Dealing With Dogs

John Allen

Elsewhere in this issue is an article about a member who was injured by a dog chasing her bike. We shared the article with John Allen, the Club's Safety coordinator, who offers advice dealing with dogs chasing you.


I also crashed once when a large dog ran out of a driveway hidden behind a hedge and then turned and headed straight for my front wheel. The expression on the dog's face changed from rage to terror in an instant and it hit my front wheel head-on. The bicycle's fork was bent and I had a bad scrape up my lower left arm. The dog limped away.

I'd offer a few items of advice:

  • If you hear or see a dog barking ahead of you and on a collision course, slow down and be prepared to stop. If the dog is behind you, you can usually outrun it on your bicycle but in any case if you can't get away from the dog, place the bicycle between yourself and the dog as a shield.
  • A squirt from a water bottle may disorient and distract a dog. But this could be tricky when you are trying to outrun the dog -- best if you are going slowly or have dismounted.
  • Dogs can sense fear, so try to remain calm if you encounter an angry canine.
  • Don't try to outrun the dog unless you are a very strong rider. If you can't completely outrun it, the dog may catch your wheel and knock you down.
  • While on the bike, don't try anything beyond your bike-handling skills.
    In a loud, firm voice say, "No!" "Bad dog!" "Go Home!" or other common commands.