Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC) is a nonprofit club based in Rochester Minnesota, designed to promote nordic skiing, mountain biking and road biking in SE Minnesota.

Chasing Dogs

When riding in rural areas, you may encounter unleashed dogs. This is especially common on gravel, low traffic roads. These dogs are territorial and some are aggressive.  They may chase you, and they may potentially attack as well. The best defense is to plan ahead. Most incidents end peacefully, without injury if you are prepared and remain clam.

Safety tips

The best defense is to be prepared. There is a good article on the subject here, but here is a short summary.

Be Aware

A dog will usually stay very still (almost invisible) until you pass. They often attack from the rear (after you pass). It is a good habit to look for dogs as you pass driveways and farmhouses. Do NOT wear ear-buds and you may also be able to hear a dog sneaking up on you from the rear.

Get off the bike

A dog can run for short distances at speeds of 15 to 45MPH. If one is chasing you, you probably cannot out bike the dog.

Getting off the bike prevents the dog from knocking you off the bike. Placing the bike between you and the dog provides you some protection from attack. Some dogs will become confused and leave you alone at this point. If not, you can then walk away slowly until you are out of the dog's territory. I used this technique once with a very aggressive dog and it works. 

Report the incident

Member Marty Cormack created a map that documents locations of dogs known to chase cyclists and runners. This helps others chose routes that avoid areas with frequent dog issues.

In Marty's own words:
Recently while taking a gravel ride on an unfamiliar road in Olmsted County I was surprised and chased hard by a loose German Shepherd.  I had no time to react and nearly lost control of my bicycle.  It would have been helpful, and more safe had I been aware of the possibility of being chased on that route.  Unfortunately Olmsted County has no ordinance regarding loose dogs chasing pedestrians or bicyclists on public roads, so there is not a lot of recourse for these situations, other than awareness. Back in the days of message boards, RASC had maintained a thread on chasing dog reports.  However, the data was more than five years old, and in dog years, that is nearly an eternity. Given my experience in the Google toolset, I set about creating a new, easier to use and maintain tool to remedy that situation.


Using Google Sites, Google Maps and Google Forms. I created a web page ( that shows the location of reports of dogs chasing bicyclists and runners.  Below the map is a Google Form that can easily record any new reports.  When a report is submitted, I am immediately notified via email of the new report, and I can very easily add the new "pin" to the map.  The map can be scrolled and zoomed.  If you click on the pin, the specific details of the report is displayed, including the date and breed, if known.  The map and form work well on computers, tablets and Smartphones. Please let me know of any suggested improvements.


Marty Cormack

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