Perhaps some people are right, perhaps there are really very many, too many people who behave thoughtlessly and irresponsibly. Perhaps in our hectic times, negligence without malicious intent happens too often.
But in any case, a reminder to pay attention certainly looks different from what is communicated on social media. Even worse, the emotional build-up afterwards in the comments.
Cycling with a dog – Forbidden? Allowed? Good? Bad? Cruelty to animals?
Once again there is no clear yes or no.
First of all – it is often postulated that cycling with a dog on a leash is forbidden in Austria.
I have a year ago, also of course in the summer as this topic was taken up again, very intensively with it and have gone through the corresponding law texts also exactly.
I will not “do” that to myself now again and write freely from my memory, why not everything may be so completely correct any more. It is important to me to admit that, because even a year ago, it would have needed for certain subtleties probably a court or at least a lawyer.
Here in Austria, the StVO, the Road Traffic Regulations, apply. This is referred to in most articles, although it is mainly or almost exclusively about animal welfare instead of traffic safety.
My dear authors, we have an animal protection law (TSchG) if you should not be aware of that and that fits in the context then rather, because here the prohibition of the cruelty to animals is clearly stated.
The StVO is very extensive and actually applies almost everywhere in Austria, so also on private roads, if they are approved for public traffic (eg at events).
So we do not actually get out of her, there is still the road law and other, additional regulations that I had come across when I was interested in how the situation probably looks on a hiking trail in the mountains. A clear answer for me I had not found at the time, in any case, there are enough mountain bikers who are on such trails quite on the road too.
Even animal welfare aspects are accommodated in the StVO, what I can remember, just top 👍 It takes damn smart minds to define such complex rules.
Anyway, it’s a complex set of rules and I’m not a lawyer. We are dealing with terms like vehicles, carts as well as exceptions and detailed definitions.
The bicycle is specifically defined and belongs to the group of vehicles, which probably means that a bicycle can no longer be called a carriage, unless I possibly sell it as a “towing bicycle”.
I was interested in this at that time, especially in relation to the sport of towing, specifically bikejoring. A sport with international rules, which in Austria because of the StVO therefore actually not be executed.
An administrative offense is committed by anyone who:
“keeps animals on a leash while driving or attaches them to vehicles in order to let them run along, except for the cases of § 74 subsection 3”.
So it is clear: I am not allowed to attach the animal to the vehicle (the bicycle).
But it does not mean that I am not allowed to hitch it to my body, e.g. to a hip or chest belt or something else.
It is explicitly spoken of attaching to vehicles.
Furthermore, the term “hold” is used (“to hold on a leash”).
In the Duden, which is still valid, gives an example of “hold”:
“… to hold the rope at one end”
well, leash and rope, that is already very similar, especially when it comes to the term “hold”.
Also in the Duden, the term “clamp” is defined and given as an example:
“to clamp the front wheel of the bicycle between the legs”
In addition, I can take the further term “pinch” with the following example from the Duden:
“pinch an object in the vice”
I now claim that from the German usage it would be correct to say:
“clamp/pinch the leash between the handlebar and the palm of the hand”
Since “clamping” is not the same as “holding”, I think that it would not be an administrative offence, if I carry my dog on a leash and “clamp” the end of the leash on the handlebar with the palm of my hand.
As I said, I am not a lawyer and certainly not a judge, only such a one can then decide in the case.
BUT it is me here also not about pedantic verbosity because from the point of view of road safety, which is covered by the StVO yes, even makes a lot of sense!
I have then namely both hands on the handlebars and can in an emergency quite simply release the leash. Depends now but certainly on where I move. In the narrow city or in wide area or nature.
One should be clear, traffic safety and animal protection belong here strictly separated!
Such a thing is checked in Germany probably by the “Ordnungsamt”, with us then again the policewoman or the policeman will decide. So must be the again lawyers, psychologists and the devil does not know what everything still at once. So please look for the calm dialogue, if it comes times to a stop, they can also not clairvoyant!
So, now away from legal texts to animal welfare, the welfare of the dog when cycling with him:
This is basically or at least in the further course of the comments in the postings on Facebook and Co. Unfortunately, very often insultingly emotional and without referring to any specific case.
There is definitely no clear YES or NO when it comes to cycling with the dog. There are many variations of situations, circumstances and individual conditions. It is not possible to discuss this here without going into a specific case.
A picture with text from a veterinarian who writes that you should not “tire out” the dog in summer heat – on Facebook. Shared and commented this picture with: 18 degrees is already too much and cruel to animals.
Normally, I would ignore such weak-minded nonsense, but people may be unsettled by it and that’s exactly why it needs to be put into perspective and clarified.
Because not a single person who reads this mentioned post can comprehend the situation in which the author has found herself and has obviously also behaved correspondingly aggressively and judge it objectively as well as rationally. But opinions out of one’s own imagination are posted in the comments in droves.
Making a dog “tired” (as stated in the original text of the veterinarian) is already its own intention and has nothing to do with joint activity with dog. This could now possibly also actually be seen sweepingly critical, especially at high temperatures.
To go with my dog on the bicycle in the nearby park or to the lake, in the normal speed, if my dog has no infirmities, there is nothing reprehensible or bad to it.
Every year people and animals die in heat waves, there are people who get circulatory problems, others run marathons through the desert. It is the same with dogs.
Of course, you have to be aware of what your dog is used to and what you can trust him to do. You have to take care of him, that should go without saying.
Riding a bike on a straight stretch of road can quickly become too much for a dog over a certain distance, while you are comfortably cooled by the airstream. Think a little, but above all do not judge, if I do not know the respective situation. The possible distances will simply vary from dog to dog and the conditions.
Also there are people who run permanently barefoot, on rocks, in icy snow, on hot surfaces where the average shoe wearer would have major problems. Also, we will not survive a 3 day march as untrained people without damage and possibly most serious wounds on the feet to us. The individual and the individual performance must be included here simply, if already judged. And judged is fortunately still from judges (in the case of the case) and not from comments on Facebook and Co.
It is very important not to almost drag the dog behind you, stay on the same level or let him run ahead and just pay attention to him. There is no recipe here. If you are almost competitive athletes, you can’t now just demand this performance from your (new) dog (immediately).
Your dog works differently than you do, especially when it comes to temperature regulation AND you will also be able to cover more miles on a bike than on foot, so please just keep that in mind.
The most important thing is ALWAYS to give the dog the POSSIBILITY to follow his intentions. So for example: if your dog with black fur lies down in the blazing midday sun in high summer, then he will already know what he is doing, but will also move away from there and look for a cooler place. He must have this possibility.
No dogs would be able to live (over) in the desert, if that would always be so as partly represented in the social media. It is and remains an individual thing.
Your dog can not tell you that he is too hot, that he is thirsty, that it is too much for him. You have an enormous responsibility and if you are not a well-rehearsed team, then please do not undertake any (sporting) activities with him carelessly.
Especially at extremely low and also extremely high temperatures. Every dog is different, just like us humans. Not every dog is suitable for sled dog sports, for example, these are quite exceptional specimens and have experienced dog handlers.
But also stop judging situations and snapshots that you get presented on social media, which you simply can not judge. Even if you’re sitting in a sidewalk café in the city in the summer and a dog with its owner on a bike rides past you, you don’t know how long they’ve been on the road and what else they do and how fit they are.
And again: Of course there are cases where criticism and even intervention is appropriate, but that happens in the real world and not on social media…