What are the chances of recumbent riders facing animal attacks and dog bites?
Canines typically attack for one of a few reasons. The bike rider may trigger a prey response from the animal, prompting it to chase. The rider may enter the canine’s territory, causing it to defend its area. The canine may also just be curious or frightened by the presence of a bike. In most cases, there is no way to figure out why the canine is giving chase in the seconds a cyclist has to react.
When it comes to animal attacks, the statistics are vague and poorly kept. In general, though, an aggressive canine is one of the most common threats a cyclist will face while on the road. For this reason, it is best for a cyclist to prepare for an attack well in advance.
Why is there a greater risk of injury for recumbent riders who experience attacks and dog bites?
Canines are instinctually driven to snap at the hindquarters when they get close enough to attack. This is a holdover from wild canines, which would typically team up to bring down larger prey like caribou. For a cyclist on a standard bike, the greatest risk of injury is to the legs and feet. As they are the closest to the ground and are usually the first part of the body the animal reaches.
However, cyclists sitting in recumbent bikes have their legs forward, so an aggressive canine will first reach the head, neck and torso. This greatly increases the risk of injury to vital parts of the body, including the eyes and throat.
How can recumbent riders avoid animal attacks and dog bites?
Because the risk of serious injury is higher in recumbent bikes, cyclists need to be alert at all times and be ready to use a repellant right away. It’s important always to be aware when biking and avoid distractions like music or phones. It’s also essential that a cyclist have a dependable repellent system that is easily accessible.
The Sound Defense takes advantage of simple principles to ward off aggressive canines and is a favorite choice among cyclists. During operation, it emits a series of sharp tones that either turn the canine away or confuse it momentarily, giving the cyclist enough time to pedal away. Though no device is completely effective, it does work on the vast majority of dogs, including large breeds.
What are some other forms of protection and why might they not the best choice for a cyclist?
Some cyclists rely on spray repellants to turn away canines, like pepper spray. However, sprays have to be carefully aimed, and if there is any wind present, it may blow the irritant back into the cyclist’s face, leaving them defenseless. Another popular repellant is an ultrasonic device. These produce a range of tones that are beyond the hearing of a human, but can still be perceived by a canine. Ultrasonic systems, though, are harder to aim than the Sound Defense and do not produce tones in the animal’s sensitive hearing range.