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When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert)

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert)

Old 11-01-21, 12:56 PM
  #76  
Seattle Forrest
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I know this is a horrible thing to say, but the point of riding a bike is to have fun.
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Old 11-01-21, 01:10 PM
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I always ring my bell when I am on a shared foot/cycle path and approach a pedestrian and I do so quite a distance back, usually a bing, bing and i look if the walker has heard me , by either stepping to the side, a wink or any other acknowledgement. If they don't react and the path is wide, I usually ring again once and pass them as far away as possible. I they don't react and the path is narrow, I ring again and again until i see a reaction.
I usually also ring when overtaking a cyclist but only really once.

By the way, my bell is just on the inside of my (left) brake/ shift levers on the drop handle bar, so I can ring (with my thumb), brake and change gear without having to move my hand or changing any position.
I find it discourteous if a cyclist does not indicate that he is coming from behind a person a significantly higher speed.
OK if you are ambling along at 3-4 mph, than maybe not but what cyclist is going so slow.
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Old 11-01-21, 01:16 PM
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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.
The Knog Oi is a very nice sounding bell and I have it at the same position as shown in the picture (albeit on the left of the stem and the ringer a bit higher up - i.e.rotated forward by 45 degrees).
However in addition I have a very simple bell also near the bottom of my left brifter which I can ring with my thumb when on the hoods without changing position. So I can ring and brake at the same rime.
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Old 11-01-21, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I know this is a horrible thing to say, but the point of riding a bike is to have fun.
Wait, what?
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Old 11-01-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I know this is a horrible thing to say, but the point of riding a bike is to have fun.
And does ringing one's bell add to or detract from this purpose?
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Old 11-01-21, 02:39 PM
  #81  
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I don't have a bell. I notice there are some people who constantly use theirs.
When it seems necessary I say, "on your left". Most of the time it doesn't seem necessary and I don't.
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Old 11-01-21, 02:44 PM
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All this points out why bike paths are not as attractive to me as they would seem from the lack of cars...
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Old 11-01-21, 02:55 PM
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When I'm passing children, I say, "Please stay to the right. Thank you." "On your left" often has them moving left, MUP cyclists seem to have heard it enough to know what it means. Actually, I say, "I'm passing on your left," as I think that sometimes the only word heard is "left" so I add a couple useless words as hearing prep.
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Old 11-01-21, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76 View Post
All this points out why bike paths are not as attractive to me as they would seem from the lack of cars...
I've said this here oh so many times: not all bike paths are created equal.

This is the North Cedar Trail in Minneapolis, our tandem is on the eastbound path, you'll see the westbound path to the left, and the foot path on the right.



That said, there are many 'bike paths' around here I will not ride ... ever!
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Old 11-01-21, 03:21 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
We've all seen it... you're out walking or riding with the kids on a quiet trail on a Sunday morning when out of nowhere you hear someone scream "ON YOUR LEFT" .005 seconds before they blow past your left shoulder at 25mph with inches to spare - often while there is oncoming traffic.

These people are not announcing a pass or alerting you to their presence, they're telling you to get out of their way. They're usually in the middle of a workout and riding way too fast. They also probably think MUPs are a good place to do threshold intervals and don't understand why so many slower cyclists and walkers are out there clogging up the trail.

It's not really a mystery why some pedestrians and slower cyclists get a little prickly about the passing situation on MUPs.
......or they're riding an Ebike.
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Old 11-01-21, 09:40 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
Might be more a vent, but as I’m fairly new to cycling I’d appreciate hearing member’s thoughts on bell ringing to let people know you’re passing. I ring it on a case-by-case basis (if there’s a large speed differential, if I know we’re approaching a section where people often cross lanes, kids, etc.) but had a fairly unpleasant experience today.

Was on a shared bike/pedestrian path and there was a couple ahead. More leisure cyclists, both appeared to be in their fifties, and cycling single file with about 5m between them. Path doing a few twists when I came up on her rear and I free wheeled and coasted behind for about ten seconds. She heard my pawls/freehub (pretty loud on my bike) and looked back so knew I was there and that I would be passing. As we came around the last corner the path was clear for 100m ahead so I moved far right and passed her. As I did she called to her partner “bike passing” and I passed him shortly afterwards. He shouted after me, “know that bell on your bike? ******g use it”.

