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Experiences using bells?

Old 09-13-12, 01:39 PM
  #51  
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Yeah, Duet is what I have on most of my bikes.
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Old 09-23-12, 06:27 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Yeah, Duet is what I have on most of my bikes.
I generally just have dew on mine...
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Old 09-29-12, 07:47 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by iconicflux View Post
Having talked with a few people about getting honked at, I believe that cars provide bicycles more respect when they have the ability to honk at them. It's like suddenly you become a real vehicle.
I agree on principle but can't help feeling that it's completely in my head. I usually have a reason to honk at a car (i.e. the driver is doing/about to do something unsafe/dumb). By the time they hear your ability to honk, they've already clearly shown lack of respect. Maybe they will realize they were doing/about to do something unsafe/dumb and not do it next time but that seems like wishful thinking!
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Old 09-29-12, 08:26 PM
  #54  
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I think it's a mixed bag, MOST of the time I get a positive response a few times I haven't. I use mine when passing and before I go around blind corners. A pedestrian yelled at me telling me he was "over as far as he could get" which wasn't my attention, I just wanted to make them aware I was coming so they wouldn't turn into me. I also use it when I see approaching pedestrians and bikers that I am not convinced see me, it's amazing how many people you would swear were looking right at you aren't aware you are there till the last moment. Once a dude actually jumped INTO my path after I rang it. He got angry after I stopped quite close, brakes squealing as I panic stopped, I apparently scared him. I now ring it a few times about 25' back then again as I approach closer and usually follow up with a verbal warning.

It's unavoidable that some will get pissed by it, or not hear it or not react wrongly. I think it helps out more than it hinders.
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Old 09-29-12, 09:39 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
I had a conversation with an occasional riding friend a while back. She suggested using a bell instead of calling out "Passing on your left", because it is a friendlier sound and not so aggressive to pedestrians.

So I tried one. My experience on a busy MUP was that few if any even noticed the bell. I think it was just part of the background noise and people were oblivious to it, not realizing it was directed at them. When I call out to them, however, I usually see something to indicate my warning registered. They give me a wave, move to the right a little, or sometimes even give me a thanks for not blowing past them without warning.

Just wondering what others experiences have been with bells. Any more success than I've seen?
Don't expect people to always turn around and make some sort of acknowledgement - unless you consider yourself a king or queen. People hear the bell and it lets them know you are coming up, so they don't get a fright or make a sudden move. I would only expect them to give acknowledgement in rare circumstances, e.g. where they were blocking the path.
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Old 09-29-12, 10:52 PM
  #56  
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I experimented a little more. About 6 am several weeks back there were 3 women jogging ahead of me, otherwise the mup was deserted. Rang the bell several times and no sign that they hear me approaching. Called out "passing on your left" and they gave me some clearance to ride past. This time I stopped and asked them if they heard the bell, or if they reacted to my voice. They told me they didn't even notice the bell, but that I didn't call out my passing to them early enough.

A few days later, I was on some rails to trails (Mineral Wells, for those familiar with the area) and tried the bell a few times there, since Doohickie suggested that the busy location where I was using it was the issue. I think I had one time when the bell got the pedestrian's attention, the rest of the time it was ignored or not heard.

I'll keep a bell on my utility bike, but I'm going to count on my voice to notify pedestrians that I am passing.
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Old 09-30-12, 12:12 PM
  #57  
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I use a Incredibel and it works great. I find many times peds can hear it from 40 feet back when it's fairly quiet. If it's very noisy, several rapid, loud rings from say 6 feet back always gets their attention. I always say a "thank you" when passing. Calling out is OK but I frankly I get tired of doing it when it's crowded like on the ped walk of the Golden Gate Bridge or Sawyer Camp trail and rather let my fingers hit the bell.
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Old 09-30-12, 10:12 PM
  #58  
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My experience is that most people don't know what "on your left" means. When I ring the bell, almost everyone steps to the right.
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Old 09-30-12, 11:53 PM
  #59  
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Here in Korea my brass bell works well. Most of the 'serious' riders use the electronic version that blasts out eardrums, but I find they short out if it rains and becomes useless.
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Old 10-01-12, 12:55 AM
  #60  
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Around where I ride, bells are mandatory equipment. Also, vocal calls ("on your left" or similar) are unheard of.

With that in mind, maybe a year ago I took a sample of 40 instances on my commute when I actually had to ring the bell. In 60% of cases pedestrians' reaction was positive or indifferent, 40% were negative. This is of course statistically solid, peer reviewed scientific research. Overall, bell did seem to convey the message pretty well but for some reason, 40% of people found it annoying.

