Being chased by a dog (or multiple dogs) when cycling is no laughing matter. The obvious danger is the dog actually latching hold of one’s leg and inflicting injury; however, there is just as great a peril of the dog becoming entangled in the bike’s wheel(s) and/or swerving to miss the dog, which could result in a mishap. There is significant risk of injury to both cyclist and dog.
In the almost four years we were in New Jersey, Dave racked up 26,000 (yes, that’s 26,000) miles on the bike with only one minor encounter of the canine kind.
We have been at this location in South Carolina six weeks and Dave has ridden 1,000 miles. The above occurs every time he goes out, which is four to five times a week. The question is not “Did you get chased by a dog?” but “How many today?”
South Carolina beats Missouri hands down in this regard, although in MO, Dave was once chased by 10 different dogs during one outing alone.
In Texas, of course, if you ride in the countryside – at least in ranching country, which was my old cycling area – being chased by the occasional cattle dog (and buddies) was a given. Those guys were usually just out for the run, the fun of the chase. “Here’s the ranch. You know there’s these two dogs that wait at the top of the hill.” Okay, no biggie. They run a bit and then give up. No harm, no foul.
No cows here, folks, just cotton fields as far as agriculture/farming/ranching goes.
The behavior by humans here shows total disregard for the safety of others and their dogs. Examples:
- Dave recently saw a guy walking a bike across a four-lane divided highway accompanied by two dogs . . . without leashes. This was not a cyclist by definition, but just a guy with a bike. Two unleashed dogs? I know that highway. Those dogs were lucky to get across without getting creamed by a vehicle. That’s not to mention the guy was taking risk himself attempting to walk a bike across.
- One of today’s dog encounters (there were two) takes the cake. There was a guy walking along the country road up a ways in front of Dave, going in the same direction. The dog happens to look back and comes tearing away from the guy after Dave. Running away from his owner, back in the opposite direction from the way they were walking, to confront Dave on the bike. The dog was so crazy, Dave had to swerve and almost caught the dog in his front wheel. Yes, the owner was yelling at the dog, but to no avail. WTH?
- Then there’s the one with its owner in their yard which bolted out into the street chasing Dave as he rode by. The owner just stood there in his nice yard in front of his nice house. Baffling.
What the hell is wrong with people down here? <--- That’s a rhetorical question, to which I don’t expect an answer.
Is it a trait of the South? Am I living in a real-life version of Deliverance?
Yes, there are leash laws for this county and the State of South Carolina. I looked ‘em up this afternoon. I’d say 80% of the population in this county is in violation.
Do these people not realize that if their dog bites someone the dog can be impounded and they can face hefty fines? Do they not care enough about their dog to keep it restrained and out of harm’s way? Dave has seen numerous dead dogs by the roads here.
Again, these are rhetorical questions and apparently the answer is either yes and they don’t care or no, they haven’t a clue. I really do not understand the mindset, either way.
I have never lived anywhere that had such an apparent problem with this. It angers and troubles me, for Dave’s sake and secondly for the dogs at risk.
Yes, we’ll be arming Dave with some sort of defense – air horn, pepper spray (my least favorite idea, because it can backfire depending on which way the wind is blowing), extra water bottle . . . something.
I cannot imagine allowing our dear Maggie to run loose in the manner exhibited by the majority of dog owners in this area. I love her too much . . .
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