Totally unnecessary (in my opinion) and I returned to remonstrate, explaining that his partner knew I was there, had called to him, we were only doing about 10kmh and I passed a good 2m on his right. I actually felt I’d been more than polite, giving her space and waiting until I could be absolutely certain it was safe to pass.

I’m passed frequently by other cyclists on bike paths, at 30kmh plus, and rarely, if ever, does anybody ring their bell. I do if I’ve noticed a cyclist not keeping religiously left, but usually don’t if there’s good space to pass.

And conversely I passed a female cyclist on a bike path commute and knew we were coming to a section cyclists often cross both lanes to drop onto the road so rang my bell, once, as I was passing only for her to shout something after me (I don’t know what, to be honest, but she didn’t sound happy). I often find it an irritation when every bike rings their bell at me when, as a pedestrian, I always keep left.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I imagine most people will ring on a case by case basis, and will be grown up enough to know that we’re not all going to agree on when that is so won’t hurl abuse after fellow cyclists, but just wondered if there is a consensus/etiquette. If the community thinks I should have rang my bell, even in that specific example, then I’ll have to ring literally when I pass everybody.

p.s. I’m in Australia, so we cycle/drive on the left.
i live in the us. I don’t have a bell on any of my bikes. Where i live, we have lots of multiple use trails (MUTs?). Using a bell on those trails is met about as much love as laying on the car horn in snarled rush hour traffic. What works very well for me is simply saying “hello”. Most people will either turn, move to one side or the other, or wave. All these tell me where i can safely pass. Most people that i pass like this actually thank me. In the case of no reaction, it simply says to me slow down, be patient, and keep up the friendly “hello”. It works.
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Old 11-01-21, 11:09 PM
  #87  
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I get a lot of casual senior strollers on our river path. This morning there were 2 ladies taking up the whole path, so I slowed way down and politely stated

"On your left."
....

"On your OTHER left."

They then moved over to the right to let me pass.

Understanding shared path etiquette is a shared responsibility. I like to buzz along on a nice day but I slow down and give a wide pass to pedestrians too.
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Old 11-02-21, 03:19 AM
  #88  
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A MUP is not a place where you can ride as you wish

Originally Posted by Andy Somnifac View Post
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."
The bell is to indicate you are coming and I just watch what the reaction of the walkers is, sometimes they move left, sometimes right, sometimes if it's a couple they split, so saying "on your left" is nonsensical i n many situations and you are actually enforcing your will on them.
MUPs are spaces for everybody to enjoy and not a place where "rules" should dictate what you can and should do.
If you are not prepared to slow down to a walking speed on a MUP when passing you have no "right" to be there.
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Old 11-02-21, 04:41 AM
  #89  
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Just because you’ve never experienced something doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and will not happen to you.
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Old 11-02-21, 05:20 AM
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This is why I ride with a speaker on full blast and yell gibberish at people to alert them of my presence.
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Old 11-02-21, 05:24 AM
  #91  
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I ride the C&O Canal frequently. 90% of the hikers are wearing headphones, some actively using their speakerphone. I always DING and say passing on the left. Probably 20% of the folks respond appropriately, so I just slow down at the access points, where I knew more people will be encountered.

I almost hit out neighbors dog last night - on our street, on the last 200 yards of my ride. Coming down hill, going about 25 mph, trying to finish strong. My neighbor,husband & wife are walking their dog. A car is approaching toward me. I ring my bell, the husband looks up. The street is quite broad, but as I'm passing, the car stops and the husband steps into the middle of the road to speak to the driver. The wife/dog is off to the side. I pass between the wife/husband, but the dog, unbeknownst to me, is on a retractable leash and lunges out at me. I yell "oh ShiXX)". I apologized the next day, and the husband said the wife should have been paying (and keep the dog leash locked). A lesson for me, be ready for anything and slow down.
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Old 11-02-21, 07:31 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Andy Somnifac View Post
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."
YOUR left or MY left?
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Old 11-02-21, 07:37 AM
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It sounds rude, but when I used to velodrome we would shout "STAY" when passing another cyclist that was veering toward us.
Short and to the point.
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Old 11-02-21, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76 View Post
All this points out why bike paths are not as attractive to me as they would seem from the lack of cars...
I dunno; this forum has however-many thousands of threads about cars and drivers and traffic... Riding on the paths I avoid 99.9% of the cars but instead I encounter the random jogger or slower-moving bike every couple miles. I know which I'd prefer. Maybe things are different on the paths in, say, New York's Central Park? Because except for the pandemic crowds of 2020, the paths around here just aren't crowded enough to get upset over.
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Old 11-02-21, 09:47 AM
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I have a very nice sounding double bell that I pirated from my children's bikes (they are grown now).

