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Thread: Bells, please

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    Bells, please

    The other day I was walking on a mixed use path and noticed cyclists overtaking pedestrians and other cyclists without warning. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?

    True, a lot of cyclists are victims of drivers, but someone on a bike can do a lot of damage to an elderly or frail pedestrian.

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    I tend to try to warn people by yelling "passing" very loudly(much louder than a dinky bell). I rarely get acknowledgement that I've been heard, because people either have music on or space out and don't watch what they are doing. I've had to yell at people walking the wrong way down the path facing me, and they still didn't see me until I was very close. I've given up on warning people, unless they are in my way.

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    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roby View Post
    I tend to try to warn people by yelling "passing" very loudly(much louder than a dinky bell). I rarely get acknowledgement that I've been heard, because people either have music on or space out and don't watch what they are doing. I've had to yell at people walking the wrong way down the path facing me, and they still didn't see me until I was very close. I've given up on warning people, unless they are in my way.
    I agree, the other night while I was riding I encountered two people walking who had their music so loud that I could hear it as I approached them, as I was a passing them and for a significant distance after I passed them.

    Unless I had an airhorn I don't think that they would have heard me. As I do have a bell and I wrung it, and they didn't hear me.
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    AIRZOUND!!

    Really, if I regularly rode and path like this I would consider trying a bell. While keeping in mind that it probably wouldn't work for the very reasons mentioned by Roby and DC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    The other day I was walking on a mixed use path and noticed cyclists overtaking pedestrians and other cyclists without warning. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?

    True, a lot of cyclists are victims of drivers, but someone on a bike can do a lot of damage to an elderly or frail pedestrian.
    Better question, why are the Peds not staying in the right lane of the MUP so cyclist and runners can safely pass? Do you expect motorist in the other lane to honk every time they pass another vehicle?

    Too often, peds become unpredictable when they are warned.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

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    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Better question, why are the Peds not staying in the right lane of the MUP so cyclist and runners can safely pass? Do you expect motorist in the other lane to honk every time they pass another vehicle?

    Too often, peds become unpredictable when they are warned.
    Agreed, the few times a month that I am on one of the more popular MUPs I often see way too many people who are walking in the bike lane side of the MUP as well as people who have their dogs on leashes that exceed 6' or are off of their leash altogether and the dog walking while trailing his/her leash behind it is the same as being off of the leash. Or are pushing those large 2, 3, or more baby strollers in the bike lane side.

    And then ironically they look at the cyclist as if they're the one who is doing something wrong. Go figure.

    Agreed, as several here have pointed out, calling out "left" or something to that affect usually effect of causing the "target" to move to their left usually right into the callers path.
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    In my area, the hierarchy goes Horses- peds- cyclists. It's our job not to hit them. One must assume that kid pedestrians and cyclists will do the unexpected. The M in MUP stands for Multiple. Use the streets if you want to make time. Bells, horns and hooting when overtaking is of limited use. Mostly it annoys.

    Followed a Saf-tee cyclist on the local crowded MUP. He was dinging and onyerlefting until I wanted to smack him. Others just spit at him.

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    I once rode across Holland, mostly on "fietspads", and I remember most passing cyclists warned others. I got funny looks because I didn't have a bell, so I bought one which I still use.

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    I once rode across Japan, and I remember everyone operating their vehicles on the left side of the road, so I did too; I can't figure out why everyone in the USA refuses to operate on the left side of the road.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    In my area, the hierarchy goes Horses- peds- cyclists. It's our job not to hit them. One must assume that kid pedestrians and cyclists will do the unexpected. The M in MUP stands for Multiple. Use the streets if you want to make time. Bells, horns and hooting when overtaking is of limited use. Mostly it annoys.

