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In which u.s. States is a bell required on bicycles?

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In which u.s. States is a bell required on bicycles?

Old 08-21-12, 12:39 PM
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powerhouse
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In which u.s. States is a bell required on bicycles?

In which U.S. states is it required that bicycles be equipped with a bell? By this I mean that every bicyclist in said state has to buy a bicycle bell and have it installed on their bicycles for safety reasons in state law. If it is required in the state you live in, mention your state and say yes. If it isn't required in the state you live in, mention the state you live in and say no.

If you wish to comment about it, write that afterward. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Old 08-21-12, 01:05 PM
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PA - No.

The law states that bicyclists may use an audible signal, but disallows sirens.
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Old 08-21-12, 01:49 PM
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I haven't looked up the statutes, and cities often have additional codes the state doesn't, but I don't think WA does. I do, however, have an airzound on my commuter.
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Old 08-21-12, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post
In which U.S. states is it required that bicycles be equipped with a bell? By this I mean that every bicyclist in said state has to buy a bicycle bell and have it installed on their bicycles for safety reasons in state law. If it is required in the state you live in, mention your state and say yes. If it isn't required in the state you live in, mention the state you live in and say no.

If you wish to comment about it, write that afterward. I look forward to hearing from you.
South Carolina

I was reading South Carolina’s vehicle code section 56-5 that covers bicycles to see what the state law was on riding bikes on sidewalks. I did not find the word sidewalk mentioned a single time in the entire code. However, much to my surprise, I found that bells are required on bikes in South Carolina. Section 56-5-3480, of the code, states that all bicycles in SC must have a bell. Now the word all means all, not just kid’s bikes but adult bikes also. It is obvious to me that this law is not enforced, because I see very few adult bikes with bells on them.

I can imagine there are some bike snobs that would cringe at the idea of putting a bell on their high end bike that cost thousands of dollars. But hey, Peter Sagan had a bell on his bike in this year’s Tour de France and you can’t tell me that a Cannondale Tour de France bike is not high end.

So I went by Wal-Mart and got what I felt was the best bell they had. The Wal-Mart bell looked cheap and sounded like what you would hear on a kid’s tricycle. I decide to look at amazon.com and see what they had in bells. Amazon had a good selection and I decided to try the Origin 8 bell. I think this bell looks good and it sounds great, not like a toy. I don’t like to clutter my handlebars with stuff so I was going to try to put it on the side of the stem. However, it seems to work so well where I have it now I may just leave it there. Below is a picture of my new bell.


Bell05 by Bike Pictures Trek 2013, on Flickr


Bell04 by Bike Pictures Trek 2013, on Flickr
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Old 08-21-12, 02:08 PM
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In MN it isn't law that you have a bell but you are required to either ring a bell or give some sort of audible warning when passing walkers.
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Old 08-21-12, 05:29 PM
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New York, yes.

N.Y. VAT. LAW § 1236 : NY Code - Section 1236: Lamps and other equipment on bicycles

(b) No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a
bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance
of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be
equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or
whistle.
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/VAT/VII/34/1236
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Old 08-21-12, 06:04 PM
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unterhausen
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also New Jersey
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Old 08-21-12, 06:12 PM
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California: no.

What are the Equipment Requirements?
(summarized here by the CHP, but also available at leginfo, Vehicle Code Section 21201)
  • Helmet
    A person under 18 years of age cannot operate a bicycle or ride as a passenger without a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the SNELL Standards for Protective Headgear.
  • Handlebar
    Must be set to that your hands are no higher than your shoulders when you hold the regular steering grip area.
  • Bicycle Size
    Must not be so big that operator can't safely stop bicycle upright with at least one foot on ground.
  • Brakes
    Must be able to make one wheel skid on clean, level, dry pavement.
  • Night Riding
    Bicycle must be equipped with the following:
  •  
    • Light:
      A white headlamp, attached to the bicycle or your body, visible from 300 feet to the front and from the sides
    • Reflectors
    •  
      • Red rear reflector
      • White or yellow reflectors on front and back of each pedal
      • White or yellow reflectors on each side forward of center of bike, and red or white reflectors on each side rear of center - usually mounted on wheel spokes (If you have reflectorized tires in front and rear, you do not need side reflectors.)

Last edited by morganw; 08-21-12 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 08-21-12, 06:33 PM
  #9  
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MT = No, not required as bicycle equipment under state law. However, state law (MT code 61-8-608) does require an audible signal be given when approaching a pedestrian to pass them when operating a bicycle on a sidewalk where it is lawful to do so and riding on sidewalks is not prohibited by local ordinance. The audible signal is not specified so presumably your mouth would work just fine if you don't have a bell.

