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"Passing on your left" vs. ringing a bell

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"Passing on your left" vs. ringing a bell

Old 04-30-13, 11:51 PM
  #51  
yamsyamsyams
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on the trails an "on your left" within about a 5 second distance usually yields me a nice "thank you" from peds and cyclists
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Old 05-01-13, 08:26 AM
  #52  
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I slow down to pass, call out an "on your left" in increasing volume until heard, and always give a "thank you" as I pass.

The only exception is for little kids. I don't call out for kids. I slow or stop as necessary and give them as wide and safe a berth as I possibly can. If I have an opportunity I will probably offer then some encouragement, maybe a "nice bike!" or say something like "thanks for noticing me" if they finally realize they are in the way.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:36 AM
  #53  
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I do a combination of bell and #3. Also, if they don't have headphones, I give a sunny "Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!" as I roll by.

People who step out of the bushes directly into my path get "Heads up!" and squealing brakes.
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Old 05-01-13, 10:25 AM
  #54  
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For my experience, a bell works 99+% of the time. This is what they expect and want, especially peds, and often say so when I just quietly glide by. I should do something more often for sure.
On tight bridge sidewalks I often say excuse me. I never say on yer left, but do hear it.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:25 PM
  #55  
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For what it's worth, since I'm brand new to cycling: I prefer the bell. Having been mostly in the place of the pedestrian, if a cyclist were to approach me from behind - whether on a MUP or any other circumstance - and ring a bell, I'd find it a perfectly reasonable alert to a bicycle's presence. But if that person were to instead say, "On yer left!" I'd wonder why a perfect stranger was yelling at me (even if they weren't literally yelling). Garden-variety pedestrians and kids aren't likely to know cyclists' etiquette. The bell just seems to me to be more polite, more universal, and less likely to be misunderstood.
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Old 05-01-13, 08:34 PM
  #56  
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"Passing on your left!" = Too many words when your pounding the pedals while cruising at 23mph. "On your left!" = Read above. Neither of these are really effective in the real world of urban battle grounds. MUPS.....busy streets with crowds......Add that to the idiot runners/joggers who are using iPods. You think they are going to hear "ON YOUR LEFT!"? No, very doubtful. The best thing is a very loud brass bell with long resonance and or air horn/real car horn.
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Old 05-03-13, 12:13 AM
  #57  
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A brass bell seems to work best for me.
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Old 05-03-13, 01:27 AM
  #58  
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I just don't like riding on MUP's all that much as pedestrians are seldom satisfied. I have a bike that I've fitted a bell. It works well/best. I have a touring bike that is difficult to fit a bell, as it's handle bars have a large comfortable diameter . While riding the touring bike I yell out on the left, sometimes slowing way way down before doing so and still receive on occasion a rude comment while passing by such as them yelling back ( your supposed to give me more notice ) , as they are walking in the middle of the MUP with their dog on a long leash . In any case to answer the question directly, IMO a bell works much better to warn pedestrians. They seem less startled and seem to think a bell is more "polite"
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Old 05-03-13, 08:18 AM
  #59  
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Our closest path is so busy on weekends that I'd sound like I was selling ice cream out of a van if I used a bell. I found it best to ride a mountain bike and go 5 to 10 feet off road at times to get around all the traffic. Nobody seems to care if you're off the path.

Teenagers walking small dogs on retractable leashes are the worst.
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Old 05-03-13, 02:20 PM
  #60  
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Since I ride out in the country on normal rides, it is never an issue. The only time it comes into play are event rides where many of the riders are inexperienced and I found that a "on your left" really doesn't do much. They keep chatting and riding unsafely anyway. The only time I verbalize, it is because I am approaching a group that is not riding straight or safely - or is riding three abreast. I slow down and say "passing on left" so that they don't weave directly into my path.

Last edited by BikerBBC; 05-03-13 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 05-03-13, 07:01 PM
  #61  
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I also play it by ear depending on the situation understanding that people don't like being yelled at or interrupted, that sometimes they can't hear and that I don't want to hit them. I think I'm a bit dyslexic myself and find "on the left" to be confusing even though I assure you I know what it means. Just saying "passing" is more clear -- where else would you pass but on the left (unless you drive on the left). And in the interest of good relationships and future consideration I agree that pleasantries are usually a good idea.
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Old 05-04-13, 03:58 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by GeraldF View Post
1. "Passing on your left"
2. Ringing a bell
3. No audible warning, but slowing down significantly and giving plenty of space while passing
NEVER use "Passing on your left/right, as the person you are overtaking will step to left/right. A bell is better and/or calling out "Look out behind you." Option three is situation dependent. If the person is keeping to the edge of the pathway, then, it is possible to overtake by slowing right down and overtaking by keeping as close to the opposite edge of the path.
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Old 05-04-13, 04:06 PM
  #63  
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If it's at night, I find a high beam headlight is more effective than anything: the pedestrain thinks a car is coming. They are scared of cars but not bikes. Bikes have to yield to them.