    Followed a Saf-tee cyclist on the local crowded MUP. He was dinging and onyerlefting until I wanted to smack him. Others just spit at him.
    I 100% agree that it is the cyclists job to be safe and not cause collisions, which is what I do. When it's not my turn to have control of a lane, I have no problem slowing down behind pedestrians. But if they are wandering around stupidly, or as I've seen before, have the "invisible" dog leash going across the path, I usually give them my peace of mind. There is such a thing as courtesy. Just don't give me that "ring your bell" crap, it's useless and causes more damage than good. Can also give the cyclist false sense of security that the ped knows you're there, yet in reality they are lost in lalaland and weren't listening for you!

    Roby!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Better question, why are the Peds not staying in the right lane of the MUP so cyclist and runners can safely pass? Do you expect motorist in the other lane to honk every time they pass another vehicle?

    Too often, peds become unpredictable when they are warned.
    +1
    I'll just add that bike paths are not MUPs in all states. In OR, they are considered roads, not off-road sidewalks. Since pedestrians have no right-of-way on a road without a sidewalk, they are just illegally staging critical mass events when they blockade the bike paths here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    +1
    I'll just add that bike paths are not MUPs in all states. In OR, they are considered roads, not off-road sidewalks. Since pedestrians have no right-of-way on a road without a sidewalk, they are just illegally staging critical mass events when they blockade the bike paths here.
    around here the bike paths are all labeled "bike path." There are some multi-use trails, but they are pretty much designed for pedestrians. I always wondered why people walking on something labeled, "bike path" wouldn't at least consider the notion that they might be passed by a bicycle. I think that bikes and pedestrians mix very poorly, and that sidewalks should stay sidewalks and bike paths should be reserved for cyclists unless there is a compelling reason to do differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    around here the bike paths are all labeled "bike path." There are some multi-use trails, but they are pretty much designed for pedestrians. I always wondered why people walking on something labeled, "bike path" wouldn't at least consider the notion that they might be passed by a bicycle. I think that bikes and pedestrians mix very poorly, and that sidewalks should stay sidewalks and bike paths should be reserved for cyclists unless there is a compelling reason to do differently.
    I've gotta laugh at that as well. Down here we have a section of the city trails that places a two-way bike path on a one-way road. Yes, it's separated by a low median. But despite the sign at each end that clearly indicates bicycles only I've seen people walking in it. And not just crossing it to get from the bus stop to the bus/bus to the bus stop/sidewalk but walking it's length.

    But I guess considering that kids these days are being taught to take and pass tests as opposed to actually being taught the skills that they'll need in life it shouldn't be too surprising that they don't understand what "no pedestrians" mean.

    The same is true for that stretch of road near me that has the bike lane that goes around a curve. There are plenty of trees that make it VERY clear that pedestrians are not allowed on that short stretch of roadway, yet everyday when I go past it I see someone walking along it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    The other day I was walking on a mixed use path and noticed cyclists overtaking pedestrians and other cyclists without warning. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?

    True, a lot of cyclists are victims of drivers, but someone on a bike can do a lot of damage to an elderly or frail pedestrian.

    Where were you Ironwood? Which path? And when?

    I use a bell but I have to say it often does little good. When I see someone with headphones I'm extra cautious because sometimes they don' t hear the bell. Some people ignore the bell entirely and make no effort to facilitate passing. Some, like the lacrosse player on the Charles River path the other night, choose to run diagonal patterns across the bike path zig zagging their way along the path and no amount of bell ringing interrupts their routine. I'd say 60-75% of joggers and pedestrians respond to a bell but that 25- 40% that don't may be the reason why so many cyclists have given up.

    Combine that with the fact that while 60- 75% of the cyclists on the path ride responsibly there is a like number of cyclists who ride irresponsibly. It's not the mode of travel it's just that a certain percent of us, no matter what our means of conveyance, seem to be in a world all our own. Stupid pedestrians are as much a danger to someone on a bike as a stupid person on a bike is to a pedestrian.

    For evidence of this ride down Comm Ave near BU as pedestrians jay walk and blindly step in front of bikes, cars, buses and subway trains while chatting on cell phones, texting or listening to their iPods.

