Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tip of the Day: Get Off Your Bike if Dog Chases You

Making it Worse?

We are asked this question quite frequently: What should I do if a dog chases me or my kids while we are riding our bikes? Most adults assume that if they have good speed they can outride a dog. A cyclist in our area was badly injured when dog ran down a farm lane barking at him. He sped up to try to get away from the dog, lost control on the gravel shoulder and fell off his bike. The dog sniffed him and walked away.

Avoid a Chase

Kids on bikes should never assume that they can ride faster than a dog can run, because most likely they can't. If confronted by a dog while riding a bike, the best thing to do is to stop and if there is time get off the bike so that the bike is between you and the dog.

The main motivation for the dog is the chase and when there is nothing to chase the dog will lose interest. If the dog does catch a moving cyclist this could result in serious injuries both from the fall and from the dog, whose natural instinct is to bite and shake prey that it has caught. It is best to defuse the situation by removing the dog's motivation to chase.

Some people have been told that they should get off the bike, but keep moving so as to keep the bike between them and the dog. This movement will just keep the dog interested longer. It is best to stand still even if the dog circles around the bike to investigate

Here is a video that shows the wrong thing to do if a dog chases you while you are riding a bike. Notice that when the cyclist moves the bike to try to keep the dog on the other side of it, this just makes the dog more interested in him. As soon as he stops moving the dog loses interest.

Here is a video that shows the right thing to do. Notice how much less interested the dog is when the cyclist stands still, compared to the previous video, when he kept moving around.



  1. Can we have a similar one instructing horse riders on what to do if chased by a dog, please?

  2. I can not imagine stopping and getting off my bike when I am on a back road and I do not see dogs owner.How am I to know if dog is friendly and will not bite me.

    1. The dog would be less likely to bite you if you are not moving. If you stand still: a. you are not triggering the chase instinct and provoking nips on your clothes or feet. b. you are less likely to show signs that would provoke the dog to see you as a threat. The dog should get bored and go home, then you can walk away and when the dog cannot see or hear you, ride your bike again. Unfortunately, some dogs can be aggressive anyways (ie. they consider the piece of land you are biking through as their territory and are ready to prove their point in flesh). For such a situation I have no knowledge. Studying dog body language may help you to read dog's intentions. But well, I do not know how fast people actually bike, but dogs run faster than any human.