Stop! Stop!


The weather finally turned nice here in the Kingston area. Two 60k rides over the week-end. The rides were, for the most part, uneventful. Strong gusting winds, ENE, made the ride home on Saturday really tough. The winds were a bit kinder on Sunday. Not as strong and more from the southwest.

The loops I ride are in the country. Very little traffic except for a couple of the rural highways, highway 38, county road 6, and the corner pictured above, county road 4.

County road 4 provides a two-lane, higher speed service. The posted limit is 80 kph although most cars travel the road at around 100 kph or faster. There is a small shoulder for a cyclist to use. From the corner of Maple Road and County Road 4, I usually ride north to Simmons Road, about 750 metres or so. It is an uphill ride so a bit of a harder pull from the intersection of Maple and 4.

I was coming along Maple Road pushing against some strong winds. I stopped for the stop sign at the corner of Maple Road and County Road 4 when, all of a sudden, three dogs came racing at me from behind. Instinctively, I sprinted up County Road 4.

A woman, just north of the house at the corner of Maple and County Road 4 started yelling: “Stop! Stop!”

She wasn’t yelling at her dogs though. No. She was yelling at me. “Stop! I don’t want my dogs to get killed!”

The bylaws in our area concerning dogs are pretty specific. Kingston’s By-law Number 2004-144 includes the following:

4.18 No owner shall cause or permit his or her dog to be at large or to trespass.

4.19 Every dog shall be under the control of its owner at all times when on any property that is not owned or occupied by its owner.

I had to race well over 500 metres to get ahead of these dogs. I hit somewhere over 45 kph uphill and against the wind.

The dogs eventually gave up. Tired I am sure. Dead? Well, not that day.

I am not sure why any responsible dog owner would let three dogs loose on the property of a house that adjoins a rural highway. Especially if they are unable to control their dogs.

So. Why did I not stop for these dogs?

It is the owner’s failure to exercise control over the pet that leads to the conflict and to the owner’s potential liability. If I can outrace a dog without injuring myself, then I sprint. I do not stop.

Many dogs out in the country will exhibit very aggressive behaviours, particularly when giving chase. Stopping only invites a potential showdown with a dog. And, in this case, there were three of them.

The last thing I would do is stop for a pack of dogs. Dogs revert to their more primitive natures when they run in packs and the most difficult dog attacks to deal with are those involving pack behaviour.

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