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Cycling dangers

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To the editor:
There are many avid cyclists in Brunswick County, including year-round residents and tourists who are aware of the wonderful cycling that can occur in Brunswick and surrounding counties. Cycling does come with inherent dangers. My cycling group rides twice a week and has encountered cars trying to run us off the road, cabbages and other things tossed at us and, the reason for my letter, dogs wandering outside and unleashed by their owners.
I don’t think there is a ride that our group has been on when we have not encountered a loose dog or two that will come racing toward you. Two years ago, a member of our group had a dog attack him on the road causing two major surgeries, including screws to hold his hip in place after it was shattered while cycling and being hit by a dog.
On June 5, I encountered a dog that also came out of nowhere, plowing into my bike and knocking me to the road. My injuries included a displaced fractured collarbone, four fractured ribs and two pelvic fractures. What started out as a pleasant ride turned out to be a nightmare. The unfortunate thing was that this dog owner was cited earlier this year regarding his dog on the loose pursuing a cyclist. The animal control officer said that he would be cited again and fined for the second offense. The fine was $50. He mentioned that if there were a third offense, the fine would go up to $75.
What will it take before second and third offenses become more effective for homeowners to control their dogs? I hope it does not take a cyclist dying as a result of a dog attack from an owner that has been forewarned.

Bruce Gartner
Ocean Isle Beach