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Old 12-05-04, 08:25 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Sound devices

(Apology: I'm too lazy to research old threads)

Does anyone use sound devices on their bike? If so, what? What do you use it for? How effective is it?
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Old 12-05-04, 09:13 PM   #2
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what are sound devices? you mean like bells and such?

if so, i use a bell on my commuter. i just ring it when im bored. they're kinda useless. i mean you could shout or yell faster then it takes for you to reach over and ring the bell or whatever it is..
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Old 12-05-04, 09:39 PM   #3
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Bells are completely useless, especially downtown.
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Old 12-05-04, 10:22 PM   #4
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Bells work well on the bike path, I know when I'm out running on the path it's nice to know when a bike is approaching. I also got my bell after a coworker questioned my manliness after I installed fenders on my bike. I asserted my masculinity with a shiny happy "ding ding!".

I think it would be neat to have an Airzound for the roads, but it would be used infrequently by me. Better to have the light battery or a water bottle in that spot.
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Old 12-06-04, 01:27 AM   #5
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Tandy (sorry, Radio Shack) or someone used to sell this tiny little compressed air horn, and man was it loud. I had one mounted on my bike once (lasted about 6 months) and it sure get's ppls attention, even if they're in their car with all the windows wound up. You'll have to figure out how to mount it (I used cable ties).

BTW. You can only blast away for a short time (in my case it was 2sec) with air-horns otherwise the nozzle freezes over and you get no sound.
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Old 12-06-04, 02:32 AM   #6
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Compressed air horns are available at my local WalMart in two sizes. The small (not counting the horn part) is the size of a can of Halt dog repellent and holds 1.5 oz. The big one (less the bell) is approximately the size of a water bottle and holds ?? oz. I find them in the sporting goods department with the boat stuff.

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Old 12-06-04, 05:32 AM   #7
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Bells: very polite, identifiiably "bike", useless against traffic which can't hear it through their closed windows and blaring radios. Something for riding around campuses.

I've used Air Zounds - they beat other air horns 'cos they are easily refillable with your pump. They are MONSTROUSLY loud and delightfully rude. Recommended if you ride mostly in urban traffic. Don't use them on pedestrians, it's rude. Old people die. But you can blare away as long as you like, until the air is exhausted, no freeze-up.

(These days, I just yell. My ride is mostly rural and I need the handlebar real-estate for lights!)
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Old 12-06-04, 08:58 AM   #8
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On my first bike I had a bell. It worked well on bike paths. But on my second bike, I decided it wasn't worth the trouble. I can just as easily shout in a friendly or stern way. I ride in traffic as well.
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Old 12-06-04, 05:33 PM   #9
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I use my voice. If I used a device that is loud enough to get some drivers attention in a car 50 feet away with its windows rolled up listening to loud music, well, it would hurt my ears.
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Old 12-06-04, 06:49 PM   #10
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Pfft, who rides bike paths. Bike paths are for sissies. Not to mention dangerous and slow.
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Old 12-06-04, 08:45 PM   #11
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I've got an Air Zound (or something similar - got it from MEC) I rarely use it. In a panic situation I'd rather keep both hands for braking, so I yell. The horn is only really good in situation where I want to let people know I'm there, but I'm not actually desperately trying to avoid a collision. For example - I've used it when a driver was drifting into the bike lane as I was passing. I think I've blown it twice in anger in the year or so that I've had it. I'm in two minds as to whether I erally need one, as I think a good shout is better, but the law requires that I have something, and a bell is useless in traffic.
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Old 12-06-04, 09:05 PM   #12
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I used a bell for a few weeks on Hilton Head Island. It caused more accidents, as people would turn around to look at what was ringing rather then get out of the way.
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Old 12-06-04, 09:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allister
but the law requires that I have something, and a bell is useless in traffic.
I understood that law only applied to shared paths. As I don't use them, I haven't bothered getting a warning device. Having said that, I agree that my voice is far more effective, and far easier to utilise than a bell or horn. The other tools I use to avoid crashes with cars these days are cynicism and judgementalism. If my insticts tell me the moron I'm about to pass in gridlock is going to change lanes without looking or indicating, he probably is.
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Old 12-06-04, 09:40 PM   #14
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[i Use A Scuba Diving Whistle Which Is On A String Around My Neck. It Is Loud, Shrill And Gets Attention. I Don't Count On Proper Reaction From Drivers, It Is Fun To Be Heard !
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Old 12-07-04, 07:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED CASTRO
[i Use A Scuba Diving Whistle Which Is On A String Around My Neck. It Is Loud, Shrill And Gets Attention. I Don't Count On Proper Reaction From Drivers, It Is Fun To Be Heard !
I'm not generally one to let the law stand in the way of a good idea, I think whistles are effective, but be aware that whistles are illegal in some states. I'm in Michigan, and they are illegal here. I have no idea why. Probably something that was topical at the time the law was passed, like cops using whistles and cyclists being confused with cops, or something like that.
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Old 12-07-04, 09:25 PM   #16
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South Carolina requires a bell or other sounding device. Case law interpited the law to include your voice.
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Old 12-08-04, 10:06 AM   #17
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Florida statutes (316.2065(11) says an "audible warning" must be given to pedestrians while riding on the sidewalk. Doesn't say what has to create the audible warning. Nothing about anything audible is mentioned while on the roadway. So I just yell out at pedestrians. Yelling at the motor vehicles drivers doesn't do any good anyway.
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Old 12-08-04, 08:45 PM   #18
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My voice is:
1) cheapest
2) lightest
3) fastest to operate
4) allows me to keep all hands on the controls (less distracting)
5) can be specific in an emergency
6) Louder than a bell.
7) I had an air horn. Nobody relaized the bike was making the sound, they looked for a car. On a bike path the walkers thought it was not even from the path.
8) when cars are close they hear me with windows closed if I want them too.
9) It can be fun.....
10) works better on animals than other sounds, like a horn, or a bell.