I've noticed I get the best response to noise that doesn't seem to be intentionally generated. I click my brake levers, or keep front brake pads poorly toed in so that they make noise when applied etc. Pedestrians think it was their accurate situational awareness that alerted them to the potential collision, instead of some annoying outside signal.

iDeaf people are a class of their own. Same with cell-phone blabbering owners towing their dogs in a 10 meter retractable leash. With those, there's no telling what will happen even if you do manage to get their attention in time.

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Old 10-01-12, 01:17 AM
  #61  
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The ones on the mup with no leashes are worse. There is NOTHING more unpredictable than a dog wandering along somewhere behind its owner. I find young children to be less of a hazard. A bell won't help you much with a dog either. Now an airzounds might... or it might just jump right in front of you.
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Old 10-01-12, 03:37 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Sir-bikes-alot View Post
Bells can be annoying and make people jump. I just call out a freindly "hello", or sometimes "bicycle".
Almost the exact opposite experience for me:- bells seem to be instantly recognized as a friendly cyclist way of letting people know you are near them and a high proportion of them do exactly the right thing. If I'm only slowly gaining on another cyclist I'll use the "friendly hello" as I pass. In that case I sometimes get ignored if it's a female (which is not unreasonable), but 90% say something equally sociable response.
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Old 10-01-12, 05:24 AM
  #63  
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I just call out "good morning!" (or appropriate time of day). Seems friendlier and people seem to turn around and we make eye contact which enables me to pass safely. YMMV.
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Old 10-01-12, 08:51 PM
  #64  
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I just use the bell a couple of feet back with a combination on your left depending on the reaction. Also would like to note that here in NYC from what i heard from Bike New York air horns are technically illegal on a bike.
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Old 10-01-12, 09:57 PM
  #65  
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Bells/horns don't work, their not loud enough to do anything in traffic, you can yell louder, and you can't slow down fast enough if you're operating a bell instead of a brake. If you could mount a horn in such a fashion that you could operate a brake with the hand and the horn with the thumb of the same hand then maybe that might be useful on rare occasions.
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Old 10-02-12, 10:21 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Bells/horns don't work, their not loud enough to do anything in traffic, you can yell louder, and you can't slow down fast enough if you're operating a bell instead of a brake.
Incorrect. My airzound is 115 db. That's louder than the horn on both my truck, and my motorcycle.
If you could mount a horn in such a fashion that you could operate a brake with the hand and the horn with the thumb of the same hand then maybe that might be useful on rare occasions.
I can easily operate the horn while braking, and even downshifting. "Rare occasions" is almost daily use of the horn around here. Everyone's situation is different. What you say may be true for you, but it is definitely not true for everyone, or probably even a majority of people.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:31 AM
  #67  
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Bells work great. Most people recognize the classic "brrrring, brrrrrring" as a bicycle bell and will just move right or not move at all, which is fine too. Too much confusion with "on your left", most people don't understand it, many think you are telling them to move to their left, which will of course put them right in your path.
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Old 10-03-12, 11:32 AM
  #68  
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Ah bells. South Carolina requires a bell or other sounding device on every bicycle. A judge on Hilton Head Island interpreted the "other sounding device" can include the riders own voice.

Bell: usually ignored. Pedestrian would turn around, stop, and look at me, causing me to strike them on two occasions.

Voice: very effective if the rider/pedestrian your overtaken understands the language you are using. I've had to learn a Spanish phrase to warn some pathway users.

Horn: the pathway parts like Moses parting the Red Sea. My theory is Americans are now conditioned to a horn being from a car. I only used a horn on my tandem and tag-along setup, as that was about 600 pounds of rolling stock on the pathway.

All that being said, causal bike riding tourist seemed to be oblivious to all manner of pathway etiquette. Riding two abreast, blocking the path with parked bikes, and not looking where they are going.
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Old 10-03-12, 08:57 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Incorrect. My airzound is 115 db. That's louder than the horn on both my truck, and my motorcycle.

I can easily operate the horn while braking, and even downshifting. "Rare occasions" is almost daily use of the horn around here. Everyone's situation is different. What you say may be true for you, but it is definitely not true for everyone, or probably even a majority of people.
I was grouping bells and horns when I mean't I could yell louder then a bell but grouping was done because a person would need to free up a hand to work either instead of braking.
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Old 10-04-12, 02:41 AM
  #70  
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i have a bell on my pedicab and it's very useful. I ring when far off and then when closer. If people still don't move, I either wait or say "pardon me"
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