More On How Cyclists Should Defend Themselves From Canine Attacks

As my readers know, I am a Central New York personal injury lawyer who loves to cycle and run along the beautiful roadways around Geneva, New York, where I live, and Auburn, New York, where I work. I like to call myself the “Finger Lakes bicycle accident lawyer”, but that’s somewhat of an exaggeration, since I handle a lot of other kinds of accident cases as well. Fortunately, there are not enough bike accidents in the Finger Lakes for a lawyer to make a living just representing injured cyclists.

The Finger Lakes provide a stunningly gorgeous background to my workouts. But nothing is perfect. Those same run and bike routes are strewn with some very nasty, aggressive dogs. It seems that some folks who live far out in the country don’t mind if their pets make mincemeat of bicyclists and runners.

My last post was about dog-on-bicyclist confrontations, and how bikers should deal with them. I said there was no consensus among cyclists about how to handle vicious dogs that run out at you on your bike, and asked other riders to give me their views.

And Jim Hogan responded. Who’s he? Jim is the owner and manager of the Geneva Bicycle Center, the best dang bike shop in the Finger Lakes area, and I mean including Syracuse and Rochester. Jim not only sells bikes, he lives, breathes and rides the hell out of them, both road bikes and mountain bikes, and has been doing so for decades. I personally believe he was born on a bike seat, though I have no proof.

Here’s what Jim says:

I would add 3 thoughts. When speaking to dogs, they understand 2 things, like small kids – mean, finger pointing voice and sweetie high pitched voice. If you are going to verbally deter, point a finger strongly with furrowed brow and bark a loud authoratative “No!” then immediately switch to the “sweetie, good doggy” voice. The confusion is visible. Also, when forced to jump off ALWAYS take the offensive immediately by charging with the bike swinging back and forth but still in front. Don’t stop at the edge of the road. Chase a coupla feet onto their yard. It really, really works. As you get back on the bike, keep pointing and yelling. Almost every dog has had discipline similar to this from the owner. The “dog mace” (Called “Halt”) is a life saver in a really bad situation and I have had no less then10 unsolicited testimonials about the stuff including a postal carrier who swears he is alive because of it (it is issued to all USPS carriers).

So there you have it. After I read Jim’s email, I immediately bought a few cans of “Halt”. Jim has them for sale at his Geneva Bicycle Shop. Thanks, Jim, for the advice. Next time Fido makes his move, I’ll be ready for him. As a famous former president once said, “bring it on”!

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani
Email me at: I’d love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels Bersani Kalabanka


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