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Old 05-26-02, 04:23 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Sound devices

Car horns, truck horns, train horns, emergency vehicle sirens, all standard issue for the road.

Do you think sound devices are necessary for bicycles in traffic? If not necessary, helpful in any way? Do you use one, or would you consider it? Have you had any near-misses that underscore the value of a road-worthy sound device, such as would penetrate a rolled up car window with driver listening to music or on the cellphone?

If you use a such a device, what is it? How easy is it to use? Do you have any better ideas for a sound device than what you currently use?
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Old 05-26-02, 04:59 PM   #2
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I have a very loud voice when I choose to wind it up. Humans, as well as sub-humans respond more or less immediately to a human voice. It's always readily available for use, and has a infinitely variable range of volume/emotional impact that make it useful in any situation.

A bell sounds, I dunno, too whimpy. An air horn, too agressive. I used to use one of those squeeze horns ( I called it my 'happy honker'), but I could never get my hand to it and sound it quickly enough in an emergency, and , well, it did sound a little silly to be a truly effective warning.

I know you use a whistle, Pete, but I'd find holding something in my mouth would restrict my breathing too much, so the odd warning 'OI!' works for me.
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Old 05-26-02, 05:21 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Allister

but I'd find holding something in my mouth would restrict my breathing too much
Visions of the exwife.

Some locations require a sound device for bicycles by law. I finally purchased the air horn for use on the Walkman wearers. I have yet to test it though.
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Old 05-26-02, 05:32 PM   #4
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Georgia has that law.

Martin, I hope you carry a video camera for when you test that horn on a ped. You'll win $10,000 on Funniest Videos.
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Old 05-26-02, 06:04 PM   #5
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Originally posted by martin


Visions of the exwife.
[Allister chokes on coffee] Bahstard!

Quote:
Originally posted by martin
Some locations require a sound device for bicycles by law. I finally purchased the air horn for use on the Walkman wearers. I have yet to test it though.
All Australian states and territories have that law. If it comes to it I think I can make a pretty convincing case that my voice fits the legal requirement at least as well, if not better than a bell.
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Old 05-26-02, 06:25 PM   #6
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...a whistle...in my mouth would restrict my breathing too much...
That's cool, anyway!

But you should try it before you rule it out. I never have that problem. (And the smaller opening keeps the bugs out.)
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Old 05-27-02, 03:20 PM   #7
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a big lungs and the middle finger will get your messages across
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Old 05-27-02, 03:29 PM   #8
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I wish I could say that I don't have a (stupid) bell but I can't. I hate the damn thing, It feels woosy and I can holler and yell (and still do) louder than the bell. I absolutely do not use it ever, but after gettin a $110.00 CAD ticket. Well I got the ticket and decided I don't want another one (I'm fighting it although I realize I will lose if the Kop shows up) so I got the bell. My LBS gave me one for free after I told them my story. So yes I have one and I despise it.
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Old 05-27-02, 03:30 PM   #9
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I wish I could say that I don't have a (stupid) bell but I can't. I hate the damn thing, It feels woosy and I can't holler and yell (and still do) louder than the bell. I absolutely do not use it ever, but after gettin a $110.00 CAD ticket. Well I got the ticket and decided I don't want another one (I'm fighting it although I realize I will lose if the Kop shows up) so I got the bell. My LBS gave me one for free after I told them my story. So yes I have one and I despise it.
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Old 05-27-02, 03:58 PM   #10
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Back when I used to ride on multi-use paths I had a bell and used it. It seemed to be the most effective method of tapping people on the shoulder.

I now avoid MUPs like the plague. They're terrible places to ride and not suitable for a cyclist who's trying to keep up a fast pace.

In real traffic, people who use their horns almost always mean either "get the [bleep] out of my way" or "[bleep] you!" Vehicle horns almost never costitute an actual, useful warning.

