Quandary offers tips for bike riders encountering dogs on Summit trails
What should you do if you are riding your bicycle on the summit bike path and a big dog runs toward you? Just let it go and hope you don’t get bit or knocked off your bike?
— A concerned reader
Just a hunch, but I’m guessing this happened to you, dear reader. This old goat’s been rambling through more than one pasture only to see the white of a dog’s teeth and hear the thundering of paws on the ground. A frightening sight to be sure. And what do you hear in the distance from someone who’s too far away to pick his or her face out of a lineup? “Don’t worry, he’s really friendly!”
Unfortunately, the law wasn’t always on the goat’s side, but if you were traveling along the Summit bike path, the weight of Summit’s leash law is behind you. The bike paths are among the areas in Summit where dogs must be leashed.
Still, if a mangy mutt attacks your tires, your first instinct should be to go for speed. The dog might be territorial, or it might just be intrigued by your wheeling ways. If the latter is the case, getting far enough ahead should make the pup lose interest and you are in the clear; if he is of the Cujo variety, you still might be able to outrun him. If the dog starts in front of you, try to get out farther in the road (if you’re on one and it’s safe) and keep your front tire away from the beast. Running over a paw doesn’t end well for either of you.
If it’s clear you won’t be able to out-pedal the beast and the drool seems to denote bad intentions, hop off your bike and shield yourself. Keeping the bike between you and the dog might give an owner a chance to get the dog under control, or give someone else time to help you out.
If all of your efforts prove futile and the dog dines on biker bites, you can call Summit County Communications at (970) 668-8600 and report the problem. Animal Control officers are on duty seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is also an officer available after business hours for emergency calls.
Owners whose pups stray from home and cause trouble can face a citation, so make sure you have the location of the event and description of the dog in case it runs off. For more information about dog-control issues, visit the Summit County website or speak with a representative at the animal shelter.
If this justice doesn’t seem swift enough for you, you have options, but few of them work out well for you in the end. There’s name-calling, pup-punting and fisticuffs, but while the short-term satisfaction might be decent, you could end up far worse off than the pooch.
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