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When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert)

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When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert)

Old 10-31-21, 07:18 AM
  #51  
njkayaker
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Some people wonder why others don't understand "on you left".

Part of the problem is assuming, since they know what they are doing, the others do as well.

There's a two step process: (1) hearing the noise (2) understanding it. If they say it too close, often startle people (which won't make them happy). If people are shouting to make themselves heard, it gives the appearance of being aggressive.

While words as noise should be enough, people are conditioned to try to understand what's being shouted at them. Bells avoid the extra step/time of people trying to understand what the mean. Words indicate "other people", which pedestrians might be trying to ignore anyway. They don't clearly indicated bicyclist.

Bicycles are generally really quiet (so pedestrians have no idea about them until the are very close). They are also usually going much faster than walking speed (6mph is slow cycling but it's 2-3 times as fast as walking).

Bells tend to register as being less aggressive than shouting. They also don't need to be understood. Since bells repeat the same time, it's possible that it's easier to gauge the speed of the approaching noise. Bells might work at a lower level of brain function than shouting does. But the probably need to be used twice.

Bells are fairly-reliably understood to be from a bicycle (rather than just "other people").

If people are going to shout, it might make sense to use a standard phrase ("on your left" appears to be that standard phrase in the US). That increases the likelihood that people will learn what it means and be conditioned to react appropriately.

One does not usually need to signal to people ahead of you.

Nothing is going to be perfect. But bells might be better than shouting.


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Old 10-31-21, 07:32 AM
  #52  
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The problem with not warning of an impending pass is when Fred decides to hook a U turn without even looking. Pedestrians cross the street right in front of me all the time. A bell helps.
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Old 10-31-21, 08:16 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
What is the one on the left?
That is My Friendly Horn for Kids.
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Old 10-31-21, 01:07 PM
  #54  
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Use your bell to create awareness of your presence BEFORE you pass. Even if you're fine riding at their pace behind them, still use it to let them know you're there. A bell is not a command to move over.

Slow speeds and erratic behavior are to be expected on shared paths. They're best avoided in favor of regular streets and roads. Don't ride on paths unless you really have to.
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Old 10-31-21, 01:14 PM
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OK, I am willing to give a bell a try. Which bell is loudest and/or clearest? This one?

Spurcycle Original Bike Bell - Raw | REI Co-op
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Old 10-31-21, 07:39 PM
  #56  
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“Passing on your left” is what I use. Since I’m not a very shouty person, I guess the hope is that the “Passing” helps get their attention so that none of the “on your left” is missed. But you can’t take bad reactions personally.
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Old 10-31-21, 07:50 PM
  #57  
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Bought a few bells to try, nothing pricey. All work fine... but then you have to move your hand... LOL!
turns out just using the voice works as well...
but I WILL add "Passing" to "On Your Left".... I like that...
also, always try to use a pleasant voice, no shouting... if they have buds/earphones on, they're not gonna hear anything anyway - short of an airhorn...
so moot on the warning, the outcome remains uncertain... LOL!
Ride On
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Old 10-31-21, 07:54 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
OK, I am willing to give a bell a try. Which bell is loudest and/or clearest? This one?

Spurcycle Original Bike Bell - Raw | REI Co-op
​​​​​​Timber Bell sounds good.
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Old 10-31-21, 08:17 PM
  #59  
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I ring my bell; I never announce verbally because my voice isn't very loud unless I shout.

Those who ride on MUPs: Aren't you finding traffic way down compared to last year? Much more toward "normal" after the big quarantine crowds of 2020. I ride on one of the most well-known rail-trails in the Chicago area (heck, one of the most well-known of anywhere) and I keep thinking the big crowds will be back as soon as summer gets here.... And then I remember tomorrow is Nov. 1 already. It just ain't as crowded as 2020 was.

The bell is more than sufficient.
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Old 10-31-21, 08:38 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
OK, I am willing to give a bell a try. Which bell is loudest and/or clearest? This one?

Spurcycle Original Bike Bell - Raw | REI Co-op
That one rings a long time! Not sure it’s any louder than my cheap Incredibell, but one ring lasts a while. I usually do several rings in a rhythm… that helps give a sense of my approaching speed.

I don’t bother with saying “bicycle passing on your left (or right if that is what is available)” if they acknowledge the bell with some kind of wave or pointing.

Otto
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Old 11-01-21, 01:07 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
Do you honk every time you overtake another car in your car? Of course not, that'd be preposterous. You overtake if you can do it safely, and brake if you can't.

I see zero reasons for cyclists to go ding every time they overtake another bicycle, car or whatnot. If the situation is dicey, I brake.

I carried a bell for quite a while until I realized my hands went to the brakes whenever in any doubt and the bell went unused.
Are you really comparing cars and pedestrians/cyclists??? That's ridiculous. Cars have three mirrors and drivers are responsible for knowing what is around them. Pedestrians and many cyclists don't utilize mirrors so when overtaking the pedestrian or cyclist, the responsibility is on the one overtaking and passing. Announcing yourself and/or using a bell well before making your pass is the safest situation for everyone. You deciding what's safe or not can still startle the one being passed and cause problems. Kids (and many adults) can be unpredictable and someone walking a dog may not be ready to shorten the leash. At least you say you brake when necessary.
As for the OP's comments, two things stand out. First, you passed on the right. I don't know which side of the road you drive on in Australia so bike etiquette may be different (although I don't see why), but in the US, passing on the left is proper and expected. That may have led to the initial complaint. Second, you said that you used your bell, "as you were passing". If that's what happened, you were much too late. The bell is a warning and the person needs to have time to react.