I don't wish to say "get out of my way" to anyone. And if I want to curse someone, my voice works fine. Therefore I find no use for a horn or bell when riding.

If a cyclist does a "get out of my way" to me, whether I'm riding or walking in a situation where their responsibility is to pass me safely, I do my best to impede their progress to the best of my ability. If I'm successful enough to bring them to a complete halt so much the better. They have no right, and I won't tolerate such rudeness.

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Old 05-27-02, 04:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by TotalKos
but after gettin a $110.00 CAD ticket. Well I got the ticket and decided I don't want another one (I'm fighting it although I realize I will lose if the Kop shows up) so I got the bell.
There's gotta be a story behind this! Care to share it?
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Old 05-28-02, 10:47 AM   #12
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To me sounds i.e. a horn is only used to "hi". No matter when I hear one I wave cheerfully.
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Old 05-28-02, 11:18 AM   #13
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Well, I was leisurely riding home at about 3AM through a pretty "dangerous" area. I'm the only one on the street and a car passes so I glance over (no biggie, right).

Turns out it was a cop car, I don't know if you guys have seen these cars, they are normal cars with the decals and all but they paint it black (pitch black over the stickers and everything). I think he thought I was mad-dogging him cuz I glance over and a minute later he's behind me pulling me over.

Of course, I was two minutes from home. He claims he pulled me over for not having a light but when he noticed I did have one, it seemed he got embarrased (a rookie no doubt).

So I'm pulled over and he's asking me all kinds of questions based on my ID. "How long have you had your license? (drivers). I told him I've never had it. It was then I figured my name must match another persons.

He accused me of having warrants, and drug trafficing charges (I assure you all this is not true). He inquires about my tattoo and that is where I drew the line. He wanted to know if I had one I said "Yes, actually two" then he had the nerve to ask me to describe them. "Hell no, I know I don't have to do that nor do I have to raise my shirt to show them to you either".

I said to him " Come on, admit you got the wrong guy". (Rookie) So (after ten minutes of looking for the police code) he gave me a ticket for not having a bell. I also told him that I would be fighting it and I asked if he was prepared to come to court and look stupid. His reply (like an elementary school rookie) "Yeah, well, what if I don't" (picture the accent of a child saying that, he really sounded like that). At that I really laughed cuz he sounded like a child and I replied "Duh, then I'll win" (keeping with the child theme).

Our conversation was over and he said to move along. So, I waited right there until he left, then I went home.
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Old 05-28-02, 06:40 PM   #14
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has anyone heard or seen the nightsun civilian alert siren? Is a continuous tone siren just a horn. If so this sounds viable.
http://www.night-sun.com/htmldocs/stuff_civilian.html

Last edited by Joe Gardner; 05-28-02 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 05-28-02, 08:24 PM   #15
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I can't imagine 115db on continuous use. A person would need earplugs. I'll take my chances with quiet.
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Old 05-29-02, 07:21 AM   #16
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My wife got me thinking the other night when she asked "why do cars have horns". "To warn other cars", I replied.

"When do you need to warn other cars then?"

"I don't know, er, when a car pulls out in front of you suddenly and cuts you off, then you have to warn him."

"But what good will the horn do? You still have to brake".

"Yes, but I have to let him know that I am there and that he has done something wrong".

"So using your horn has nothing to do with driving, but rather it is just a tool for drivers to use willy-nilly because they are unable to speak to each other in their enclosed boxes, right?"

"Er, yes".

"Thanks, I just wanted to know, that's all.".



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Old 05-29-02, 06:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Weasel
"So using your horn has nothing to do with driving, but rather it is just a tool for drivers to use willy-nilly because they are unable to speak to each other in their enclosed boxes, right?"
No, they use cell-phones for that. Horns are for interrupting their conversations.

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Old 05-30-02, 07:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Weasel

"So using your horn has nothing to do with driving, but rather it is just a tool for drivers to use willy-nilly because they are unable to speak to each other in their enclosed boxes, right?"
And that's why I don't have a horn on my bike. Your wife is a wise woman.

