Is there much of a difference between the two?
1. Will "normal" pepper spray be too for harsh dogs?
2. Will Halt! be harsh enough for people?
Is there much of a difference between the two?
1. Will "normal" pepper spray be too for harsh dogs?
2. Will Halt! be harsh enough for people?
you arent afraid of one of those being too harsh for people?
How bout not harsh enough for dogs?
Just get the most powerful stuff you can get for the size you want to carry, and don't feel
guitly being a survivor.
The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!
Check your local regulations.
Where I live pepper spraying a person is a criminal offence (administring a noxious substance). I carry pepper spray when I tour in rural areas in NA, but I have to carry it on the outside of my body, otherwise it is a concealed weapon.
I've been partialy sprayed with pepper spray and it was the most uncomfortable feeling I've had. -In short I sprayed myself while spraying a dog in Romania, I got backspray due to the wind. It was rainy and I was wearing glasses and simply awefull. Luckily I got the dog enough that it took off, or I would have been helpless meat.
--So I wouldn't want to be sprayed with the dog stuff full on--
I've also had the "occassion" to spray:
-A Black bear. Kings Canyon NP
-The lead dog (?alpha male) of an attempted pack attack of Tibeten Mastiff's. Pack had 20+ dogs, lead dog took off after I sprayed it-pack veared off tempararily. Few Km out of Darchen Tibet.
-Couple other dogs.
I don't believe it will allways work (on animals or people), but its my first line defence if eggress isn't an option.
EDIT: adding, I carry my spray attached to my handlebar bag when cycling. I'd never have time to fumble about my bags or even pockets when I had needed it. Hiking I carry it in a cargo pocket in my shorts by itself. I had never thought of being charged with carrying a concealed weapon, so Stokell brings up a very good point above.
Last edited by Camel; 07-24-08 at 07:34 PM.
email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com
I've been sprayed at work and it is very effective. My understanding is that the stronger percentage of oleoresin capsicum just increases the time that the burning sensation is felt, not how strong the sensation is.
FYI, a taser is much more effective, if that is possible in your situation.
I find a small .380 semi-automatic handgun to work much better than Halt or Pepper Spray.
Are you going to be traveling somewhere particularly hostile? If so why?
FWIW: Nowhere I have toured would I feel the need for pepper spray to protect me from people. If I needed it for self defense I would be carrying it at home since I am sure the need would be more likely than in the rural US where I tour. I carried and used Halt! on the TransAmerica because someone who was finishing their trip gave it to me, but I can't say I find it to be a necessity anywhere we were and probably wouldn't bother if I had to find a place that sold it and buy it.
The dogs in Missouri and Kentucky were a nuisance at times and good sport at others. Halt! was handy with a few of the most aggressive dogs, but we would have been fine without it. Merely brandishing the can was sufficient in most cases. My daughter sprayed them with her water bottle and seemed to get almost the same result.
To me, protecting yourself from people with pepper spray in a rural setting seems unlikely to be either necessary or particularly effective. In an urban setting, say a parking garage, it may buy you the necessary seconds to get to a more public place or into your car. In camp out in the boonies after you spray someone you will still be there as will they, only now they will be really ticked off. I would rate you chances that it would do you any good about on a par with the chances that it would get you into deeper trouble with an attacker or maybe get you into legal difficulty.
I am pretty sure that most people from urban or suburban areas are in more danger from the sort of thing that pepper spray would help with at home than on tour. Do you carry it at home? If so carry the same thing on tour. If not you probably don't need it on tour either.
I like in Kentucky and deal with dogs on an occasion, on the few times that I needed to spray Halt, I found the narrow stream difficult to hit the dog in the eyes / mouth. Is there a product that has a better spray pattern out there? Camel, what products have you used?
Someone over on Crazy Guy (Neil I think) said that it came in a stream or a fogger model. I do not know if that was an accurate statement or not. You might look into the fox labs pepper spray too. I think I read somewhere that it had a fogger model too, again not sure though. In any case I too think that a broader stream would work better given the difficulty of hitting a moving target from a moving bike while sprinting away.
Your part of the world (Kentucky and Missouri) does seem to have more free and aggressive dogs that anywhere else I have ridden by a huge margin. I remember when it was like that in Maryland, but these days it is rare to be chased by a dog here.
I use the Fox Labs spray now, since in my experience the Halt! is not always strong enough to deter all dogs. Also, I have heard anecdotal stories of someone with an older can of Halt! spray, and their dog was licking the nozzle - it apparently tasted good! Again, that's third hand anecdote. Point is, pepper spray might very well lose potency over time, and also the can might slowly lose pressure, so don't keep a can for years. I try to change mine every year or two.
I use the Fox Labs spray now - it's more expensive, but I also don't use it as much. There are links to a good vendor at the end of the Dealing with Dogs article.