Be well everyone.

Last edited by MAK; 11-01-21 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 11-01-21, 02:37 AM
  #62  
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​​​​​​Yes, I am. Road rules are a well thought out system for keeping everyone pretty safe despite routinely travelling at speeds where mistakes can easily mean serious injury or death. Drivers, provided they are not changing lanes or direction, are primarily tasked with monitoring what is in front of them - hence it is legal to use vehicles without mirrors on the public roads.

Applying ordinary road logic, it's simply your responsibility not to crash into pedastrians, cyclists and so on in front of you. Places where leisure cyclists, pedastrians and pets mix simply aren't suited for going fast at all.

​​​​​At the end of the day, I much prefer the predictability, speed and safety of riding on the road.

Last edited by Branko D; 11-01-21 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:53 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
OK, I am willing to give a bell a try. Which bell is loudest and/or clearest? This one?

Spurcycle Original Bike Bell - Raw | REI Co-op
I have heard good things about the spurcycle bell - loud and clear.

I like this one:https://www.rei.com/product/153660/k...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

It's low profile and doesn't take up as much room on my bar. The tone is a little deeper and less shrill than other bells.
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Old 11-01-21, 06:01 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I have heard good things about the spurcycle bell - loud and clear.
I had one and returned it. The $5.99 bell I got at Dick's Sporting Goods was substantially louder, and the average pedestrian immediately recognized it as a bike, which I'm not sure they were doing with the Spurcycle.
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Old 11-01-21, 07:13 AM
  #65  
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I have yet to find a bell that is audible over the sound of "Gangster Paradise" blaring over my bluetooth speaker. My music is my bell.
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Old 11-01-21, 07:32 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I have heard good things about the spurcycle bell - loud and clear.

I like this one:https://www.rei.com/product/153660/k...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

It's low profile and doesn't take up as much room on my bar. The tone is a little deeper and less shrill than other bells.
I have read mixed reviews of the Knog Oi, although it does complement your very sleek bar and stem setup.
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Old 11-01-21, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
I have read mixed reviews of the Knog Oi, although it does complement your very sleek bar and stem setup.
Most of the complaints I've read are from the original version. The "luxe" model has some upgrades that seem to work a lot better, though it is more expensive. It's still not a particularly loud bell, though for me that is a selling point, not a complaint. For my use, a bike bell is an exercise in politeness, not really a warning device. I mainly use it on quiet forest preserve and rural paths where yelling "on your left" can be perceived as aggressive.

I have found that bells are not very good for urban/city riding. The reaction times are often short, and motorists usually can't hear them anyway.
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Old 11-01-21, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Most of the complaints I've read are from the original version. The "luxe" model has some upgrades that seem to work a lot better, though it is more expensive.
Thank you for that distinction. More food for thought.

Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
It's still not a particularly loud bell, though for me that is a selling point, not a complaint. For my use, a bike bell is an exercise in politeness, not really a warning device. I mainly use it on quiet forest preserve and rural paths where yelling "on your left" can be perceived as aggressive.

I have found that bells are not very good for urban/city riding. The reaction times are often short, and motorists usually can't hear them anyway.
I am looking for a bell only for use on MUPs. While I want it to be loud and clear, I do not expect that it would work through earbuds or on motorists.
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Old 11-01-21, 09:40 AM
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Get a Kids Horn. ON Left.
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Old 11-01-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Get a Kids Horn. ON Left.
More controls than my flight simulator setup!
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Old 11-01-21, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I have found that bells are not very good for urban/city riding. The reaction times are often short, and motorists usually can't hear them anyway.
Bells don't work for motorists. They aren't really intended to work for motorists.
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Old 11-01-21, 12:03 PM
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As someone who hikes mountain trails instead of riding them, I very much appreciate the mountain bikers who have bells that jangle automatically with every bump or dip or turn. There are many blind hairpin turns, not to mention bikers who approach from behind going downhill at breakneck speed.
In my locale, hikers have right-of-way over cyclists, but as a courtesy I step off the side of the trail and let them pass IF I KNOW THEY ARE THERE.
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Old 11-01-21, 12:22 PM
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I've thought about a timber bell for trail riding, but I think my chain slapp! is doing a good job at the moment.

If I were using a modern clutched derailleur, absolutely.
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Old 11-01-21, 12:45 PM
  #74  
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I carry a boat horn in town but it’s not for cyclists. When passing I always call “on your left”. Not sure everyone knows how to interpret a bell.
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Old 11-01-21, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Inusuit View Post
Perhaps Californians are easily confused. Never had that happen in Wyoming or Colorado in riding several thousand miles on MUPs. But my average speed is usually around 10-12 mph and I am always prepared to brake when passing.
Agreed. I don't think I've ever had an issue with "On your left" being interpreted as anything other than "I am passing you on your left side."
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