepper spray sometimes works, but it poses many dangers. The best option involves stopping the bike and putting the bike frame between the rider and the animal. Then the rider should talk to the dog in a soothing but firm voice.
Dog owners should keep their animals under control at all times. Failure to do so can result in injuries to innocent people.