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Mountain bikes and bells

Old 05-15-19, 10:40 AM
  #1  
Beobuck
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Mountain bikes and bells

An elderly friend and I recently were hiking a multi-use open-space trail and in less than two hours we were nearly run down three times by mountain bikers who had to skid to a stop to avoid hitting us. None warned us with a bell. Pedestrians report itís a common problem. Cyclists need to mature from thinking bells are just for kidsí bikes. Modern bells are cheap, light weight, and many are kind of cool. I am a cyclist; all three of my bikes have bells. And even if you bike in remote areas, a bell is useful for alerting wildlife, such as bears.
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Old 05-15-19, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Beobuck View Post
An elderly friend and I recently were hiking a multi-use open-space trail and in less than two hours we were nearly run down three times by mountain bikers who had to skid to a stop to avoid hitting us. None warned us with a bell.
If your story is true, you weren't hit. How would a bell have made a difference? If you can't hear a noisy mountain bike approaching, why do you assume that you would hear a bell?

"nearly run down" is a loaded term and is only your fear-based perception.
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Old 05-15-19, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by sputniky View Post
If your story is true, you weren't hit. How would a bell have made a difference? If you can't hear a noisy mountain bike approaching, why do you assume that you would hear a bell?

"nearly run down" is a loaded term and is only your fear-based perception.
It makes a huge difference. I run with a bell that has a shut off switch. So I can leave it off on one way bike only trails, or on trails that you can see ahead easily. But I have many times seen hikers ahead going the same direction and flipped on my bell to have them immediately turn and look for the sound, even though before that they had not heard my "noisy" mountain bike. A high pitched ring carriers a lot farther and is more noticeable than the normal sounds a bike makes.
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Old 05-15-19, 05:22 PM
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I've had this happen, even when I am on a bike. It is a genuine problem.

Part of the problem is that perfectly reasonable riders who have no intention of causing anyone distress or harm are reluctant to have a bell or yell out to people or whatever to get out of their way, because they don't want to be impolite. Then they wind up startling someone.

I've seen bells that work like a backpacker's bear-bell, that just passively ring to alert others of their presence. I wonder if this might be the way to go?
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Old 05-15-19, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by hig4s View Post
But I have many times seen hikers ahead going the same direction and flipped on my bell to have them immediately turn and look for the sound, even though before that they had not heard my "noisy" mountain bike. A high pitched ring carriers a lot farther and is more noticeable than the normal sounds a bike makes.
And I have had people that are completely oblivious to a bell that is repeatedly rung mere feet from them. A bell is not a panacea.

In the OP's story, he wasn't hit. How would a bell have made a difference? The OP wasn't "run down," but was obviously startled. If the OP was on a multi use trail he should have had an expectation that he was going to encounter other trail users, including people on bikes.
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Old 05-15-19, 06:04 PM
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Shouting out ďPASSINGĒ works better than any bell Iíve used. Pedestrians routinely ignore a bell, even though I think itís a polite way of warning people. Trouble is half the folks are listening to music and wouldnít hear an air horn if it went off in their left ear, the others are senile and deaf.

Unless youíre in NYC where the cops love to confiscate your bike for not having a bell.
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Old 05-15-19, 06:42 PM
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I buy a bell after all hikers took their earbuds out
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Old 05-15-19, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Beobuck View Post
An elderly friend and I recently were hiking a multi-use open-space trail and in less than two hours we were nearly run down three times by mountain bikers who had to skid to a stop to avoid hitting us. None warned us with a bell. Pedestrians report itís a common problem. Cyclists need to mature from thinking bells are just for kidsí bikes. Modern bells are cheap, light weight, and many are kind of cool. I am a cyclist; all three of my bikes have bells. And even if you bike in remote areas, a bell is useful for alerting wildlife, such as bears.
What if the rider did call out and ring a bell? Maybe you were too focused on your friend and didn't notice faster moving traffic on the trail behind you?

As a cyclist you should know by now that a good many hikers and pedestrians are oblivious to what is going on around them. The more people in the group the worse it is for the cyclist as their attention is more focused on the conversation. Bells are only effective when the surroundings are quiet and calling out doesn't work if they aren't paying attention.

How about more personal accountability rather than blaming others. Look at how your actions contributed to the situation. Stop automatically blaming the well meaning cyclist who just wants to get by and be on their way.
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Old 05-15-19, 08:43 PM
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Here's a novel idea:

Less vulnerable trail-users should yield to more vulnerable trail-users.
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Old 05-15-19, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Here's a novel idea:

Less vulnerable trail-users should yield to more vulnerable trail-users.
That's how it usually works in the real world.

It's also how it worked out in this case. The riders slowed down and yielded to the two hikers.

Then one of the hikers came here to complain.
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Old 05-15-19, 09:40 PM
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Which people will do recreationally, just to pass the time?
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Old 05-15-19, 10:33 PM
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I've been on more than one nature trail where there's a "bell box" at the trailhead, inviting cyclists to "borrow a bell" for their ride, and asking them to return it when they leave the trail. And they're the jingle-bell type, so they ring whenever the bike is moving. Makes sense to me. Unless its rocking a Chris King hub, a bike coasting down a dirt trail doesn't make a whole lot of noise.
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Old 05-16-19, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Beobuck View Post
An elderly friend and I recently were hiking a multi-use open-space trail and in less than two hours we were nearly run down three times by mountain bikers who had to skid to a stop to avoid hitting us. None warned us with a bell. Pedestrians report itís a common problem. Cyclists need to mature from thinking bells are just for kidsí bikes. Modern bells are cheap, light weight, and many are kind of cool. I am a cyclist; all three of my bikes have bells. And even if you bike in remote areas, a bell is useful for alerting wildlife, such as bears.
Hmm. But not hit. They were coming from behind? Did you have ear buds in or not paying attention? Were you on a one way trail or a downhill one out of sight? A bell meaning it is jingling all the time or one you ring? How about you wear a bear bell, one that jingles all the time so you let others know? Mt biker/hiker/dog walker/bird watcher here. Maybe the sight lines need to be adjusted? Lots of hikers and mt bikers in the mix? Maybe take some personal responsibility on a multi use trail?
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Old 05-17-19, 02:45 AM
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bells

