Dogs, like other animals, mark their own territory, and do not like casual walkers, cyclists or motorists intruding into their territory. They go into an attack mode the moment they notice an intruder. The intruder is first warned with snarls and furious barking; if that does not work then the dog launches an attack This involves snapping at the intruder’s heels, and trying to bring him down. The attack can throw any cyclist off balance causing serious injuries. Dealing with dogs should therefore be an important part of riding. Inexperienced riders or children should never be allowed to take tracks where they can be attacked by dogs.
Almost all dogs attack a cyclist from the rear. They usually come from the hindquarter direction. However, not all dogs pursue their victims seriously. You can find this out by the gait of the dog. It is only when the dog feels threatened that he chases faster than usual. At this time the dog’s tail points downwards, the ears are cocked and the mouth open.
You should always guard the front wheel of your bicycle if you see a dog approaching anyway near you. This is because the dog can suddenly come in front of you which can result in a fall. A good strategy is to move to the farthest end of the road and then ride away fast.
Another way of dealing with dogs is to let out a loud-throated yell. It will momentarily surprise the dog and make him hesitate for a while. You can use this time to ride away fast. You can also ball up your fists and shout angrily. Most dogs fear human violence and may not chase after that.
However, you cannot always outrun a dog. You are specially slowed down on bumpy roads or steep tracks. A pepper spray is an attractive option in these circumstances. The spray stings the eyes and nose of the dog, and stops him temporarily without causing any harm.
If nothing works, you should call out for help. Otherwise, protect yourself by placing the bicycle in between you the dog. Don’t try to lash out at the dog with your feet as this may make you lose your balance.
If you are attacked or bitten seek medical aid immediately. Report the instance to the local police station. Ask them to quarantine the dog if it is rabid. If it is a pet then you can also lodge a complaint against the owners.