Cycling hazards in Canberra

squashee 11 January 2009 37

As a new year’s resolution I have decided to buy a push bike in the hope of actually getting fit one day.

On my first attempt at cycling in ten years I happened to ride past a bunch of tiny kids playing with a Pit-Bull or similar.  The dog gave chase and luckily my legs were not as dead as I had thought.  I managed to get away from this little dog (with a BIG head), but it chased me for a fair distance.

It brought me to consider – what can a cyclist do to prevent attack from a dog who is intent on eating you?  (Would it be criminal to carry a cattle prod like we had to do on the farm?) 

As a secondary thought, would have thought the tiny children would be under tighter supervision playing with terrier dogs considering the events of Whitton in the past week.

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37 Responses to Cycling hazards in Canberra
la mente torbida la mente torbida 11:23 am 12 Jan 09

I have a problem with one of my dogs….she loves to put the fangs into wheels. There is nothing I haven’t tried to deter her….it’s in her nature.

Anyhoos, when we are out for walks both the dogs are running lead free in the authorised areas but I need to be vigilant for approaching bikes (a ring of the bell or a call of ‘bike’ would be appreciated) to allow me enough time to re-call her and get hold of her collar.

Likewise, when using the pathways (on lead), I would still appreciate a call of ‘bike’ or a ring of the bell from bike riders coming from behind to allow me to shorten her lead so she doesn’t take out the front wheel.

I am in no way condoning unsupervised dogs, but would ask consideration from bike riders so we can happily share the pathways and roadways that make exercise so pleasurable in this fair city (BTW I occasionally ride a bike and know how much a prat I feel like in calling out ‘bike’, but would rather feel like a prat than end up skidding along the pathway and using my skin as a braking medium).

H1NG0 H1NG0 11:15 am 12 Jan 09

I agree with the title, yes, they are hazards!

TheScientist TheScientist 10:36 am 12 Jan 09

yep, what i got taught waaaay back at primary school was similar to what johnny the knife said:

get off your bike and keep it between you and the dog.

if you’re a kid, proceed to call for help. they didn’t really cover what to do if you’re an adult. could maybe try issuing commands, some dogs will actually obey. a lot of the ones in this situation wont, so wait for the owner and report to animal control.

point out to the owner that if the dog repeatedly does this they are likely to lose the dog, most likely including destruction.

Thumper Thumper 10:06 am 12 Jan 09

and if it is trained to be a pig dog, running or cycling away only encourages it to “bring you down” – pigs sometimes run away, so therefore, you must be a pig in a dog’s eyes…

Of course, it depends how fat and short you are

Which means I’m in trouble…

Kramer Kramer 10:00 am 12 Jan 09

I’ll usually ride away just fast enough so that the dog still follows for about a K, then I’ll pick up the pace to drop the bugger. Then the owner has to chase, find and recapture their disobedient mutt. (altho this does require some bike fitness, and doesn’t work so well with greyhounds and other fast dogs)

peterh peterh 9:40 am 12 Jan 09

Gerry-Built said :

…although a dog especially breed as a pig-hunting (or other big game) dog is a little more daunting/threatening than a bichon fraise, fox terrier or poodle, yes?

and if it is trained to be a pig dog, running or cycling away only encourages it to “bring you down” – pigs sometimes run away, so therefore, you must be a pig in a dog’s eyes…

johnny_the_knife johnny_the_knife 9:02 am 12 Jan 09

There are a couple of options if you are chased by a dog while riding a bike:

1. If the owner of the animal is near by, you can stop, get off the bike and put the bike between you and the dog. This will prevent you from being injured by the dog while the owner brings it under control. Feel free to abuse the owner once the dog is on the lead

2. As above, spraying the dog with water will work well, but if the dog is a persistant problem, you could mix a small amount of amonia with some cayenne pepper and water in an old bottle you would never consider drinking from. When the dog gives chase, stop and get off the bike as per point one, then spray it in the face with this concoction. Chances are, the dog will think twice before it chases you again.

Outriding a dog is almost never successful, and may even encourage the dog to chase you. Also, if a dog is a persistant problem, reporting the matter to domestic animal services is a good idea.

p1 p1 9:01 am 12 Jan 09

As a previous poster said….