BUT ~ some local jurisdictions by local ordinance do make requirement for a bicycle to be equipped with a bell. There is some legal ambiguity to this as well though since there has been a successful case where a bicyclist who was cited for not having his bicycle registered and licensed with the city was cited for operating an unlicensed and unregistered vehicle. State law does not require such for bicycles but the local jurisdiction of the town in question did and the cyclist in question was not a resident and was just passing through. The cyclist in question was of the militant variety and got a lawyer and fought it (at considerably greater cost then the cost of the ticket I might add) and won his case that since he was not a city resident and it was a unique local requirement that was not encoded in state law he did not have to abide by that local statute since he was not a resident of the city and it was unreasonable to expect him to do so in order to simple ride through town on his way through. Using that case as a prerequisite one could argue that one only needed to equip their bicycle with a bell under local ordinance if one was a resident of the locality in question which had such an ordinance and if one was not a local resident and just passing through it would be equally unreasonable to expect a cyclist to purchase and equip their bike with a bell just to ride through town on their way through when it was not a state requirement but only a unique local requirement. To my knowledge no such case has yet come up but it is probably only a matter of time.
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Old 08-21-12, 06:56 PM
  #10  
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Florida--no

Must give an audible warning
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Old 08-21-12, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by morganw View Post
California: no.

What are the Equipment Requirements?
  • Bicycle must be equipped with the following:
  • [*]
The State of Georgia has this same law for all bicycles sold after 1972. This must be another one of those laws that are not enforced. Have you seen any clipless pedals with reflectors on them? I haven’t.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mcrow View Post
In MN it isn't law that you have a bell but you are required to either ring a bell or give some sort of audible warning when passing walkers.
Was that passed in the last five years? Because I lived in Minnesota(Nov.'02-Jan.'07). When I lived there, I didn't see anything in the vehicle code about a bell being as required.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:41 AM
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Indiana - Yes.
http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/201...ar21/ch11.html
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Old 08-22-12, 03:12 PM
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CO - no
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Old 08-22-12, 07:16 PM
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Ohio - no.

You may use a bell if you wish, but may not use a siren or whistle.
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Old 08-23-12, 10:59 AM
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South Carolina'a law also states "...or other sounding device." and a judge in Hilton Head has interpreted your voice can be a sounding device.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by GrandaddyBiker View Post
The State of Georgia has this same law for all bicycles sold after 1972. This must be another one of those laws that are not enforced. Have you seen any clipless pedals with reflectors on them? I haven’t.
Stock no. I'll have to check if mine still do. When I was doing the Land Rush, which is 2 back to back doubles to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in one weekend, I setup my bike with a lot of reflective tape on the advice of a veteran doubles rider. Being mistaken for a UFO instead of not being seen is a good thing on a long ride in unfamiliar areas.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cocar View Post
Florida--no

Must give an audible warning
However, some municipalities require it. Orlando requires a bell or horn and front & rear lights (day or night, maybe a reflector on rear, can't remember the exact wording). Since it is a city ordinance violators can be arrested or given a notice to appear in court.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
Was that passed in the last five years? Because I lived in Minnesota(Nov.'02-Jan.'07). When I lived there, I didn't see anything in the vehicle code about a bell being as required.
Not sure if or when the law was passed, but a bell isn't required. Audible warnings are when passing walkers. "Excuse me," "on your left," or "move it or lose it," will do if one doesn't have a bell or Airzound.
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Old 08-24-12, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GrandaddyBiker View Post
South Carolina

I was reading South Carolina’s vehicle code section 56-5 that covers bicycles to see what the state law was on riding bikes on sidewalks. I did not find the word sidewalk mentioned a single time in the entire code.
It's the same here.. bells are required by a provincial law, sidewalk riding is a municipal bylaw. And they ticket for bells regularly. It's the go-to offence.

I expect it's this way because roads have vehicles and are therefore covered by the motor vehicle act. Sidewalks aren't supposed to have vehicles so aren't subject to the act.

I suppose that means that if I'm riding on the sidewalk without a bell I can get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk but not for lacking a bell.
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Old 08-24-12, 05:00 PM
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I could care less, if my state requires it. I can shout louder than a stupid bell.
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Old 08-24-12, 06:20 PM
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NY: Yes

Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1236 (b): No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet.
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Old 08-24-12, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gna View Post
Not sure if or when the law was passed, but a bell isn't required. Audible warnings are when passing walkers. "Excuse me," "on your left," or "move it or lose it," will do if one doesn't have a bell or Airzound.
Good, No requirement to scare the life out of pedestrians, with a bell.
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Old 08-25-12, 12:24 PM
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WI - No
My city mirrors the state in that an audible warning is required when passing, but no bell required.
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