(Of course, if you can also imitate the sound of engine, so much the better!)
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Old 05-04-13, 05:37 PM
  #64  
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In another thread I noted that our MUP is busy (10-5 typical on weekends late spring, early fall). I don't ride then which means I'm not passing those dogs not on leash, children, joggers, strollers, etc. Our MUP is OK for recovery rides but if you want to roll at anything over 15 mph it's too winding, has blind curves, road crossings, and with other other users, really hard to stay in a zone (it does have 3 separate mile long sections that are pretty open, reasonably straight and perfect for interval training).

I've used voice, bell, brake clicking, coughing, but slowing down and a "hey thanks" works best.
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Old 05-04-13, 05:39 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
(Of course, if you can also imitate the sound of engine, so much the better!)
If you imitate the sound of an engine on the MUPs around here, the soccer moms will arrange for the nice traffic officer on a Harley with real engine sounds to investigate your ride.
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Old 05-04-13, 05:40 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
slowing down and a "hey thanks" works best.
+1
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Old 05-05-13, 12:52 PM
  #67  
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I prefer 1 or 3, either alerting them verbally or if there's already plenty of room passing them at a safe speed. I don't like just ringing a bell, because I never know which way they'll move, and all too often it'll be into my path rather than away from it.

Based on experience, quietly passing unannounced where there's room usually works out best since it doesn't depend on any action by the pedestrian, nor does it cause one. This works well with no hard feelings when there's plenty of room, otherwise slowing down and calling "biycle passing to your left" is the next best option.
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Old 05-05-13, 03:51 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I prefer 1 or 3, either alerting them verbally or if there's already plenty of room passing them at a safe speed. I don't like just ringing a bell, because I never know which way they'll move, and all too often it'll be into my path rather than away from it.

Based on experience, quietly passing unannounced where there's room usually works out best since it doesn't depend on any action by the pedestrian, nor does it cause one. This works well with no hard feelings when there's plenty of room, otherwise slowing down and calling "biycle passing to your left" is the next best option.

^ This works best for me. In my area, I have found the majority of MUP users to have a reasonable amount of courtesy, so I attempt to do the same. When a dog walker reigns in their dog at my approach, I try to say "thank you" or give a wave.
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Old 05-05-13, 07:14 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by BikerBBC View Post
Since I ride out in the country on normal rides, it is never an issue. The only time it comes into play are event rides where many of the riders are inexperienced and I found that a "on your left" really doesn't do much. They keep chatting and riding unsafely anyway. The only time I verbalize, it is because I am approaching a group that is not riding straight or safely - or is riding three abreast. I slow down and say "passing on left" so that they don't weave directly into my path.
when i ride out in the country, my bell gets the most use ringing at kids playing in the yard and old folks on the front porch as i pass - it seems uniformly quite well received.

On a multiple use path, a bell unequivocally is a more polite, better received choice.

Does it always clear a path for the scorchers? it's not supposed to. Neither is yelling "CLEAR A PATH, I'M LANCE ARMSTRONG" or whatever it is people are shouting at pedestrians.
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Old 05-06-13, 09:52 PM
  #70  
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This is what I use on my steeds

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Old 05-06-13, 10:15 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
This is what I use on my steeds
Sweet tone.
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Old 05-06-13, 10:56 PM
  #72  
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Yup. As the bell becomes weathered from rain and the whatnot, it takes on this really pretty gold color (becomes non-reflective at this point)
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Old 05-07-13, 09:24 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
I have a touring bike that is difficult to fit a bell, as it's handle bars have a large comfortable diameter.
There are headset spacer mounted bells (From Orange Velo and QBP/Dimension). They are smaller than some other bells, but are generally loud enough.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:34 AM
  #74  
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Bells are happy, yelling is aggro. Bells carry further so you can ring from further back and they have time to react, not just startle.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:49 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Bells are happy, yelling is aggro. Bells carry further so you can ring from further back and they have time to react, not just startle.
Bells are fine, but that doesn't ensure that folks will interpret them properly if/when they hear them. Case in point, look at back-up alarms now mandatory on large vehicles in the US. Pedestrians will hear the alarm, but stand in the blind spot because they don't associate the alarm with the hazard.

This isn't argument for or against bells or calling out, but a reminder that no matter the circumstances, it's you, as the oncoming vehicle that bears the responsibility for avoiding a collision.
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