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Are bicycle bells basically useless ?

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Are bicycle bells basically useless ?

Old 01-25-17, 10:32 PM
  #51  
Phloom
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I wish I could take credit for word "obliviot" but I got it from the late great Brock Yates, who used the term decades ago in Car and Driver magazine. I'm sure he would be thrilled to know it is still immediately understandable as to its meaning, but less thrilled but there are still oblivious.
I am well aware of Brock Yates. I am 58 and at a much younger age, I was into internal combustion engine driven vehicles. Brock Yates was very cool and now I really like "obliviot." Thank you for the source.
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Old 01-25-17, 11:23 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Since pedestrians have right of way over cyclists, I consider it rude to ping them, no matter how slowly they are walking. If I am on the sidewalk, or MUP, both situations I try to avoid like the plague, I suffer peds gracefully. I troll along behind them until they notice me and move over, or not, as they will. I am assured of getting a chance to pass them soon, with, or without, their active cooperation. Bells are for signalling other cyclists that already see you, especially children.
Do you ever say "excuse me" to get by another person, or use a turn signal when driving? A bell is simply an extension of that when on a bike. There's nothing wrong with communicating ones desire to pass by when done with consideration.
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Old 01-26-17, 05:59 AM
  #53  
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Bells work well for people who don't have headphones on and music turned up. Mine is mostly used on mtb trails. Runners and walkers use them as well. At least there, 9/10 don't have headphones on. Gets a runner out of the middle of the single track so I can pass wide on the other side.
I'll also ding it for bikes doing the course backward if I see them through the trees.
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Old 01-26-17, 06:52 AM
  #54  
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This, Exactly...

Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
... Mine is mostly used on mtb trails. Runners and walkers use them as well. At least there, 9/10 don't have headphones on. Gets a runner out of the middle of the single track so I can pass wide on the other side. I'll also ding it for bikes doing the course backward if I see them through the trees.
Best use for a bell is on MTB single track. Very helpful when overtaking someone and negotiating a safe pass.


As for riding on MUPs...well, I don't find much use for it. It's a necessary evil in some regions, where there just aren't good or safe enough roads. Generally, MUPs are better suited walkers, strollers, bikes with kiddie tag-alongs, and the like. They're not for riding at pace, so...
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Old 01-26-17, 11:38 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by DNZ11 View Post
Bike bells, kickstands and fenders threaten the machismo of many
I have a bell and a kickstand, just need the fenders now!
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Old 01-26-17, 11:41 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
Bells work well for people who don't have headphones on and music turned up. Mine is mostly used on mtb trails. Runners and walkers use them as well. At least there, 9/10 don't have headphones on. Gets a runner out of the middle of the single track so I can pass wide on the other side.
I'll also ding it for bikes doing the course backward if I see them through the trees.
I haven't come across too many people with headphones on, but the one jogger who did have them heard my bell anyway.
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Old 01-26-17, 11:48 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
I haven't come across too many people with headphones on, but the one jogger who did have them heard my bell anyway.
Consider yourself fortunate. 'Round my way it's odd to see runners/peds without "headphones." I even see couples running together with separate music sources. And more times than not it's clear they haven't heard my loud-ass-voice yell "On left!"
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Old 01-26-17, 01:07 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
I haven't come across too many people with headphones on, but the one jogger who did have them heard my bell anyway.
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Consider yourself fortunate. 'Round my way it's odd to see runners/peds without "headphones." I even see couples running together with separate music sources. And more times than not it's clear they haven't heard my loud-ass-voice yell "On left!"
It's more common on MUPS to see people with headphones on. Less common on the dirt trails in the state forest where mountain bikes mostly roam...people out there expect them and know to keep an ear out.
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Old 01-26-17, 04:40 PM
  #59  
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Of course I do most of my riding on city streets so I think most morning walkers/joggers don't use them in order to listen out for cars. Plus a lot of the ladies out in the morning walk in pairs or groups, so they are likely catching up on the local gossip.
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Old 01-26-17, 11:07 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
first time I needed to use it , the pedestrian in my way was wearing earphones and didn't hear me , and the second time used was at a busy intersection , and also wasn't heard .
It's still better then saying "On your right". Some MUP's require them and in Cayce SC, they were handing out warnings to cyclist for not having them on the Riverwalk.
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Old 01-27-17, 06:04 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
It's still better then saying "On your right". Some MUP's require them and in Cayce SC, they were handing out warnings to cyclist for not having them on the Riverwalk.
Oh hey there! i didn't know they were required there. Makes sense they would be, it's so twisty. They haven't opened up the section that was closed after the flood yet, have they?
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Old 01-27-17, 06:50 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
... was so excited when I finally bought a bell the other day , a Crane E-ne , after biking so long without one .
so the first time I needed to use it , the pedestrian in my way was wearing earphones and didn't hear me , and the second time used was at a busy intersection , and also wasn't heard .
A few years ago my wife using a path that was shared by pedestrian and bikers. My dad got her a "ping" bell. It was so loud it could scare someone if you were too close. She would ping it a good 20 yards away, and then if received no reaction, at 10 yards. Usually even with headphones people could here it and at least turn around.

