I’ve been thinking about animal hazards to cyclists recently, that is non-human animal hazards, and also about how those vary from place to place.
Every morning I ride to work along our riverside bike path. It’s usually got at least a couple of spots where Canada geese, or as we call them here “geese,” are walking across. Geese make me nervous. And it turns out I’m right to be nervous. This summer a woman in Ottawa needed stitches on her face and suffered a concussion after being attacked while riding her bike. The CBC story is here.
An Ottawa cyclist says a surprise attack by a Canada goose left her with a concussion and fractured cheekbone, and a renewed respect for nature.
Kerry Surman was riding along the Trans Canada Trail from her home in the west Ottawa neighbourhood of Stittsville to Carleton Place, Ont., on June 10 when she came across a family of geese crossing the bike path.
Kerry Surman said she has a “healthy respect for nature” following her encounter with the goose.
Surman saw two adult geese and a gaggle of goslings cross before one final adult goose made its way through the trail, and she figured the path was clear.
“I thought, ‘If I just zip past I’ll be fine,'” Surman said. “But I misjudged how fast I was going and the goose misjudged my intentions.
“What I remember is the goose giving me the evil eye and then the goose wrapping its wings around my head, and I can’t see and I hear myself screaming,” she said.
Any other animals I regularly encounter that scare me as a cyclist? In rural areas it’s off leash dogs. Often they don’t mean to hurt cyclists but dashing into the pack of bikes causes crashes. There’s even one who regularly chases cyclists on country roads north of my city with a ball in his mouth. “Stop and play with me please! ”
I was surprised in New Zealand that dogs weren’t an issue. I rode often in rural areas. Lots of sheep, no rogue dogs. They’re working dogs. I expect they either behave and do their job or meet an untimely end.
On my bike tour in Newfoundland we had moose dash across the highway in front of us. On Manitoulin Island it was snakes and turtles. But no dashing there.
In Australia it was kangaroos. Big and bouncy and a definite hazard to cyclists. Also swooping magpies. Yikes. Oh, and snakes. Most Australian email I received was on the campus cyclists list warning me of an angry brown snake on the cycle path to campus. How do you make a snake less angry? I just avoided the path that week.
What animals get in the way of bikes where you ride?