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Old 01-27-04, 03:35 AM   #1
Wayneburg
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Why are whistles illegal?

In an earlier thread about bicycle audio alert devices... Anyone use this? I read that whistles are illegal. I am confused about why they would be illegal. Are they illegal to use while riding a bike or illegal to use period?

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Old 01-27-04, 07:19 AM   #2
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The law mandates that bicycles have an adequate sound device. Whistles and sirens are illegal for the same reason flashing blue lights are illegal, because they might create confusion for some motorists. But finding an adequate sound device for use in motor traffic is not always as simple as popping into the local bike shop.

As I've mentioned in other threads, I've rigged a car horn to a small 12V battery. I also run headlights and tail lights from that battery.
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Old 01-27-04, 10:14 AM   #3
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Depends on your state laws, whistles are not illegal in Pennsylvania, only sirens are illegal. See code below.

Chapter 35 - SPECIAL VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS
Subchapter A - Operation of Pedalcycles (Bicycles)
Section 3507. Lamps or other equipment on pedalcycles.
b) Audible signal devices. - A pedalcycle may be equipped with a device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least 100 feet except that a pedalcycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a pedalcycle any siren.
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Old 01-28-04, 11:00 AM   #4
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what about yelling? I think that if I yell loud enough that someone can hear me 100 feet away...
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Old 01-28-04, 11:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Phatman
what about yelling? I think that if I yell loud enough that someone can hear me 100 feet away...
Oh I use yelling too. Thing is I don't always ride with a whistle at the ready in my mouth. I put it there when I know I am coming up to busy intersections, or places of concern. So otherwise, if someone or thing surprises me I braek out the vocal cords.

All in all though the whistle is many time louder than a yell, and it won't get lost as easily in the throng of noises on the street. People respond to a whistle immediately I think because they associate it with the authorities. Which is probably why it is illegal in some places.
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Old 01-28-04, 01:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franklen
Oh I use yelling too. Thing is I don't always ride with a whistle at the ready in my mouth. I put it there when I know I am coming up to busy intersections, or places of concern. So otherwise, if someone or thing surprises me I braek out the vocal cords.

All in all though the whistle is many time louder than a yell, and it won't get lost as easily in the throng of noises on the street. People respond to a whistle immediately I think because they associate it with the authorities. Which is probably why it is illegal in some places.
I used a whistle for many years. I got the idea because a school bus brushed past me one morning and though I yelled as loud as I could muster, I could hardly get the driver's attention. I kept a whistle in my teeth at all times, to the point that I never noticed it was there. It was an extremely fast way of alerting a motorist and it penetrated their sound-resistant barriers. I'd still use it if I didn't have a 12V car horn. Just make sure your whistle has a rubber sleeve, and that you wash it everyday.
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Old 01-29-04, 05:39 AM   #7
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i have an air horn -- the air bottle fits into a water bottle holder and the switch mounts on the handlebar. it is VERY loud - not sure the decibel but on the same level as a car horn. you can pump it up with a regular bike pump.

although you only get maybe 20 seconds of sound and then you have to pump it up and like tires it discharges with time --- once i pushed the botton and it was empty.

and it is NOT good for warning pedstrians as it is very loud and (in my opnion) evr rude and often scares them out of their skin (they think they are about to be run over by a truck!)

but i quit using it mainly b/c for me it was not so easy to push the button --- in many situations i needed both hands on the brakes and not on the horn... i currently ride with a bell (for pedestrians) and also yell. (i also currently in Germany in general have more "troubles " with pedestrains than autos, but i have thought of remounting mine for those auto-encounters)
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Old 01-29-04, 08:17 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=nathank]
but i quit using it mainly b/c for me it was not so easy to push the button --- in many situations i needed both hands on the brakes and not on the horn...QUOTE]

Precisely why I use the whistle - hands free. God knows I don't ever need the whistle when I have a hand to spare, only when I need both hands on the handlebars and all my attention on the situation before me.
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Old 01-29-04, 08:29 AM   #9
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Precisely why I use the whistle - hands free. God knows I don't ever need the whistle when I have a hand to spare, only when I need both hands on the handlebars and all my attention on the situation before me.
Exactly why whistles are so good. This is something I kept in mind when I mounted the activator button for my car horn. It's right where my thumb can hit it without moving my hands or compromising my grip.
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