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Do you call out "On your left!" when passing cyclists?

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.
View Poll Results: Do you audibly announce when passing cyclists?
Yes, it's the courteous thing to do.
28
45.16%
No, it's pointless and annoying.
15
24.19%
Yes, but only on bike paths where I can't leave a safe berth; not on roads.
19
30.65%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

Do you call out "On your left!" when passing cyclists?

Old 09-21-17, 11:39 AM
  #26  
ThermionicScott 
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Originally Posted by adablduya View Post
perhaps it's something of a regional or geographical issue; i'm from houston, and the call-out culture is quite common and appreciated. currently living in southern california, and quite the opposite exists. never get any call-outs. quite annoying....
I think it is. There are lots of call-outs here in Cedar Rapids and elsewhere in Iowa, but I've read about cyclists in other areas disapproving.
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Old 09-21-17, 12:23 PM
  #27  
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I have a "clown horn" from Walmart on one bike. That gets some interesting responses. I haven't had it out since the new clown horror movie was released. Maybe it'll be even more interesting, now.
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Old 09-21-17, 05:07 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
They don't have an option for me. I don't call out "On your left!" because I will ring my bell instead.
Yeah, the bell makes life much easier, and they'll hear a good bell 30' back, gives them lots of time to react. I always carry a bell.
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Old 09-21-17, 07:48 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think it is. There are lots of call-outs here in Cedar Rapids and elsewhere in Iowa, but I've read about cyclists in other areas disapproving.
On a path where there is no choice but to pass closely, I can see the point of warning someone, but I see no purpose in doing so on a roadway. Furthermore, calling out "on your left!" has been known to cause people to swerve... LEFT... into the path of the over-taking cyclist.

I think the solution is to avoid paths. Problem solved.
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Old 09-21-17, 09:26 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
On a path where there is no choice but to pass closely, I can see the point of warning someone, but I see no purpose in doing so on a roadway. Furthermore, calling out "on your left!" has been known to cause people to swerve... LEFT... into the path of the over-taking cyclist.

I think the solution is to avoid paths. Problem solved.
Some folks are easily startled by everything.

Thursday I took the street through a park, rather than the MUP which is nothing more than a 4' wide sidewalk. The park is the busiest section of the MUP, used by many pedestrians with families, dogs; joggers; cyclists. I avoid the MUP sidewalk wherever possible. The adjacent street through the park is safer all around, and a fit cyclist can manage the 20 mph speed limit without undue risk.

So, I'm doing 20 mph on the street through the park. About 100 yards ahead I see one cyclist. I can see I'll overtake her pretty quickly. She's on the far right of the road. I move not only to the left, but into the left lane so there's at least 15 feet between us. There were no cars in either direction so it was no problem.

I don't usually call out "On your left!", "Passing!", "Look out, E.T. is going hooommmeee!!!" or anything else if I'm 15 feet away from the nearest cyclist or pedestrian. No point. Usually it just startles and annoys them.

And she was startled anyway. She yelped something like "Ohmygoodness!"

I'm thinking if she's that easily startled by a bicycle passing safely, at the speed limit, 15 feet away, she's either in a daze or shouldn't be riding the street. Those are the riders whom the MUP should be for -- folks who are timid or easily startled by passing vehicles or cyclists, at any distance or speed.

Of course the problem with that theory is the MUP is also popular with faster cyclists eager for a new personal best or KOM on the MUP. And Thursday I saw several folks on road bikes in full kit, blasting down the 4' wide sidewalk that passes for an MUP, darting around and between slower cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

Anyway, when I do ride the MUP -- usually on my hybrid -- I rig up a bell that rings continually. It's just two or three Christmas decoration bells jingling together. Just loud enough from a distance to give folks plenty of notice, and it seems to work without annoying too many people. The Timber Bell for mountain bikers is based on the same principle -- hands free operation, gives other cyclists, joggers and hikers plenty of notice.

And if I'm forced to ride the busiest parts of the MUP I slow way down for folks ahead and announce myself in a normal speaking voice. Usually I'm traveling only 8-10 mph by then, slower if they have kids or dogs. So far, so good. If I'm in a bigger hurry, I need to be using the streets, not the 4' wide sidewalk.
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Old 09-22-17, 07:31 AM
  #31  
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I never found "on your left" very effective. If the person I'm passing seems somewhat stable I will slow down and pass without saying anything. If I feel they might be a risk or blocking the way I'll say "hello", "excuse me", or "good morning/afternoon".
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Old 09-22-17, 10:21 AM
  #32  
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Bells are good.
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Old 09-22-17, 10:28 AM
  #33  
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I've had BAD luck with announcing myself more than once with inexperience riders.

On more than one occasion I've announced myself as about to pass and the rider in front has done a full body turn to look and see who I am and what I'm doing which caused them to veer sharply to the left where I was trying to pass. Other times inexperienced riders don't know why you're signaling and want to argue with you about it.

I find it's just easier to wait until their is plenty of clearance room and pass them 6 to 8 feet to their left.

This is on trails. On roads when I'm commuting I can't think of a single time I've ever passed another cyclist going the same direction. Everyone once in a while I pass someone riding the opposite way...but never traveling the same direction as me. (It's not a big cycling area)
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Old 09-22-17, 10:30 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton View Post
I have a "clown horn" from Walmart on one bike. That gets some interesting responses. I haven't had it out since the new clown horror movie was released. Maybe it'll be even more interesting, now.
Attach a few balloons to your wrist or handlebars for extra effect.
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Old 09-23-17, 05:50 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I've had BAD luck with announcing myself more than once with inexperience riders.