Someone mentioned stream vs fogger. I have used both, and they have their advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage of the fogger is that you don't need to aim it as accurately. The fine mist will spread out over a larger area (in the rough direction you sprayed it, hopefully). That last is crucial - "hopefully". On a bike, wind is often a factor. While in theory you might use less spray with a fogger, since you're not having to aim/miss/aim/miss trying to hit the eyes/nose/mouth, on the other hand the fog disperses on the wind much more and if the dog is on the upwind side of your bike, you might just end up spraying yourself, your panniers, or your partner etc. So unless it is dead calm (and I'm going very slowly), I prefer the stream type. It's true that the stream is harder to aim, at least initially. You just have to practise. Over time you do get better, guaranteed. Also, you can buy inert units for training purposes - again, links at the end of the article. It pays to practice. You'll always waste it a bit getting the initial shot and then zeroing in on the eyes/nose/mouth, but it is definitely a skill worth learning.
I like to carry a spray that has wider application than just dogs. Unlike some others, I do feel that pepper spray would be a good defensive weapon to have against "bad people". The arguments against this seem to go much the same as those against using it for dogs - "I've never had a problem, therefore it's not worth carrying". Or, "You are just going to piss them off" as Pete alluded. I respectfully disagree - I've actually been attacked by dogs, it's not a pleasant experience and it does really help to have an effective non-lethal deterrent. Also, most dog owners understand the use of pepper spray for defense, they know it's not permanent and they probably won't come after you with a shotgun if their dog chases you on the open road and gets sprayed. As for using it on people, I honestly like to have a weapon that doesn't actually have much risk of injuring the other party permanently (there is always the risk of an extreme asthma type reaction, I guess, but then again we're talking about extreme situations where you are being harrassed or attacked, so I'm assuming you have to defend yourself). Here's the thing: You simply cannot anticipate every situation that might occur. You might go your entire life without ever encountering any kind of extreme situation. Or, you might encounter it tomorrow. Carrying a couple of cans of pepper spray on your handlebars (remember: It has to be instantly accessible, no use at all if it's stowed away somewhere) - this is not very onerous at all, the cans weigh next to nothing and they give a good feeling of "last line of defense". Better to have than not have. Finally, you could, in a pinch, use pepper spray against a bear or other large animal (cugar?). It's true that the proper "bear sprays" have a much longer reach, 25 feet or more, but again, we're talking last line of defense here. You just never know, is all. I also carry a fairly serious folding knife that is readily available.
The key thing is to be ready, but not overly paranoid. Just because you carry the "weapons of last resort" doesn't mean you have to have the mindset of the paramilitary nutjob. It just means you're ready for more situations than you would be without, and if the cost of carrying (in terms of weight, hassle etc) are not significant, then I say "why not".
Pepper spray is definitely most useful against dogs. I don't spray every single dog that comes my way - it's certainly true that 90% or more of chasing dogs are either friendly or else just out for a chase, not intent on making a kill. You can often tell by the body language, number of dogs, type of bark and so on. When I see a dog coming out to meet me on the road, I get the spray ready, and greet the dog, keeping eye contact (don't behave like a victim, dogs respect alphas). On the other hand, some dogs respond aggressively to challenges, so it really has to be on a dog-by-dog basis. In any case, to be honest, even if a dog is being very friendly and just wants to play, it really shouldn't be running out into the road and running around your wheels. It could (and has) very easily cause serious accidents. You don't want to be weaving around dodging the dog, you might end up under a car yourself. And often you'll be going uphill, and fully loaded you probably won't be able to make a run for it. So having the pepper spray to deter Fluffy from taking a bite is a Good Thing (TM) in my book.
Last edited by NeilGunton; 07-25-08 at 07:46 AM.
I keep some pump strapped to every bike inside the rear triangle by the seatpost - easy to get to once you're used to carrying it there. I prefer Sabre brand sprays about the size of a red bull can. There's also smaller keychain ones that have plastic holders that can be discreetly ducttaped to the seatstays and be in a swivelling quick release holder. Looks like a CO2 cartridge even among cyclists-
As alluded above, pepper spray is a "last ditch" defense. You already should be off your bike and be under such imminent attack that a "reasonable person" would spray. You should be off your bike not only because that act alone often suffices to give dogs pause, but more importantly it keeps you from swerving into traffic. It also improves your aim so you will have some spray left over for the next encounter.
As for people, you should spray them only right before you call 911 to have them arrested. Of course, they need to have broken a criminal law first. And (IMPORTANT) this is subject to the interpretation of the police officer way before the more retrospective part of our legal system can be applied. Fortunately, a person acting close up in an overtly physical manner with you having no alternative to retreat can be construed as criminal assault. It he/she touches you, or your clothing, or dashes something out of your hand the crime becomes criminal battery and the officer is much more likely to help you.
"Overtly physical manner" is also subject to interpretation and the "relative physical condition / situation" of the combatants is obviously considered. In rural areas the fact that your assailant or your assailant's family may be known to the officer may or may not help you. Finally, as mentioned above, even if your assailant is arrested, he/she will likely be released within 24 hours and how far away will you be? 70 miles? Only an hour's drive!