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Old 05-30-02, 11:04 AM   #19
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WARNING WARNING


Failure to keep a light on your bike can award a hefty fine. Ridiculously hefty; I just got one a couple of weeks ago for $110.00. I think it depends on where you live (what the cops are like). And what kind of neghbourhood when the cops pulls you over. I live in Toronto (not too many nice cops here) but I suppose if you live in a small town they are probably nicer.
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Old 05-30-02, 11:34 AM   #20
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Many years ago, when our children were very small, my wife and I were on a walking/bicycle path going up a short hill, when I spotted a bicyclist coming down. We were walking with one child on our back, and another in a buggy in front of us. The bicyclist yelled down at us to get outa his way! I yelled back that if he came through us, he'd be flat on his back. He went around us off the bike path, and gave us the finger in the process.

As a bicyclist, many times I've approached people on the bike path. Each time, especially when approaching from the rear, I'll say, "I'm coming around on your left" to give them a notice that I'm going around them, and tell them where I'll be. Many times, they'll respond with a "Thank you" to me as I pass.

I'm saying this because I don't have a bell or horn on my bike. I slow down, and engage in conversation to let them know of my presence, and how to expect me to pass. We have a wooden walking path near my home, and when I see people approaching I will stop to let them pass. To me, pedestrians have the right-of-way on this portion of the path (there are rails on each side, so there's no place for them to get off the pathway).

To me, horns and bells tend to startle people, and are not as good as conversation in getting people to realize a bicyclist is behind them. While horns and whistles work on bike paths where pedestrians mingle with cyclists, conversation works better (unless there is a language barrier, which happens too). Horns and bells are totally ineffective as a signaling device for cars, where they must compete with road noise, radios, and even mobile phones to be heard.

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Old 05-30-02, 01:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by orguasch
a big lungs and the middle finger will get your messages across
Better keep that bird in its cage. I pulled mine out after a car honked at me and almost drove me off a bridge. All I got for it was him slowing down next too me (still on the bridge, no shoulder, single lane) and was waving his fist and yelling. At the next light, he got out of his car and started yelling at me more.

On a bike, you are vulnerable to cars if the driver is angry. So stay respectful (but assertive of your position on the road and the space around you) and keep the profanities in check.
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Old 05-30-02, 01:56 PM   #22
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In other words, if your going to flick off some guy for being a dick; make sure its not only you and him, <you on your huffy, and him in his excursion>...I live in miami where people cant drive worth a $hit, and roadrage is everywhere...in any case its better to just ride on and pay no mind.
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Old 05-30-02, 01:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Ratliff


Better keep that bird in its cage. I pulled mine out after a car honked at me and almost drove me off a bridge. All I got for it was him slowing down next too me (still on the bridge, no shoulder, single lane) and was waving his fist and yelling. At the next light, he got out of his car and started yelling at me more.

On a bike, you are vulnerable to cars if the driver is angry. So stay respectful (but assertive of your position on the road and the space around you) and keep the profanities in check.
Very good point! If it does get nasty you don't want it to be in any way your fault. You were just riding, as carefully and politly as possible and this jerk came at you. You didn't mean for him to fall off the bridge trying to hit you.

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Old 05-30-02, 09:40 PM   #24
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Using a horn for anything other than alerting another person of impending danger is an illegal use of the horn.

My whistle has saved me from several impatient, inattentive drivers. The weak spot of the bicycle is it's not as visible to drivers as another car.

Thanks, I'll keep using my whistle, some drivers are still asleep.
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Old 05-31-02, 10:23 AM   #25
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A whistle--good idea. I have a wonderful whistle on my scuba diving vest that I've never even thought of using while bicycling. I think I'll take it off the scuba vest (it's designed to attract attention of boaters at better than 100 yards), and use it for bicycling. Thanks for the idea.

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