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What to Do When a Bicyclist is Attacked by a Dog

Bike riding is an activity that brings riders feelings of euphoria, releases stress, and is overall good for the body. However, bike riders are faced with many challenges that can inhibit their piece when they are out on the road, including the threat of being bit by a dog. Below, our expert team of bike accident injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers break down the legal implications of getting bit by a dog when riding a bike.

Bike Riding and Attracting Dogs

Dogs have evolved from a breeds of huntress animal, a common ancestor between dogs and wolves - it is in their innate instinct to run after or ‘hunt’ people, animals, and objects they see as prey or as a threat to their territory. While most dogs in the United States might be domesticated these days, undomesticated and hungry street dogs might not be. However, both can pose a threat to bike riders. Some dogs might see bike riders as either prey to hunt or as a threat to their territory.

What to Do When a Bicyclist is Attacked by a Dog

When a bicyclist gets attacked by a dog, it’s important to stay calm, but act quickly to lessen the injuries that can be caused from the attack. The parties involved in the attack (which include the bicyclist, the dog owner, and witnesses) should take the following actions: 

  • Get the dog off and away from the bicyclist. Prying a dog away from attacking an individual can be a feat, especially if the dog is large and powerful. All parties involved should do their part to assist the bicyclist. The bicyclist themself should try to create a barrier between them and the dog, by placing the bike in between them and using it as a tool to push the dog away. The owner of the dog should use their commands to get the dog away and witnesses should as well. 
  • Call 911 for emergency services and immediate medical assistance if necessary. Somebody at the scene of the accident should call 911 if the bicyclist can’t call for emergency services themself. The police should come on site to come file an official police report of the incident and call for an ambulance if necessary. 
  • Call animal control to report the dog for biting. Animal control can come on site to help de-escalate the situation and assess the dog’s behavior. If they are a stray dog, they can also take the, to the pound. 
  • Exchange information before leaving the site of the accident. While police should file an official report for the bicyclist, it’s important for them that they get the contact information of the dog owner, any witnesses involved, and the officer who created the report. It is pertinent to receive the insurance information of the dog owner. 
  • Gather as much evidence as possible. Take photos and video of the dog, injuries, any property damage, and any other relevant photo evidence necessary. Bicyclists should attain witness testimony as well. 
  • Get an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney versed in bike accident, dog bite, and premises law (such as those from West Coast Trial Lawyers) can assist you in navigating the process of building your case to file for an insurance claim and/or a lawsuit if necessary. 

Dog Owner Liability

If a dog attacks an individual, the aggrieved individual has the right to file an insurance claim and/or lawsuit against the owner of the dog or the premises of which the dog bite occurred. It depends on where the attack occurred and whether or not the dog owner had insurance coverage for this incident or not.

If an attack happens on private property, such as on a home owner’s premise, they could have coverage if they have either their dog insured or if they have homeowner’s insurance that covers accidents that occur on their premises.

If an attack happens on public property, either the owner of the dog and/or the property owner of the premise can be held accountable for the accident. The owner of the dog can be held accountable through insurance plans that cover their dog, or property owner premises liability insurance.

If no party involved has insurance because they either do not insure their pets, or have no property insurance because they are renters, the landlords of the property can be held accountable through their insurance for your injuries.

Tips to Wade Off Dog Attacks While Bike Riding

Bicyclists want to enjoy their commute, leisure or sport activity - not get attacked by dogs along the way. While some of these might not be the ideal solution to wading off a dog, neither is getting attacked by one. Take the following tips with you on your next bike ride, because you never know when you might encounter a dog who might attack. When you see a threatening dog looking to attack you try this: 

  • Ride as quickly and as safely as you can to get away from the dog. 
  • Shout and/or use a commanding voice to warn the dog to get away.
  • Use an air horn to scare the dog away.
  • Use pepper spray to deflect the dog from attacking you.

Need a Bike Accident Injury Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help

Get the compensation that you deserve! Our experienced team of bike accident injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you cover the property damage experienced to your vehicle, cover medical bills as they come in, and receive compensation for all of your losses. Call us today at 888 341 9802 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate expert personal injury legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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