Silver Wheels Cycling Club, Inc. 

Bicycling For Recreation, Fitness, Fun, Learning and Advocacy

 

Animal Encounters

Dogs will be the most common animal that Silver Wheelers will have problems with on our rides. Deer crossings are also a fairly common occurrence, especially in the fall and spring, at dawn and dusk.

 

Before we provide a few tips on how to handle dog encounters, here is a short video showing a dog attacking a bike from the side. 

Doggie Tips:

  • Announce to other riders if you see a dog that may be a problem. (DOG LEFT!!!)
  • If the dog runs toward the group, all riders should use a loud, aggressive voice and say “NO!!!” 
  • Many dogs will just run to their fence line and never come out on the road, but you may not know this until it is too late, so stay ready to react. Also, be aware that the “quiet dog” may actually be more aggressive than a ”barking dog”.
  • We’ve all done it, we all know it. If you can take the dog in the field sprint, do it. It’s better for everyone involved. Please don’t leave a rider to fend off a dog by themselves, especially if you are the more experienced rider. 
  • You may want to consider unclipping your foot on the dog side in case you need to kick the dog.
  • Squirting the dog with your water bottle may work. Some riders carry pepper spray, but this should generally only be used only after you have stopped your bike.
  • An air horn is often effective. A dog horn is a smaller can-sized version and it delivers a loud burst that will shock most dogs.
  • If you can’t deter the dog and confrontation is imminent, stop, put the bike between you and the dog and avoid direct eye contact. Most times, if you stop moving, it will mitigate the dog’s aggression – but having an air horn or repellant could make a difference. If all goes well and the dog gets bored, slowly back away until it’s out of sight. 
  • If the worst thing happens and you are under attack with no other options, one option is to be as unlike prey as possible and play dead. The Humane Society recommends curling into a ball with your hands over your ears and staying still. Try not to scream or roll around.
  • If you do get bit, the Humane Society advises:
    • Immediately wash the wound(s) with soap and warm water.
    • Get medical assistance.
    • Report the bite to your local animal control agency. They will come and do a basic investigation.
  • If possible, someone in the group should take photos of the dog. 

Personal Testimony:


Following is the testimony from Karen Hobbs, a Silver Wheels’ member who was chased and bitten by a dog while on a ride with the club:


“When I encountered a dog, I was on a Silver Wheels ride out in the country and two dogs came running out onto the road. The riders ahead of me yelled at the dogs to GO HOME and the dogs turned away from that group, I had gone to the middle of the road to get away from the dogs but one came at me. I was preparing to kick the dog when he took a bite at my leg.  I kept riding to get away. I don’t think I could have taken a hand off my handle bars to grab something to throw or strike the dog with say a frame pump. I chose to keep control of my bike. I ended up with bite marks on my calf, a good size bruise, antibiotics and a tetanus shot. I am up to date on my shots as was the dog.

 

I have to say my ride leader Cheryl and fellow rider Richard were the best. They made sure I was ok and rode with me back to Oberlin.”


Bambi Tips:

  • If someone sees a deer, they should yell “DEER” at the top of their lungs. Also, it is wise to give a direction of your spotting, “LEFT or RIGHT.
  • Immediately slow down and scan both sides of the road for additional deer, they usually come out in groups.  Proceed with caution.  

This two minute video is a compilation of traditional animal encounters like dogs and deer and also some more “unusual” animal encounters. 

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