I like to ring it when I am 15 or so feet behind the passing target. As I approach, I will say "On your left" (or right, or above?). Sometimes I will sing (yes, actually sing) it out loud. Less objections? Maybe they don't like my singing but I amuse myself (someone has too).
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Old 11-02-21, 10:00 AM
  #96  
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I blast Ride of the Valkyries through the blue tooth speaker mounted to my handlebar and pointed forward when on the mup.
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Old 11-02-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
And does ringing one's bell add to or detract from this purpose?
Replaying the moment a bell might have been rung in your head several days later isn't my idea of fun.
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Old 11-02-21, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rrjmaier View Post
The bell is to indicate you are coming and I just watch what the reaction of the walkers is, sometimes they move left, sometimes right, sometimes if it's a couple they split, so saying "on your left" is nonsensical i n many situations and you are actually enforcing your will on them.
MUPs are spaces for everybody to enjoy and not a place where "rules" should dictate what you can and should do.
If you are not prepared to slow down to a walking speed on a MUP when passing you have no "right" to be there.
There are so many logical leaps or fallacies here! Rebuttals:

(1) Unpredictable reactions to hearing a bell or "on your left" does not render the phrase nonsensical, especially if both the speaker and the listener are facing the same or almost the same direction. Those reactions only show that the phrase may be misinterpreted, which may be either or neither party's fault.

(2) Saying "on your left" (again assuming that both the speaker and the listener are facing the same or almost the same direction) is an attempt to convey relative positions. How is that enforcing the speaker's will on anyone? I will take this back if one of you Jedi masters teach me how to say "on your left" in a way that makes the listener maintain his or her line or at least a predictable path.

(3) MUPs should have no rules? Are you saying any and all rules preclude enjoyment of MUPs? But then you are also at least implying that there should be a rule to be "prepared to slow down to a walking speed on a MUP when passing"?

(4) And how does saying (or not saying) "on your left" reflect one's lack of preparation to do so?
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Old 11-02-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Warbird21 View Post
I ride the C&O Canal frequently. 90% of the hikers are wearing headphones, some actively using their speakerphone. I always DING and say passing on the left. Probably 20% of the folks respond appropriately, so I just slow down at the access points, where I knew more people will be encountered.

I almost hit out neighbors dog last night - on our street, on the last 200 yards of my ride. Coming down hill, going about 25 mph, trying to finish strong. My neighbor,husband & wife are walking their dog. A car is approaching toward me. I ring my bell, the husband looks up. The street is quite broad, but as I'm passing, the car stops and the husband steps into the middle of the road to speak to the driver. The wife/dog is off to the side. I pass between the wife/husband, but the dog, unbeknownst to me, is on a retractable leash and lunges out at me. I yell "oh ShiXX)". I apologized the next day, and the husband said the wife should have been paying (and keep the dog leash locked). A lesson for me, be ready for anything and slow down.
On my local MUPs, retractable leashes occasionally form trip wires which span the entire width of the path.
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Old 11-02-21, 01:01 PM
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Cramic, we have a very similar path as you describe where Iive, that gets a lot of cyclist, runner/jogger, walker, inline skater, dog walker traffic. I'm in the USA, so our standard is stay to the right, pass to the left. Our path even has a dashed center line painted yellow. I have given up on informing other users when I'm about to pass them. I've never had a bell, I have always called out "on your left" as I approach slower path users. I pass with a wide berth. If it's congested, I just hang back, don't pass, wait for things to lighten up. I stopped calling out as I approach because too many people, when you say "on your left", move to their left, right into the path I'm on. I would guess 1 out of 4 or 1 out of 5 does that, maybe more. In most situations, I feel it's safer to just slide on by when it's safe to do so, giving the other person a wide berth.

Last summer I had another path user (a walker) yell a string of expletives at me when I went by without saying anything, first time ever. Was not within 3m of her when I went past at about 20kmph, I was all the way over on the other side of the path. Got me thinking, am I doing this wrong? 400m later I came up on another walker and this time I said "on your left" as I rode past. And of course that person moved out to their left and we nearly collided. Reinforced why I don't say anything.
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