whistles are illegal on bikes in Rhode Island too.
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Old 12-08-04, 11:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
I understood that law only applied to shared paths.
Nope.

"258 Equipment on a bicycle
A person must not ride a bicycle or powered wheeled recreational
that does not haveó
(a) at least 1 effective brake; and
(b) a bell, horn or similar warning device in working order."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
As I don't use them, I haven't bothered getting a warning device. Having said that, I agree that my voice is far more effective, and far easier to utilise than a bell or horn.
If it came to it, I'd argue that your voice can be regarded as a 'similar warning device'. My horn has maringal safety value at best. I find I use it mostly for comedy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
The other tools I use to avoid crashes with cars these days are cynicism and judgementalism. If my insticts tell me the moron I'm about to pass in gridlock is going to change lanes without looking or indicating, he probably is.
I call that Roadcraft, something that is in seriously short supply these days. Most people seem to have just enough skill to get by, but not enough to realise that the stopped line of cars 20m up ahead will slow them down a lot more than it will me, and squeeze past me anyway.
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Old 12-09-04, 10:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED CASTRO
I Use A Scuba Diving Whistle Which Is On A String Around My Neck. It Is Loud, Shrill And Gets Attention. I Don't Count On Proper Reaction From Drivers, It Is Fun To Be Heard !
I use a whistle, too. Illegal, but effective. But remember, you can't reach for it in an emergency, it's got to be in your teeth before you need it. But if it's in your teeth, it's faster than anything except yelling, and it much louder than yelling. This little three-dollar piece of equipment has saved me many times from inattentive motorists and pedestrians. If I get a ticket for using it, it'll be cheaper to pay it than hospital bills.

The scuba whistle is plastic, so it's easy on your teeth. A metal whistle should have a rubber mouthpiece.

Yet I'm not convinced a whistle is the best thing. A loud horn (air or electric) mounted very close to a finger or thumb might be best. I used to have a car horn hooked up to my 12V lighting system, but I took it off when I decided to strip down the excess weight.
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Old 12-09-04, 11:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I use a whistle, too. Illegal, but effective. But remember, you can't reach for it in an emergency, it's got to be in your teeth before you need it. But if it's in your teeth, it's faster than anything except yelling, and it much louder than yelling. This little three-dollar piece of equipment has saved me many times from inattentive motorists and pedestrians. If I get a ticket for using it, it'll be cheaper to pay it than hospital bills.

The scuba whistle is plastic, so it's easy on your teeth. A metal whistle should have a rubber mouthpiece.

Yet I'm not convinced a whistle is the best thing. A loud horn (air or electric) mounted very close to a finger or thumb might be best. I used to have a car horn hooked up to my 12V lighting system, but I took it off when I decided to strip down the excess weight.
I had a couple of different types of loud horns. The air zound was louder than the small air horn. (Like for a boat, hand held) On the road it seemed to cause people to look for a car. On the bike path it seemed to cause people to think it was on a nearby road if I was far enough away from them to give them time to react. If I was close enough for them to realize it was nearby they would panic and not know what to do.
I finally gave up. I yell passing on a bike path starting from a long way away at least people know what is happening. I yell what I need to at cars if they are close. They can hear me almost all the time. If I yell thank you when some lets me go they can always hear me. But not if I need something else, hmm?
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Old 12-09-04, 12:04 PM   #22
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Bells are for little girls bikes/trikes....I have an Air Zound mounted right next to my right hand on the handle bars....but being as how the plastic mount for the Air Zound is so flimsy, I've had to used two plastic zip ties to hold it on securely. I use my small bicycle pump to inflate the bottle and I can get about 24 really loud, but short, blasts out of it. I had a near accident one day, when a local cop was backing out of a drive way right into my path, he never bothered to look to his left, I gave him a blast on the horn, and a dirty look too, man, you should have seen him as he slammed on his brakes. Now when he sees me, his face turns beet red, ha, ha.
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Old 12-09-04, 09:25 PM   #23
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I had a near accident one day, when a local cop was backing out of a drive way right into my path, he never bothered to look to his left, I gave him a blast on the horn, and a dirty look too, man, you should have seen him as he slammed on his brakes.
Motorists just aren't looking for us. We need something.
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