    It's got little or nothing to do with bikes. It's just people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    The other day I was walking on a mixed use path and noticed cyclists overtaking pedestrians and other cyclists without warning. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?

    True, a lot of cyclists are victims of drivers, but someone on a bike can do a lot of damage to an elderly or frail pedestrian.
    Why should I use a bell, when I can just as easily use my voice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Where were you Ironwood? Which path? And when?

    I use a bell but I have to say it often does little good. When I see someone with headphones I'm extra cautious because sometimes they don' t hear the bell. Some people ignore the bell entirely and make no effort to facilitate passing. Some, like the lacrosse player on the Charles River path the other night, choose to run diagonal patterns across the bike path zig zagging their way along the path and no amount of bell ringing interrupts their routine. I'd say 60-75% of joggers and pedestrians respond to a bell but that 25- 40% that don't may be the reason why so many cyclists have given up.

    Combine that with the fact that while 60- 75% of the cyclists on the path ride responsibly there is a like number of cyclists who ride irresponsibly. It's not the mode of travel it's just that a certain percent of us, no matter what our means of conveyance, seem to be in a world all our own. Stupid pedestrians are as much a danger to someone on a bike as a stupid person on a bike is to a pedestrian.

    For evidence of this ride down Comm Ave near BU as pedestrians jay walk and blindly step in front of bikes, cars, buses and subway trains while chatting on cell phones, texting or listening to their iPods.

    It's got little or nothing to do with bikes. It's just people.
    While I don't live near Boston University, in the DC-Metro region we have Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University, University of Maryland, Howard University, and Galleudet University. All except for Galleudet University(only four-year university for the deaf), are ripe with jaywalkers on and off campus. Add to that, the community colleges. Montgomery Community College(three campuses) in the county I live in. Prince Georges Community College in Prince Georges County just the other side of DC.

    Ditto on a MUP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Where were you Ironwood? Which path? And when?

    I use a bell but I have to say it often does little good. When I see someone with headphones I'm extra cautious because sometimes they don' t hear the bell. Some people ignore the bell entirely and make no effort to facilitate passing. Some, like the lacrosse player on the Charles River path the other night, choose to run diagonal patterns across the bike path zig zagging their way along the path and no amount of bell ringing interrupts their routine. I'd say 60-75% of joggers and pedestrians respond to a bell but that 25- 40% that don't may be the reason why so many cyclists have given up.

    Combine that with the fact that while 60- 75% of the cyclists on the path ride responsibly there is a like number of cyclists who ride irresponsibly. It's not the mode of travel it's just that a certain percent of us, no matter what our means of conveyance, seem to be in a world all our own. Stupid pedestrians are as much a danger to someone on a bike as a stupid person on a bike is to a pedestrian.

    For evidence of this ride down Comm Ave near BU as pedestrians jay walk and blindly step in front of bikes, cars, buses and subway trains while chatting on cell phones, texting or listening to their iPods.

    It's got little or nothing to do with bikes. It's just people.
    Agreed, way too many times I've noticed people riding motorized bicycles/scooters on the Pinellas Trail, despite the fact that there are signs clearly posted that say that they're not allowed. The only motorized "vehicles" that I've seen signs for that are allowed are motorized mobility scooters/wheelchairs and Segways.

    But bicycles with a "lawn mower" motor on them, or the "Vespa" like scooters are not allowed on the trail. I have stopped and called the non-emergency police number to report them.

    One of the operators of one of those "Vespa" like scooters "defended" his actions by saying, that the police have seen him doing so and have never stopped him. As IF that somehow because the cop(s) didn't do his/her job makes it alright.

    Sadly, we see this all too often, with motorists speeding, running red lights, etc.