My only experience was being chase by some mutt, who aggressively bit at my ankle, while the owner watched in amusement. His amusement slipped when I kicked it in the head a few times and peddled away, albeit with blood coming from my ankle. What I wanted to do, had there not been a vicious dog present, was take the “D” lock from my bike and beat the owner to death with it…

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 8:54 am 12 Jan 09

I’ve never had a problem with a dog while riding, although I once had a couple of greyhounds chase me when I was running around an oval (many years ago). The owners let them off the leads on the far side of the oval and they sprinted across to me. Man those things were fast.

Whatsup Whatsup 8:38 am 12 Jan 09

I’ve been pulled off my bike when a white Bull Terrier grabbed my leg. I was yelling at the dog to let go and managed to bash its head against my bike frame enough to encourage it to do so. The owner came out of their house and accused me of provoking the attack by riding my bike past. I rang the ranger and was told that I was one of several complaints about this particular animal / owner and they would be following it up. I didn’t see the dog out on the street again.

black_rattism black_rattism 8:38 am 12 Jan 09

Actually, the American Pit Bull Terrier (which I assume the OP is referring to, since “Pit Bull” is not a breed) was originally bred for dog fighting. They can be aggressive towards other dogs because of this without proper training and socialization but there is no reason for them to be more aggressive to humans than any other dog.

The reason I say this is irrelevant is that these dogs are easily misidentified and often blamed for dog attacks even when the dog involved is of questionable lineage. See , you may be surprised.

Thumper Thumper 7:57 am 12 Jan 09

I generally just leap off my bike, rip the still beating heart from the chest of the savage beast with my bare hands, and then eat in front of the owner.

Kind of freaks them a bit.

farnarkler farnarkler 6:31 am 12 Jan 09

Aurelius you can’t knock the Belgians. Anyone who can make the most heavenly chocolate and 12% beer can’t be that bad.

As for protection against dogs, remember the VW in ‘The cars that ate Paris’? (A Peter Weir gem) Do your shoes up like it and you’ll be fine……………….or fined.

shiny flu shiny flu 2:52 am 12 Jan 09

Pepper Spray/Mace is your best defence.

Personally I don’t use it – am able to out sprint them or I un-clip and kick them on the nose/head. Obviously waving your foot around isn’t ideal if you haven’t been riding for 10 years.

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 12:05 am 12 Jan 09

Pandy, you are right on with the choccies!!! I just picked the first few lap dogs that came to mind (sorry, no offence intended anyone)

…and I only know the bichon frais because of Shrek 2 LOL

Tiger Tiger 12:01 am 12 Jan 09

Firstly, It is vertualy never the dog’s fault – humans who own muscle dogs are a breed of their own. If someone owns an animal that is as easily described as a weapon as a pet they’re presenting us all with a (violent) problem.

I was riding a couple of metres behind my (then) eight year old daughter on a bike path when a Rottweiler ran past me to attack her. I jumped off the back of my bike and threw it between her and the dog , baulking it for enough time for me to run betw4een the dog and her. When the owner of the dog got a chain on it it was doimg the grisley bear thing – on hind legs – as tall as me – wanting to “go” us. The owner said “I had him off the lead trying to teach him obedience and he got away”.


If we had adult-sized animals free to attack adults on the streets there would be a public outcry. Kids have got to learn to grow up in a world that includes adults of all IQs. BUT, if the small penis… woops… “adults” for who it seems muscle dogs are a valuable addition to their lives!!??? may-be they should be confronted by a bear sized animal in the Canberra wilds themselves. It might scare their their tatoos off.

MWF MWF 11:31 pm 11 Jan 09

Well, the dog should have been on a lead and supervised by an adult in the first place.

Where were you riding? Dob the bastards in.

Holierthanthou Holierthanthou 11:25 pm 11 Jan 09

Pit bulls are restricted in some states, meaning you cannot breed, buy (or otherwise acquire) or sell them; as well as other restrictions if you happen to own one (eg signs on gate). They is bad doggies.

Pandy Pandy 10:50 pm 11 Jan 09

Why pick on the Belgians? They make lovely chocolates. It is the French we should whip.

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 10:29 pm 11 Jan 09

…although a dog especially breed as a pig-hunting (or other big game) dog is a little more daunting/threatening than a bichon fraise, fox terrier or poodle, yes?

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