I have been attacked by dogs and found Halt! to be ineffective. Its like trying to write your name in the dirt while peeing and ending up with only "Cycl...". As an experienced bicycle tourist I want my equipment to have multiple uses so I carry Counter Assault bear spray and would not hesitate to use it in any situation where I was potentially a victim. I will just make damn sure that a "reasonable person" would also consider themselves a victim.
Nine seconds of bear spray costs $40, but a only one second blast at one foot full in the face of any dog or human assailant should suffice.
I personally don't think you need pepper spray to deter dogs anywhere in the continental US. On my tour I carried bear spray, but then again the only place I needed it for was the Stewart Cassiar highway in British Columbia. I saw nineteen bears there, but never had to use it once. Then again, I'd rather be safe than sorry. The only place you might need any kind of spray against dogs is a place like Mexico, where there is a ****load of stray dogs. I didn't carry any while I was there either. I'd usually just speed up, or try to kick the dog. I think a better option to fend dogs away is to simply carry a stick and wack them.
Last year we were chased maybe 30 or so times on the TA. Of those all but one were in Missouri or Kentucky and the one that wasn't just happened to get away from the owner (as opposed to normally running free).
I have a couple questions for those who feel they want or need pepper spray to defend against humans. Do you carry it at home too? If not why do you feel the need on tour? Are the areas you tour less safe than where you live?
The reason I ask is that my impression is that if you live in an urban or suburban area and tour in a rural one (as would be the most likely case), it would seem to me like you would need it more at home than on tour. I know that I can more easily imagine having a problem with an aggressive human near home than on tour.
Many times, rural hillbillies think they can get the better of you in the middle of nowhere, where there is nobody around to see what happened. I had a couple of encounters on my recent tour where a pickup truck did something aggressive as it drove by, on a remote road. Given the uneducated and basic nature of some of these people, I wouldn't say that "country folk" are always going to be safer to be around than city folk. Most of the time, people in small towns are "nicer", at least on the surface, than city dwellers. But underneath that nice exterior can lurk much more dangerous and weird prejudices, most likely arising from never having left their home county. That's not a stereotype, it's just an observation of some of the people I've met. Many others are just fine, of course, but it only takes one to ruin your day.
To give another example, I have a couple of "go" bags in our basement, for me and my wife, in case we had to leave our house very quickly. Do I expect to have to use them? No, not really. Do I sit around all day fretting about emergencies? No, not at all. Do I feel better knowing I'm somewhat prepared in case something did happen? Yes, certainly. For me, the pepper spray is primarily for dogs. I don't really anticipate having to use it on a human, ever. But it's nice to have it there as a backup.
p.s. Sometime I do carry a small can of pepper spray when I'm in my home town, yes, particularly if I am going to a bad area of town. I also carry other means of defense, which I won't go into here. I live in St Louis, which is apparently one of the more dangerous towns in America in terms of crime. I don't walk around afraid of being jumped, I just try to take reasonable precautions. I don't carry pepper spray with me everywhere I go, but we have a couple of cans in the car.
Last edited by NeilGunton; 07-25-08 at 11:48 AM.
For reference, I live in downtown Kansas City, MO and while I wouldn't say that I live in a particularly dangerous part of town by any means, I do drive by a building sporting "Black Panther" graffiti on my commute to work. I think that gives many people, myself included an uneasy feeling as they drive or ride past it.
I asked because when I take my longer rides out past suburbia and into the dog-ridden rural areas (where the street signs sport swastikas and "WP" [White Power]), I want to know that should something go terribly wrong, I'll have at least some sort of protection.
I understand what people were saying pepper spraying someone would only piss them off and give them more reason to become violent, I'd like to think that the extra couple of seconds it would give me would be all it takes to hop back on the bike and take off.
In all honesty, I'm more concerned about the dogs than the people. I don't want to hurt a dog more than in necessary to get it off my heels, as I see chasing bikers as something instinctual to them. Maybe I'm too soft-hearted, but I don't want to hurt an animal for doing something that it doesn't do with bad intent.
Neil, Thanks for the response. Your impressions are quite different than mine, so it is interesting to hear your perspective on this.
In my case I don't worry much in either environment, but in the mile or two ride from my house before I get to relatively rural roads I am more likely than not to pass a crack head. I am used to being around hard cases and in rough neighborhoods. I spent enough of my life in such places to feel relatively at home. For whatever reason in most situations the low-life types tend to treat me like a peer. That probably doesn't say anything good about me
FWIW: I always thought Baltimore was a much worse town for crime than St Louis, but on checking I find... Baltimore is number 2 for murder rates in the US (second only to Detroit), but St Louis has a substantially higher overall violent crime rate and property crime rate.
I found that at 20+ MPH that I was usually going when chased it was pretty tough to hit them with the spray, so it was a good thing that they seemed to know what it was and wanted to avoid it. Interestingly, with the exception of a pair of little rag mops in Whitebird we always seemed to be chased only on downhills or flat ground. Maybe on the uphills we were too slow to be interesting.
People should be treated the same way without fear of some technicality of the law. If you feel threatened, spray.