As a beginner, the learned to never ping it to close, otherwise the pedestrian would panic and cross right into her lane. Also it is rude to ping that close.

Those are my experiences with a bell!
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Old 01-27-17, 08:02 AM
  #63  
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In China, almost everyone has a bell and almost everyone ignores it. I had an airhorn for awhile, at best I had a 50% success rate getting a reaction. Phlegm noises are fairly effective, or perhaps strange animal noises. Now I find its better to grab the brakes and wait till its safe to pass. When hearing is impared, no amount of noise will help.
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Old 01-27-17, 11:13 AM
  #64  
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I have a bell on every one of my bikes, street or mountain, and I can't understand why anyone (a) would care about how someone else sets up a bike and/or (b) has a negative opinion of a bell.

When you say "On your left," I find that many pedestrians will obligingly move to THEIR left, which defeats the purpose of the warning. Your voice also carries emotional content, if you are male and speaking in a commanding tone to a woman, she may not appreciate the good deed you are trying to do. Or she may be right and you are a jerk who feels that you can issue commands to a woman. Why even explore that territory, since a bell does not? A bell has no emotional content, and it is not a command.

Approaching a pedestrian whose back is turned, I ding the bell when I am a reasonable distance away I, make sure they hear it, and then I act according to their reaction. Haven't hit one yet.

On singletrack, I ding approaching blind turns. Duh.

Bell, yes!
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Old 01-27-17, 12:04 PM
  #65  
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To add - it gets old real quick saying/yelling "on your left" or "BIIIIIKE" etc.
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Old 01-27-17, 03:00 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
To add - it gets old real quick saying/yelling "on your left" or "BIIIIIKE" etc.
Not long ago, I dinged my bell when approaching an elderly couple walking their dog, and the lady thanked me for not yelling at them. BF is the only place I've encountered negative opinions about bike bells.
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Old 01-27-17, 03:20 PM
  #67  
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When you say On your left, I find that many pedestrians will obligingly move to THEIR left, which defeats the purpose of the warning. I agree ... It just doesn't work with pedestrians. I call out, "Coming by," which works much better. Ride to work takes me across a large college campus ... iPhone zombies abound ... zinging a bell might be a successful strategy here. I'm going to give it a try.
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Old 01-27-17, 05:13 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
Oh hey there! i didn't know they were required there. Makes sense they would be, it's so twisty. They haven't opened up the section that was closed after the flood yet, have they?
Three sections still out, was there yesterday but was walking.
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Old 01-29-17, 09:56 PM
  #69  
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I use mine well in advance and usually say something to not startle the person
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Old 01-29-17, 10:40 PM
  #70  
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I've had far more get mad when I DON'T ring my bell. If I'm really close to them I more often say excuse me. I doubt anybody considers a bell ding a command. Many say sorry to me, in passing.
As far as the OPost, what is totally useless is ON yer Left. Never coming out of my mouth. WTF is the guaranteed reaction.
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Old 01-29-17, 10:47 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
Not long ago, I dinged my bell when approaching an elderly couple walking their dog, and the lady thanked me for not yelling at them. BF is the only place I've encountered negative opinions about bike bells.
There is nothing that exists that can get away from negative comments on the Internet.
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Old 01-29-17, 11:45 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I've had far more get mad when I DON'T ring my bell. If I'm really close to them I more often say excuse me. I doubt anybody considers a bell ding a command. Many say sorry to me, in passing.
As far as the OPost, what is totally useless is ON yer Left. Never coming out of my mouth. WTF is the guaranteed reaction.
I was wondering if this was a cultural thing in the USA, where pedestrians are familiar with hearing it and understanding what it means, as I am sure in Australia it would be either completely ineffectual or maybe counter-productive, as you might get the pedestrian moving into your path.


Bells rule, it is known.
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Old 01-30-17, 12:15 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
It's still better then saying "On your right". Some MUP's require them and in Cayce SC, they were handing out warnings to cyclist for not having them on the Riverwalk.

Having a bell on a bike is a SC state law that covers the entire state of SC not just Cayce, SC. The law states that ALL Bicycles, except those that are intended for toddlers, must have a bell. From my observations it is a law that is not enforced because I see far more bikes without bells than I see with bells.

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Old 01-30-17, 12:54 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
I was wondering if this was a cultural thing in the USA, where pedestrians are familiar with hearing it and understanding what it means, as I am sure in Australia it would be either completely ineffectual or maybe counter-productive, as you might get the pedestrian moving into your path.
We say, "On your right" ... or better ... "Bicycles passing".
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Old 01-30-17, 01:03 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
... was so excited when I finally bought a bell the other day , a Crane E-ne , after biking so long without one .
so the first time I needed to use it , the pedestrian in my way was wearing earphones and didn't hear me , and the second time used was at a busy intersection , and also wasn't heard .
You posted this and never returned to the discussion. Either you're not aware that this is quite an active forum ... or you really didn't care to participate in a conversation.

Nevertheless, knowing full well that you probably won't respond, I'll ask anyway ... describe the scenario how you used your bell at a busy intersection.
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