FATRAC Bells-on-Bikes program instituted in FLSRA and ASRA - MOTHER LODE TRAILS

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Old 05-17-19, 07:11 AM
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Dang, that one is fancy! The one closest to me has like a metal mailbox with bells in it. I really just want to get one of the jingly bells with the off switch, so I can use it on any trail or path.
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Old 05-17-19, 07:31 AM
  #16  
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I just don't walk on trails where there are mountain bikes flying by. Problem solved.
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Old 05-17-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I just don't walk on trails where there are mountain bikes flying by. Problem solved.
Part of the problem is anybody riding a bonafide mt. bike on a gravel or paved MUT has no clue. If they did they'd be running down hikers on the deep woods single track.
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Old 05-17-19, 02:10 PM
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When mountain biking, I use a bear bell that has a magnet which is used as a silencer. I have been thanked a lot by hikers for having it.

As a hiker as well, I appreciate when a mountain biker has a bear bell as you can hear when they are approaching.
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Old 05-17-19, 02:23 PM
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IMO, there is a vast difference between the style of cycling justifiable on a closed course, such as a MTB park, and the type of cycling justifiable on a multi-use public trail.

Same as with use of a motorized vehicle. On public roads where it's likely to encounter other drivers, there's good reason there are rules and regs, and why horns and lights for notification and warning make sense.

I, too, have had reckless folks engaging in a variety of modes of travel (whether walking, walking with pets, jogging, skateboarding, cycling or small electric/motor bikes) who have recklessly disregarded the fact others were around.

I'm all for bells and horns on bikes, if people are regularly going to be on multi-use, multi-person public trails.

I'm adamant about riding/jogging/walking in a manner suitable for being around others. A solid percentage of folks out there, however, don't seem to do that. Wish that weren't the case. For many of them, I can't see a bell or horn helping much. Particularly in the case of folks whose hearing is overwhelmed by whatever earbud-related activity they've got going.

That said, it is what it is. We can do what we can to ride at sane speeds when there's a likelihood of others being around. So can others. Horns and bells, or not.
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Old 05-19-19, 10:26 AM
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I ride road and mtn, and for every one of these stories I see I can match them exponentially with my experiences dealing with hikers/ walkers.

The only group of path users I haven't had an issue with is horse riders....Except for the road apples.

We all just need to take a breath and get along.....Did I mention I also hike?
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Old 05-30-19, 09:34 PM
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geez, some crusty folks here
I like bells, though I don't have any on my mt bikes. But two timber bells are on order (they are neat, on/off function)
Live in NJ and it's the law but I rarely hear them on the trails.
There's a local park which has tight trails with lots of blind turns. Even at 7am, others guys training for races like me are chasing KOMs (lol) and there's 2-3 near misses each time weekend. Which is why I like riding with my buddies with the timber bells. You can hear them much early than the bikes themselves. Now if everyone were to have i9 hubs we wouldn't have this conversation....
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Old 05-31-19, 12:26 AM
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Is it a true story?
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Old 06-05-19, 03:30 PM
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Throwing in my 2 cents; hiking up our local trails in the hills, we often have mountain bikers zooming silently downhill around blind turns. Some say something when they see us, but that's usually at the last moment. I appreciate the one or two who use bear bells (thanks for giving them a name!), as DH and I hear them and walk farther to the right. However, they're popular trails, and so many people walk their dogs without leashes despite the rules; yes, it's the dog owners' fault, but finger-pointing won't bring a dog back to life. So yes, I'm all for bells.

Also, as a volunteer trail steward, thank you for not skidding.
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Old 06-06-19, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sputniky View Post
And I have had people that are completely oblivious to a bell that is repeatedly rung mere feet from them. A bell is not a panacea.

In the OP's story, he wasn't hit. How would a bell have made a difference? The OP wasn't "run down," but was obviously startled. If the OP was on a multi use trail he should have had an expectation that he was going to encounter other trail users, including people on bikes.
It isn't an either/or scenario. It is both and. No one is hurt, so the ending is good. AND, a little earlier warning is always nice.

I have been on both ends of this type situation, on dirt and MUPs. Courtesy on shared trails is a premium. I like it when my heart is racing, but mainly because of the effort I am putting out. When I have to fly into life saving mode in a nano second, my anger goes with it. Also my shame. When I am flying inappropriately and surprise people needlessly, I know it was my fault.
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Old 06-08-19, 10:02 PM
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I'm new to the MTB and pulled my bear bell from my backpacking kit and put it on my bars. The trails I ride have hikers and they hear me coming from far off and prepare to make room for me. Their conversations are not interrupted and they are not startled. It's win win. (Earbuds and the people who wear them are stupid. If they stop wearing earbuds, will they not continue to be stupid?) My MTB enjoyment levels have increased since I started riding with the bear bell so I will leave it on my handlebars.
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