Even though there may be limited mobility going on around the country right now, one mode of transportation is being used with increasing frequency — bicycling. One only has to sit outside on the front porch on a nice spring afternoon or evening to see dozens of riders on the street.

But the influx of bike riders is sure to be accompanied by one unwelcome factor: aggressive dog attacks.

Why cyclists and dogs are a bad mix

There’s something about a human on wheels that seems to trigger the prey instinct in even smaller, non-vicious canines. Some unleashed dogs that would never bite the rider seem unable to refrain from the joy of the chase.

The problem is that a dog doesn’t have to attack and bite to cause big problems to the cyclist. The chase itself can cause a rider to get into a serious bicycle accident even if the dog never actually makes contact.

Riding safer on the roads

Bicyclists should not have to curtail their rides because of irresponsible dog owners who jeopardize their dogs’ safety as well as the safety of those they encounter on the street. But it does pay to prepare yourself for these unfortunate encounters that rarely end well for either the cyclist or the dog.

Below are some suggestions that could help you avoid a bike wreck or a dog bite.

  • Carry pepper spray. One shot of pepper spray is an effective repellent against all but the most aggressive of dogs. It’s likely that they will remember you as the one with the spray and give you a wide berth on future rides.
  • Don’t be a victim. Be loud. Be angry. Shout commands in an authoritative voice. If the dog perceives that you are the one in control, it may back off.
  • Aim a kick at a biting dog’s mouth. This can be a dicey desperate move, especially if your foot is clad in soft leather or canvas sneakers. But if a dog is lunging to bite your calf or thigh, an unexpected blow to the dog’s face or head could make it reconsider biting you.

Hold dog owners responsible for their dogs’ bad behavior

If you get attacked or otherwise injured by a dog on your bike ride, you can hold the owner liable for your injuries and other damages. A Fort Wayne personal injury attorney can help you build a winnable case against the negligent owner.