    And as I've also said, there are too many people walking who are walking on the bicycle side of the trail, or who are walking their dogs on leashes that exceed 6', or have allowed their dog(s) off leash, even if it's as simple of just "dropping" the leash and allowing the dogs to walk "free." Or they're pushing large "oversized" baby strollers, again on the bicycle side of the trail.

    And then the irony is that those who are breaking the "rules" will look at the cyclists who are trying to ride the correct way as if they're the one who is doing something wrong.

    What I'd really like to see happen with the Pinellas Trail and probably other trails is that they be lighted, patrolled and opened 24/7.
    Last edited by Digital_Cowboy; 03-06-12 at 09:16 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    The other day I was walking on a mixed use path and noticed cyclists overtaking pedestrians and other cyclists without warning. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?...
    I tried using a bell once on a MUP. When I'd approach walkers, I'd ring the bell, and they'd do NOTHING. Some walking 3 and 4 abreast, ring the bell, nothing. Third or fourth time I rang the crap out of that bell, just in case they weren't hearing it.

    The problem was not that they didn't hear it, they just didn't care. The 3 and 4 abreast walkers blocked the entire width of the MUP, and didn't give a hoot if it inconvenienced anyone one. I had to pass them by veering off the path into the weeds (paved in some areas, gravel/dirt in others). I had given up on the bell and civility by the end of this 30 minute ride, and went back to shouting "on your left" warnings, which actually work, sometimes.

    The Ipod zombies are especially entertaining. They tend to walk in a straight line along the side of road or MUP, until you get within 5 feet of them. Then they suddenly, inexplicably head across the road for the other side, without even a glance to their rear. I've come close to colliding with a few of these "obliviots".

    But back to the OT, bells are simply useless for warning walkers. I removed mine after a single trial ride on the MUP. Not long after that, I quit using the MUP entirely. I'd rather deal with motorists than MUP users - at least the motorists are trying to get somewhere.

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    Senior Member The_DK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
    AIRZOUND!!
    Well, you know, if someone is wandering all over the place with headphones in, they aren't going to hear you call or ring a bell...


    And I agree with Seeker - Motorists are better than pedestrians, roads better than MUPs. - unless the MUPs are nearly empty. That goes for crazy cyclists that treat the MUPs like a racetrack too.

    Kids are the worst on MUPs though. If you get their attention to pass, they will set a collision course straight toward you.

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    I find the round, thumb operated "bringgg, bringgg" bell works wonders. People instantly recognize it as a bicycle bell and just move over, usually without even looking. It has a pleasant tone, which is not obnoxious like an airzound.
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    Waste of time,most people are off into an electronic wonderworld......Now a swift kick in the ass,brings their attention back to the real world.
    Last edited by Booger1; 03-07-12 at 11:32 AM.
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    I have a nice big revolving bell on my bike. RARELY fails to get the attention of peds. I consider it indispensable.

    I feel like shouting, or even horns are rude. Plus you don't want to accidentally scare somebody so they jump in front of you or suddenly stop.

    Those little single ding bells that seem to be in all the bike shops - aren't worth anything though, if that's your frame of reference for the usefulness of bike bells then I can understand feeling that they're worthless. For one they're not loud enough, for two nobody recognizes a single ding as a bicycle bell.

    Get a proper bell, and use it properly, and it will work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Where were you Ironwood? Which path? And when?
    It was in the Fenway, along the Muddy River near the Longwood T stop. I think that the side I was on was recently paved or repaved. I was walking. I had been to my eye doctor and still didn't see that well after an exam. I don't know the status of the paths there. It seems that there are a lot more bicycles there now, perhaps because of the nice smooth pavement.

    The question is: "How do you alert some one that you are coming up behind them?".

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    If someone is approaching me from behind, all I want them to do is pass me safely. They can do that without a dingy dingy. And I will do my part by staying in my lane and being predictable.

    If I am concerned about someone behind me, I turn my head and look while still walking/riding straight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    The question is: "How do you alert some one that you are coming up behind them?".
    They should be alert to other users and expect the occasional pass.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

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