On more than one occasion I've announced myself as about to pass and the rider in front has done a full body turn to look and see who I am and what I'm doing which caused them to veer sharply to the left where I was trying to pass. Other times inexperienced riders don't know why you're signaling and want to argue with you about it.

I find it's just easier to wait until their is plenty of clearance room and pass them 6 to 8 feet to their left.

This is on trails. On roads when I'm commuting I can't think of a single time I've ever passed another cyclist going the same direction. Everyone once in a while I pass someone riding the opposite way...but never traveling the same direction as me. (It's not a big cycling area)
I find that 99% of the time when I call out "on yer left", the rider moves LEFT!
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Old 09-23-17, 11:45 PM
  #36  
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As always, I need to point this out.

NOT EVERYONE CAN HEAR. If you are riding on a trail, it is YOUR responsibility to ride so that you do not run into anyone in front of you. Calling out or using a bell likely will alert someone to your presence, but it will not always do that.

For this reason I do not call out unless the path is completely blocked. And I slow down whenever I pass anyone.
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Old 09-24-17, 02:00 AM
  #37  
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In 3.5 hours, the Six Gap Century begins. My Giant Propel Advanced SL has a bell mounted on the left side aerobar and will be rung if I deem appropriate. I will also announce "passing on your left" if I deem appropriate. Most often it is when passing riders during some of the 11,000 feet of climbing.

I do likewise on regular rides.
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Old 09-24-17, 04:23 AM
  #38  
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Its a lost cause, in this country anyway.

Used an airhorn years ago, I had at best a 50% reaction rate. (typically 10-15% most of the time)

Even an earthquake would fail to capture the attention of most mobile phone zombies I encounter.

Last edited by SHBR; 09-24-17 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 09-24-17, 05:46 AM
  #39  
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On Your Left Here's a classic "Squirrel vs World" thread. Poster has several similar if you want more
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Old 09-24-17, 08:49 AM
  #40  
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It's going to depend upon a number of factors. Width of the road or path. Rider have buds or not. Adult or child. Wide road or path? No. Buds? No. For me the most important thing is to minimize speed disparity. I never blast past anyone. When I am going to ease around someone, I slide out from behind them. While I am still on their aft quarter, I say something like "easing around your left." Then as I am beside them, I say "enjoy your ride" or "awesome Pinarello." When I pass kids, I most often say something like "cool bike" or "I love that helmet."

What's interesting, if not baffling, to me is riders who will blow closely past someone without saying a word. These are often the same "diplomats" or "advocates" for bicycling who insist on following every traffic law, at least in part, in the interest the perception others have of bicyclists.
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Old 09-24-17, 11:42 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
As always, I need to point this out.

NOT EVERYONE CAN HEAR. If you are riding on a trail, it is YOUR responsibility to ride so that you do not run into anyone in front of you. Calling out or using a bell likely will alert someone to your presence, but it will not always do that.

For this reason I do not call out unless the path is completely blocked. And I slow down whenever I pass anyone.
Same rules apply when you are skiing.

You are responsible for the skiiers/riders in front of you, not the ones behind you.

You can see the skiier/rider in front of you. He can't see you. It's on you not to cause a crash.
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Old 09-24-17, 11:54 AM
  #42  
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Ran across this today from a UK site.

https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/tec...d9mOPv81bqi.97
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Old 09-24-17, 02:03 PM
  #43  
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If you are used to calling out "on your left", won't you do the same when passing an animal?
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Old 09-25-17, 03:04 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
Bells are good.
But sometimes you have to check them... went camping a couple of weekends ago, left my bike outside the camper. After returning home, I tried the bell but it only make a metallic "clunk" sound. I thought maybe it was just due to the rain we had, but it still did it after drying out. Pulled the bell off to find that a spider had crawled inside and left a bunch of spider silk (egg sac?) inside. Wiped it out and the bell works again.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:06 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
If you are used to calling out "on your left", won't you do the same when passing an animal?
No, I usually yell, "Watch out, raccoon!" after coming up on one during my early morning rides. I'm really afraid I'm going to hit one some morning. Better a raccoon than a skunk.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:10 PM
  #46  
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Only when passing on the right......since most move left
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Old 09-25-17, 03:52 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
But sometimes you have to check them... went camping a couple of weekends ago, left my bike outside the camper. After returning home, I tried the bell but it only make a metallic "clunk" sound. I thought maybe it was just due to the rain we had, but it still did it after drying out. Pulled the bell off to find that a spider had crawled inside and left a bunch of spider silk (egg sac?) inside. Wiped it out and the bell works again.
True. I sometimes (okay.., often) hang my wet towels, after a shower, over my MTB bars and the bell is underneath.
Lately, the ratchet jammed at its extension, so did not return. I had to clean and oil it. It seems okay. I'll know tomorrow.
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Old 09-25-17, 03:58 PM
  #48  
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To me, "on your left!" implies several things:

1.) I am not a jerk trying to compete with you.
2.) I respect your presence
3.) Don't move abruptly left
4.) You don't have to look to your left when you see me in
your peripheral vision, so don't be startled

Communication is key, even if it is sometimes superfluous.
An important aspect of any call-out, whistle or bell is for
the rider on the right to reply. I say "Okay!"
This says "I have heard your warning, and I understand
and appreciate it".
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Old 09-25-17, 06:10 PM
  #49  
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To answer the question, yes. I receive more thank you's than not.
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Old 09-25-17, 08:52 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by fbinny View Post
the poll left out ------- sometimes, when i feel the situation calls for it.

If there's room, i just pass. But if circumstances dictate a close pass i'll often announce it.
+1
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