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Old 04-22-09, 06:24 PM   #1
duffetta
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Beware of the dog leash

On my morning ride into the office, I was on a MUP along the Muddy River in Brookline/Boston. I wasn't going hard, but it was a good clip. I see two women with dogs up ahead. The women and one of the dogs is on the left, and the other dog is on the right. I don't think much of it until I see a VERY thin dog leash stretched across the path, about 2 feet in front of me. I immediately hit the brakes and come to a full stop. The woman holding the leash drops her end. The dog didn't move. The leash ended up between my fender and wheel, with some of it caught in the front brake. No tangles, and easily removed. Everyone is alright. I acknowledge that I should have seen the leash (though that leash was SO thin I'm not sure how). The woman acknowledges that she should be more careful with where she and the dog are on the path. No harm done.

The amazing thing is that I have clipless pedals, and have been using them for only about 4 weeks. I didn't have to think about pulling my foot out of the pedal. I just did it naturally. I guess I've gotten used to them.

Just keep an eye out for those leash hazards. It was a close call, but now I know to watch for such situations.

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Old 04-22-09, 06:40 PM   #2
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That is a constant hazard on the local trail here. Those extendable leashed should be banned! Of course a proper bicycle commuting route would be separate from (dog)walking trails.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:01 PM   #3
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I'll say its totally her fault in this situation. Its a MUP which is meant to be shared, yet she was taking up the entire width by stretching that leash across from one side to the other.

Retroreflective leashes would be cool, but somehow I dont think anyone would be wise enough to buy them. Maybe making white a more common color for them than black would be more likely...


Anyway, helicopter's find power lines to be a similar hazard, where the cables can snag their landing gear when flying low. Perhaps we can take a lesson from their solution?

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Old 04-22-09, 09:26 PM   #4
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I use the extendable leashes with my dog, but honestly the only places I ever walk her are on the road (no sidewalks or paths around here, just low traffic residential streets) and on hiking trails in state parkland, and when there is anyone coming anywhere near me, I reel it all the way in to where it's actually only about 2 feet long and pull her to the side. I have yet to get in anyone's way with it.

The problem, as always, is not the leash itself but the clueless person at the end of it.
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Old 04-23-09, 03:04 AM   #5
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The problem, as always, is not the leash itself but the clueless person at the end of it.
I agree. Many of the decent bike paths here are multi-use. I have no problems with dogs on the trails (I go no faster than 25km/h) so it's not that hard for me to slow down quickly if needed.
My problem is that I'll be ringing my bell and generally the person doesn't bat an eyelash.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:20 AM   #6
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Those extending leashes are dangerous in the wrong hands. They shouldn't be allowed on crowded MUPs, sidewalks and any other place where some moron dog owners think they have a right to trip, inconvenience and/or injure people.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:25 AM   #7
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I guess that is one positive thing about morons around here who have their dogs unleashed.
I still do not understand the point of a 70 foot leash. When I walk my dogs I want them standing next to me not a mile away.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:38 AM   #8
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Another positive thing might be that you have educated a clueless dog walker.
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Old 04-23-09, 11:07 AM   #9
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I'll say its totally her fault in this situation. Its a MUP which is meant to be shared, yet she was taking up the entire width by stretching that leash across from one side to the other.
I agree, but it's also a fact of life on that particular path. Still, that particular dog-walker probably knows better now, so given that OP got off without an accident, I'd say it's a positive outcome.

BTW, does anyone ever experience a MUP with a lot of commuting pedestrians -- like, people walking to work? The Muddy River path in question is like that, as is the Southwest Corridor path near the Dartmouth Street end.
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Old 04-23-09, 11:48 AM   #10
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I guess that is one positive thing about morons around here who have their dogs unleashed.
I still do not understand the point of a 70 foot leash. When I walk my dogs I want them standing next to me not a mile away.
Well, 16 foot is the longest I've seen. It may depend on the dog. My dog is constantly following scent trails and ranges the 32 foot diameter of the leash and more while doing it, going about in a seemingly random fashion, but I'm sure she's following scents. As I said, I reel her in if any people approach.

Perhaps if you have a dog with less curiosity or less of a sense of smell, it might just want to walk. My dog is out there for the sensual things.
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Old 04-23-09, 11:54 AM   #11
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70 foot was an exaggeration. I have labs and they like to follow scents as well but I usually leave the trail when allowed to do so.
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Old 04-23-09, 11:57 AM   #12
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70 foot retractable is a bit long

I have a 25 foot nylon web leash I use for training in open parks that don't allow off-leash. Awful hard to train retrieving and sit-stay-come with a short leash, and trying to train in a crowded off-leash area, at least initially, isn't possible. The long leash is a unique tool for a unique job, not an everyday walking tool. I use an 8 foot bright red nylon web leash for walking.
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Old 04-23-09, 12:13 PM   #13
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I still do not understand the point of a 70 foot leash. When I walk my dogs I want them standing next to me not a mile away.
I have 2 leashes for my dog: A 10' walking leash, and her 75' training lead.

