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Why won't you use a bell on a shared path?

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Why won't you use a bell on a shared path?

Old 04-24-21, 03:03 PM
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fredlord
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Why won't you use a bell on a shared path?

Yes, bells are pretty much useless on the road when you're mixing it with cars and other noisy traffic. But why won't you use your bell (it's a legal requirement in NSW) when you're on a quiet path that you are sharing with pedestrians and slower cyclists. Is it because
  1. you assume everyone else is deaf because of earphones?
  2. you don't have a bell because of the weight/aero penalty?
  3. you prefer to shout or whistle to warn people of your presence, and constantly making noises never gets old for you?
  4. there's no law that says you have to?
  5. you just don't like people, and scaring them or inconveniencing them shows them your disdain for them?
  6. you just couldn't be arsed?
My opinion: I decided very early in my cycling renaissance that - when on a shared path - I would use a bell almost every time I was about to pass another person. That meant that, yes, at times on my journey I might be ringing every 20 seconds. Big deal. The upside is that I can alleviate some of the guesswork when predicting what the person in front of me might be about to do.

And, if the person/people actually make the effort to move over or reign in their dog/offspring, I say "thanks" as I pass. What an old Fred am I?
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Old 04-24-21, 03:06 PM
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1. Yes
7. My Chris King hub >> bell.

Morons with bells like to over-use them, which means I have to cary a frame-pump to stick in their spokes.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:21 PM
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7. The nice thing about not having or using a bell is it allows some who do feel superior to me. You should thank us!
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Old 04-24-21, 03:24 PM
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8. None of the above.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
1. Yes
7. My Chris King hub >> bell.

Morons with bells like to over-use them, which means I have to cary a frame-pump to stick in their spokes.
I told you how I use a bell. Do you think that is over-using it? If so, what is the appropriate way to use a bell, or don't you use one at all? Are you against letting people ("civilians") know you are about to pass them?

I can certainly imagine what over-use of a bell would sound like. I would also call it moronic.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:40 PM
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If you're as civil on the bike paths as you are in this forum, then you should definitely warn people of your presence.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:43 PM
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My job is to not hit someone else on the bike path. Someone else’s situational awareness is not my job. I am good at my job.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
If you're as civil on the bike paths as you are in this forum, then you should definitely warn people of your presence.
I am trying to be as civil as possible. If I am failing, I'd appreciate being told where I'm going wrong. Seriously.
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Old 04-24-21, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dominae View Post
My job is to not hit someone else on the bike path. Someone elses situational awareness is not my job. I am good at my job.
Do you agree that your method will not decrease the likelihood of an accident?
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Old 04-24-21, 03:53 PM
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Generally speaking, I'll use the Bell to give people more advanced warning than just calling out to them.
Examples are, Those with small kids or a dog, those taking a significant portion of the path due to walking in the middle or walking in a group.

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Old 04-24-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by fredlord View Post
Do you agree that your method will not decrease the likelihood of an accident?
You mean like when you ring the bell and startle them and, scared and confused, they jump out in front of you?
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Old 04-24-21, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dominae View Post
You mean like when you ring the bell and startle them and, scared and confused, they jump out in front of you?
I can certainly imagine there being a possibility of that happening, particularly if the bell is sounded too late. That is why I often ding more than once on approach. My situational awareness let's me quickly compute how oblivious the person/group may be. Or at least, have a good guess. No incidents so far in ten years!
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Old 04-24-21, 04:10 PM
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There are three types of cyclist out there:


1 - those who use a bell

2 - those who choose to startle and confuse people by shouting on your left

3 - those who don't care and never announce themselves


Me personally I choose to use a bell.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:14 PM
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case-by-case basis.

in the past year-ish, most of the time an audible alertness has shown to be ineffective. Doesn't matter the activity they're engaged in; walking, running, recumbent, E-Bicycle, etc etc. Some don't even have ear-buds in or a phone glued to there face. Common offending group tend to have an early 90s timeless attire & if there vehicle is nearby, ingress to a modern Buick branded vehicle.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:19 PM
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a bicycle requires no dialect, therefore, a bell may never draw attention to someone that has a deaf/mute handicap.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:21 PM
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I know how to enunciate the words "on your left!"
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Old 04-24-21, 04:21 PM
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I have a bell (s) and use when appropriate.

Not big on shouting.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dominae View Post
You mean like when you ring the bell and startle them and, scared and confused, they jump out in front of you?
What really startles, confuses and scares people is when some cyclists comes up from behind and starts shouting on your left or some other confusing jargon...Using a bell shouldn't scare, confuse and startle people. I've had people thank me for using a bell, never had a problem scaring or startling anybody.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fredlord View Post
I told you how I use a bell. Do you think that is over-using it? If so, what is the appropriate way to use a bell, or don't you use one at all? Are you against letting people ("civilians") know you are about to pass them?

I can certainly imagine what over-use of a bell would sound like. I would also call it moronic.

I try not to put myself in a position wherein I would need to deploy a bell. If I do find myself in such a situation, I find a simple "good morning," or "good afternoon", or "how 'bout dem Mets?" can work wonders.

If you are on a path where you are passing people every 20 seconds, do you wonder if possibly you shouldn't be riding (or going so fast) on that path?

They have that kind of path on the shore of Monterey. On the very infrequent occasions I have ridden that path, I just go more slowly. or get off the path and onto the adjacent road.

Last edited by wgscott; 04-24-21 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:25 PM
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I use a bell on my touring bike and hybrid. Both are the only bikes I own that’ll ever roll on an MUP. I use a bell and have experienced the following; pleasant waves, greetings like good morning, and thank you. I sometimes get yelled at to say something by old people who seemingly can’t hear the bell, completely ignored, and completely ignored by folks with headphones.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
What really startles, confuses and scares people is when some cyclists comes up from behind and starts shouting on your left or some other confusing jargon...Using a bell shouldn't scare, confuse and startle people. I've had people thank me for using a bell, never had a problem scaring or startling anybody.
I had one used on me not too long ago. I wound up stopping, getting off the bike, trying to locate the bolt I thought had fallen off my bike.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I try not to put myself in a position wherein I would need to deploy a bell. If I do find myself in such a situation, I find a simple "good morning," or "good afternoon", or "how 'bout dem Mets?" can work wonders.
I'll say "Superbowl - Go Lions!" Have not had anyone NOT LOL at that comment.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:28 PM
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Pre-ozone hole, it was possible to purchase a small Freon horn, not unlike what people used on boats. I got one of these as a kid, and had an absolutely delightful time with it until my mother confiscated it.

I recently bought one of these, but haven't tried it out yet. It seems a bit less obtrusive than a conventional bike bell. You can turn it off when you don't need it so it doesn't drive you nuts:


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Old 04-24-21, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
case-by-case basis.

in the past year-ish, most of the time an audible alertness has shown to be ineffective. Doesn't matter the activity they're engaged in; walking, running, recumbent, E-Bicycle, etc etc. Some don't even have ear-buds in or a phone glued to there face. Common offending group tend to have an early 90s timeless attire & if there vehicle is nearby, ingress to a modern Buick branded vehicle.
On the bike paths of Sydney my success rate seems to have been higher than yours. If my advanced warning(s) have gone unheeded, I automatically make some calculations/judgements: are they truly oblivious?; should I slow down?; can I safely go around offpath? Am I so close to them now that another dingding may startle them into doing something dumb?

Doing nothing isn't an option, because by using the path I agreed to share it.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I know how to enunciate the words "on your left!"
I have found that if it's not audible and/or not uttered early enough, then it doesn't matter how clearly it is enunciated.
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