Runners & Cyclists & Dogs

Many dogs chasing cyclistDogs and their owners, runners and cyclists often share the same sidewalks, streets and trails – but who has the right of way when they meet?

Dogs bark and chase and sometimes they bite.  Runners try to run faster.  Cyclists just pedal away.  But too often, a nasty encounter occurs.  Here are some guidelines to help everyone share-the-road without incident.

Dogs can be extremely quick to attack.  Watch this 0:31 second video of how fast a dog attacks a cyclist.  Yahoo News

dog_chasing_cyclistTIPS FOR RUNNERS & CYCLISTS:

  • Warn the dog owner that you are approaching.
  • Runners – shout “on your right/left.”
  • Cyclist – use a bell to alert the dog owner.
  • If there is no leash on the dog, ask the owner to control the dog.
  • Approach the dog slowly and give a wide berth.
  • Don’t assume the dog owner has control of the dog.
  • Be polite – thank the dog owner for controlling the dog.

TIPS FOR DOG OWNERS

  • Always keep the dog on a short leash – not a retractable leash.
  • Be alert for approaching persons and dogs.
  • Enroll in an obedience class for dogs that are prone to chase.

TIPS TO AVOID A BITE OR ATTACK:

  • Stop running and stand stationary with your arms pulled in to your body.
  • Avoid staring at the dog and look to the side.
  • Once the dog has calmed down you can back away slowly.
  • Avoid turning your back on the dog.
  • If the dog attacks, drop/throw a piece of clothing for the dog to grab instead of you.
  • In all cases avoid screaming and flailing like wounded prey.
  • Report the incident to your local law animal control authority.

A FINAL WORD – No dog gets one-free-bite.  Tennessee law requires the dog owner to keep the dog 1) under reasonable control (use a leash) and 2) from running at large (no loose dogs).

Jonathan Stephens lives in East Nashville and has been practicing general civil law for over 20 years.  He is a member of the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association Animal Law Section.  Mr. Stephens is available for speaking engagements and dog law questions.  He may be contacted at Staff@TennDogBiteLaw.com.

The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  Contacting an attorney does not create an attorney-client relationship.  If you need specific legal advice for a case or potential case, you should retain and attorney directly rather than relying on this article.

 

 

 

 

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