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JoAnna Lou
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Getting a Bad Rap
Loose dogs clash with cyclists
A stray Labrador Retriever makes an appearance at the Tour de France in 2007.

Loose neighborhood dogs remain one of the biggest concerns for cyclists on the road. Aggressive dogs are at the top of the list, but even friendly dogs can cause a cyclist to come crashing to the ground. These clashes can result in serious injuries for both the human and dog involved. 

Many bike clubs around the country have guidelines about how to deal with dogs en route, which shows that these crashes may be more common than we realize.

Canine crashes are even a problem for the professionals. Earlier this month, a stray dog crossed the road right in front of the Tour de France riders, taking down several cyclists. Apparently dog crashes are a regular occurrence during the prestigious event.

So where are these dogs coming from? The wayward hound in the Tour de France was reportedly a stray, but most of the dogs encountered by everyday cyclists are not homeless. 

At first I was shocked when I learned about this problem, but then I thought about my own experience around my neighborhood. When walking or running with my pups, I always see many unsupervised, unleashed dogs sitting on their front lawn. Most stay on their property, sometimes with a menacing bark, but others have run after us down the street. Not only is it scary for me and my dogs, but it’s not safe for the dog coming after us because he could easily be hit by a car or tangle with the wrong animal.

As well behaved as my dogs might be, I would never trust them to be unattended in an unfenced yard. You never know what distractions may lead them to dart into the street. 

Are loose dogs common in your neighborhood?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Image from Sky News.

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