A bicycle is an excellent choice of transportation, recreation and exercise for many in Illinois, but on your ride, you are exposed to a risk that motorists are not: dog attacks. We at the Law Office of Kerley & Associates have represented many people who were injured by a dog who was not properly restrained by its owner.
According to Bicycling magazine, dogs may not see riders as people, but as prey that needs to be chased out of their territory, even though the same animals may not exhibit any of that aggression toward a person walking past the yard. You may be tempted to try to get away from the dog by riding faster, but keep in mind that you may need to ride at speeds exceeding 20 mph, depending on the breed of dog. In some cases, the dog may be confused or deterred if you stop and dismount. If you try this, use your bike as a shield and avoid eye contact. Other methods of escaping an attacking dog include the following:
- Spray it with water or pepper spray
- Use an air horn
- Play dead
If you are bitten, your first move, if possible, is to clean out the wound with mild soap and warm water. When you cannot get information about the dog's vaccinations, you may be advised by a medical professional to get rabies shots. Even if you know that the dog is up to date on its shots, you may still want to have a doctor take a look at the wound to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and bacteria free. Puncture wounds and more serious gashes may need stitches and other intensive treatment.
More information about animal attacks is available on our webpage.