The 75 footer is for bringing the dog out to an open field and working on commands, while assuring she can't just take off for the hills after a squirrel. (She's a shelter rescue and still has a tendency to bolt if unleashed; no matter how much training she gets.)
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Old 04-23-09, 12:29 PM   #14
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I almost clotheslined myself on one of those.....

Lady was leaning against the retaining wall on her phone and dog was using a sign post, on the other side of the trail. I didn't notice the dog (I usually refer to small breeds as mops) was leashed until it was to late to stop. She noticed me and, for whatever reason, she decided to try to yank the dog across the trail before I crossed her path. The dog didn't move (thankfully), she dropped to the ground to try and get the leash to go under me or something. The leash caught on my tires and went under me.

I probably should have stopped, but I didn't. It was for the better that I didn't stop.

How do those qualify as a leash? The owners out here don't have their dogs trained so they (owners) are having their arm yanked around by the dog.
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Old 04-23-09, 01:04 PM   #15
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I think a good rule of thumb for dog walkes is when on the path keep your pet(s) close to you. When in open area alongside path then allow them the room to wander a bit without letting them on the path.

That's how I walk my dog. Until we reach an area where I can give him more room to romp I keep him at heel. When we get to the designated romping area then I give him more leash to spread out more. I've been doing this since he was a little puppy. Now that he's 4 he knows the drill pretty much (though that doesn't stop him from testing the limits every once and a while ). He knows that he only has to behave himself a little bit and then he gets to romp. Getting him to behave for the return trip is no big deal.
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Old 04-23-09, 06:25 PM   #16
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pedestrian commuters

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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
BTW, does anyone ever experience a MUP with a lot of commuting pedestrians -- like, people walking to work? The Muddy River path in question is like that, as is the Southwest Corridor path near the Dartmouth Street end.
Agreed. Lots of people walking to work from there. The Longwood T Stop and proximity to the Medical area is a big part of the reason. I also ride on the Esplanade along the Charles. Not many pedestrian commuters. Lots of runners and cyclists, but not many people walking to work. I cross the Charles on the Harvard Bridge (Mass Ave bridge). There are LOTS of people walking across the bridge on their way to somewhere. Many of those are frat boys/sorority girls from MIT whose houses are in Boston and whose university is in Cambridge. I usually come off of the ramp up from the path along the Charles, turn left, and use the onramp from Storrow Dr to the bridge to turn around and get into the bike lane to head into Cambridge. I don't usually use the side walk to cross the bridge. That way I don't have to deal with the peds.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:14 PM   #17
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Labs? Shelter dogs? Pffffah.

I have a rescued Beagle-Jack Russel mix. If there is a dog that's more "high energy", it's likely radioactive. After spending the first year and a half of her life in a steel box, she feels the need to make up for lost mischief. "Marley and Me" is about a polite and well-heeled doggie, by way of comparison.

So! I was walking her on one of those retract-o-leashes, and she was intent on sniffing the hell out of a random tree-root growing through the sidewalk. She was otherwise being well behaved that night, for a change, so I left her to it, slowly walking on, figuring she'd catch up once she was done sniffing.

Then I glanced over to my left. Across the street was another beagle-terrier mix digging in someone's flower bed. And between that dog and me was 30' or so of retractable leash, and down the street was a car headed our way...

Panic doesn't begin to cover it. "Flying beagle yanked into owner's arms split second before being squashed by SUV" comes closer.

So, now I pay very close attention to where the dog is, and where the leash is.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:41 PM   #18
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If anything, this thread has revealed how common these leashes are. I've yet to encounter one when riding, but will now have to keep them in mind.
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Old 04-24-09, 10:06 AM   #19
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Sounds like a simple 'ding' from a bell could have prevented the whole thing. I've found that so long as people know you're coming, they get out of the way. I find iPods a much bigger problem than dogs and leashes.
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Old 04-24-09, 10:23 AM   #20
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My dog(s) walks beside me because she's been trained to. The leash is entirely for show. People tend to get scared and start acting stupid if they see a 140lb dog off a leash.

A dog pulling at the end of a 15ft leash or roaming around at the end of a retractable leash is a dog that isn't under control.
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Old 04-24-09, 10:27 AM   #21
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Sounds like a simple 'ding' from a bell could have prevented the whole thing.
The OP didn't know the leash was there, because it was one of those long dental-floss expandable leashes. At the point where he did see the leash, dinging from 5 feet away wouldn't have helped.
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Old 04-24-09, 11:57 AM   #22
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We also have many dog walkers on our trail as well with these retractable leashes. I can always see the line tho. Never had one appear at the last second. We have walkers all the time that are oblivious to all around them and you have to yank them back to reality. Its nothing at all to come up to one or two at a time with the walker on one side and the dog on the other.
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Old 04-24-09, 06:39 PM   #23
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Sounds like a simple 'ding' from a bell could have prevented the whole thing. I've found that so long as people know you're coming, they get out of the way. I find iPods a much bigger problem than dogs and leashes.
Oh yeah. And it always seems to be joggers and people on inline skates wearing them. Very hard to pass cause they are all over the place directionally
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