Just about every dog loves to dangle its tongue in the wind and Tex the Toowoomba trike-riding dog is no exception. And do you blame him?
Dog lovers Paul and Mel Goodin say their five-year-old mastif/dane has been riding with them in their Touroz trike for about nine months and he loves it.
“We go for a ride every weekend and he’s normally sitting there in the garage just waiting to get in,” Paul says.
“He’s always happy on a ride and he even leans into the corners.”
The couple have always had motorcycles, but cashed in their bikes last year to buy the 1600cc trike so they could bring Tex along on their rides.
“He’d always been in the ute, so we thought he’d love to ride in a trike,” Paul says.
Paul says he built a makeshift “dog box” on the trike to see if Tex liked it and when he did, he strengthened the design with a metal frame and plywood so Tex could drop down out of the wind when he gets cold or tired.
They tried Doggles on him, but they didn’t fit, so they rigged up a pair of safety glasses with some elastic and Tex seems to love them.
“He loves it in there. He even goes to sleep sometimes,” Mel says.
The dog box includes a tether so Tex doesn’t jump out, although they say he has never tried.
The couple usually stop 20 minutes into their ride to let Tex relieve himself and they make regular stops to walk and water him.
“We usually know when he wants to get out as he gets a bit restless,” Paul says.
Tex makes quite an impression on other motorists and the couple say they are always asked by people if they can take photos wherever they stop.
“We even had one driver use both hands to film us with his tablet while we were riding along,” Mel says.
What are the laws on dogs on bikes?
Dogs are allowed to ride in the UK, USA and New Zealand where they simply have to be restrained.
In Australia, dogs were banned on bikes in 2011, but the rule was amended in 2013 to ban pets being between the rider and the handlebars. That allows them to be behind or beside the rider, depending on their vehicle.
The rule also says the animal must be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the bike, restrained with a tether or cage and the rider cannot lead the animal, while the bike is moving.
The only rider in Australia still allowed to have a dog in front of him is Terry “Tex” O’Grady.
Tex – the human, not the trike-riding dog – was given official dispensation to allow his cattle dog, Bundy, to sit in front of him because of the charity work they do.
Tex and Bundy (and Cash before him) have travelled around Australia for years and raised millions of dollars for various charities.
We’ve met several other riders who take their dogs with them.
There’s John Skinner and his little black dog, Scrambles, who have ridden right across the continent, and Anny Seaton on her 1986 Kawasaki Z1300 with her dog Mandy sitting alongside her in the sidecar.
Every dog we’ve met on a motorcycle, outfit or trike seems to love it. After all, if you have a dog in a car, they love nothing more than sticking their head out of the window into the wind.
Riders should understand that feeling!
The RSPCA can issue fines under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if an animal is injured because it was unrestrained in a vehicle.
Owners face up to six months’ jail and fines of up to $5500. Carrying dogs untethered on the backs of utes can land drivers with fines of $500.
Rules, demerit points and fines differ slightly between states, but penalties are about three demerit points and $425 (more in a school zone).
To find out what rules apply in your state or territory, contact your state or territory transport department:
- Australian Capital Territory – Transport for Canberra
- New South Wales – Roads and Maritime Services
- Northern Territory – Department of Transport
- Queensland – Department of Transport and Main Roads
- South Australia – My Licence SA
- Tasmania – Department of State Growth, Transport
- Victoria – VicRoads
- Western Australia – Department of Transport