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Riding Bikes with Dogs in Canberra?

By MerryMerryn - 3 April 2013 32

Hi Canberra.

I recently started riding my bike around the fantastic bike paths here in Canberra. I’d like to go riding with my dog (Belgian Shepherd – Best Dog Ever), but I’ve been told previously that it’s illegal to be in control of a dog whilst riding a bike.

Is it? I tried google, but kept getting conflicting information, and none specifying ACT regulations and road rules.

Thanks in advance for your help!

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
Riding Bikes with Dogs in Canberra?
DeadlySchnauzer 2:37 pm 03 Apr 13

1. It is Illegal to have a dog off leash in any public area in Canberra, except for specific designated off leash areas, of which there are very few (see DAS for details).

2. As already stated It is Illegal to tether a dog to a bicycle.

Of course there’s always the selfish owners out there who flout the law and claim “no no, my dog is different, it’s so amazingly unbelievably well trained, i’m in full control at every moment and nothing bad could ever possibly happen”.

JazzyJess 2:33 pm 03 Apr 13

You might be well coordinated and the dog well trained but something could spook it or distract it and he goes one way, you go the other.

Zan 2:10 pm 03 Apr 13

Madam Cholet said :

I always think looks a bit mean to the dog. Dogs like to stop and sniff and take their own sweet time. You have the choice to get on your bike and peddle. If you tie your dog’s lead to the bike, it has no option. Just make sure you remember to stop and give it a breather and a drink every so often. I do appreciate that dogs love to run, but in my experience (with my own), they like to be a bit more ‘freeform’. I’m continually amused by the way dogs (and kids), bound about when let outside of their everyday backyards. It’s just lovely to watch, like someone flicked a switch.

Agree with the above post. Anyone who rides with a leashed dog does not have any understanding of a dog’s needs for walking and/or running, and their need for stopping sniffing and marking.

Watson 1:07 pm 03 Apr 13

Madam Cholet said :

I always think looks a bit mean to the dog. Dogs like to stop and sniff and take their own sweet time. You have the choice to get on your bike and peddle. If you tie your dog’s lead to the bike, it has no option. Just make sure you remember to stop and give it a breather and a drink every so often. I do appreciate that dogs love to run, but in my experience (with my own), they like to be a bit more ‘freeform’. I’m continually amused by the way dogs (and kids), bound about when let outside of their everyday backyards. It’s just lovely to watch, like someone flicked a switch.

I agree dogs weren’t built to do a constant speed like that.That’s why I think off leash is a better idea with the bike (or walking even – I’m not a fan of leash walks only). My dog stops all the time to sniff and then has to sprint to catch up. Excellent exercise that we both enjoy.

Obviously it requires investing time and effort into training first…

KB1971 12:45 pm 03 Apr 13

pierce said :

Only if lycra wearing dogs have registration plates

& obey ALL signs…….

enrique 12:32 pm 03 Apr 13

zorro29 said :

well #3 has answered the question…

i still see people riding with their dogs…but i think it’s dangerous. if you do it, you need to make sure your dog is exceptionally well trained and won’t get in the way of your bike, other path users…and, worse, other cyclists; otherwise it creates a dangerous situation

Anything is dangerous if it’s done by somebody that is incompetent.

On the other hand, it should be pretty straightforward for someone that is calm, careful, and takes the time to gradually teach themselves and the dog how to do it properly and safely.

Some of things to be careful of is being able to keep control of the dog if he/she suddenly decides to bolt for whatever reason or if he/she decides to run directly into/under the path of the bike.

Madam Cholet 12:31 pm 03 Apr 13

I always think looks a bit mean to the dog. Dogs like to stop and sniff and take their own sweet time. You have the choice to get on your bike and peddle. If you tie your dog’s lead to the bike, it has no option. Just make sure you remember to stop and give it a breather and a drink every so often. I do appreciate that dogs love to run, but in my experience (with my own), they like to be a bit more ‘freeform’. I’m continually amused by the way dogs (and kids), bound about when let outside of their everyday backyards. It’s just lovely to watch, like someone flicked a switch.

schmeah 12:23 pm 03 Apr 13

I see people riding/running alongside their dogs a lot. It actually looks like fun. Usually the dogs are collies, kelpies and shepherds and the dog is running free alongside them – no leash. Maybe it’s illegal, but I can’t imagine it is enforced. That said, I also support other comments, your dog would have to be of excellent temperament and road sense, otherwise … cactus.

zorro29 11:43 am 03 Apr 13

well #3 has answered the question…

i still see people riding with their dogs…but i think it’s dangerous. if you do it, you need to make sure your dog is exceptionally well trained and won’t get in the way of your bike, other path users…and, worse, other cyclists; otherwise it creates a dangerous situation

Cantabile 11:03 am 03 Apr 13

I am in awe of anyone I see managing this amazing maneuver! I’d like to say it’s my dog’s fault, but I’m definitely the uncoordinated one in the relationship.

Watson 10:43 am 03 Apr 13

You can always try calling DAS to ask them, but I second borizuka’s sentiment.

If your dog is well trained and doesn’t necessarily need a lead to stay with the bike, you can always try some of the off leash areas? There’s a great one at the top of Watson where there are 3 paths to ride on. It’s only about 1km long though, I think. I used to ride my bike there with the dog all the time. Most of the other dogs I met were well behaved/trained too. There must be other places like that.

But I also used to ride my bike with the dog in our suburb all the time. Only slowly though.

pierce 10:17 am 03 Apr 13

Only if lycra wearing dogs have registration plates

KeenGolfer 9:55 am 03 Apr 13

Australian Road Rules 301: Leading an animal while driving a vehicle

(1) The driver of a motor vehicle must not lead an animal, including by tethering the animal to the motor vehicle, unless the driver is permitted to do so under another law of this jurisdiction.
Note Motor vehicle is defined in the dictionary.
(2) A person who is a passenger in, or on any part of, a motor vehicle must not lead an animal while the motor vehicle is moving unless the passenger is permitted to do so under another law of this jurisdiction.
(3) The rider of a bicycle must not lead an animal, including by tethering the animal to the bicycle, unless the rider is permitted to do so under another law of this jurisdiction.

It’s a $70 odd fine.

borizuka 9:46 am 03 Apr 13

I do it all the time, having a husky a bike is a necessity when you feel lazy.
If someone told me it was illigal, I would seriously tell them to get stuffed.

My advice would be to teach the dog to run next to your pedals or behind. Make sure to slow down and get the dog to sit at all the crossings.

Another big one; try and run the dog on the grass as much as possible. If you run the dog on concrete her nails will wear out and it will hurt. Otherwise you can get really good dog running shoes for around $100…

pptvb 9:39 am 03 Apr 13

Cue the wild assumptions.

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