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-   -   When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert) (https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/1241374-when-ring-your-bell-warning-vent-alert.html)

Cramic 10-29-21 08:22 AM

When to ring your bell (Warning: vent alert)
 
Might be more a vent, but as Iím fairly new to cycling Iíd appreciate hearing memberís thoughts on bell ringing to let people know youíre passing. I ring it on a case-by-case basis (if thereís a large speed differential, if I know weíre 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 ďbike passingĒ and I passed him shortly afterwards. He shouted after me, ďknow that bell on your bike? ******g use itĒ.

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 Iíd been more than polite, giving her space and waiting until I could be absolutely certain it was safe to pass.

Iím passed frequently by other cyclists on bike paths, at 30kmh plus, and rarely, if ever, does anybody ring their bell. I do if Iíve noticed a cyclist not keeping religiously left, but usually donít if thereís 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 donít know what, to be honest, but she didnít 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 donít.

I imagine most people will ring on a case by case basis, and will be grown up enough to know that weíre not all going to agree on when that is so wonít 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 Iíll have to ring literally when I pass everybody.

p.s. Iím in Australia, so we cycle/drive on the left.

MoAlpha 10-29-21 08:30 AM

I have a little bell on my commuting bike. It emits a single, polite, "ding!" Everyone loves it. People wave in gratitude and laugh when I shout, "Ice cream!"

Clyde1820 10-29-21 08:38 AM

Purpose of bells and shouts and whatnot: to warn of a situation brewing.

The person ahead of you looked back and knew you were there. Though perhaps didn't know your intentions. Still, it doesn't seem an egregious enough thing for the other person's partner to then insultingly excoriate you for passing.

Probably worth ringing the bell a couple times to ensure they're aware of the imminent attempt to pass. It's what it's there for. That, and to avoid offering cranky types to get their engines cranked over any (even merely a perceived) slight or "misstep."

Heck, if I got incendiary toward every vehicle that failed to use its signal to pass into another lane on the highway when coming up behind me for a pass, I'd have a stroke by noon. On a MUP with bikes and pedestrians around, though, probably worth the extra bit of precaution, 'cause you never know who's going to eject out of their line of travel without a care in the world.

kingston 10-29-21 08:39 AM

When people give me advice on how to ride my bike I smile, wave and say "thanks for the tip!" as unironically as possible.

Iride01 10-29-21 08:55 AM

Ring the bell or give an audible alert far enough behind so you'll see how they react and have time to adjust if necessary. Some noobs walking on the trail jump out of their skin and turn and step into the middle of the trail for who knows why. So I try to make sure that I startle them well before I get there.

Even at 15 mph you are going 22 feet per second, at 20 mph 29 fps. (24 kph your are going 6.7 meters per second, at 32 kph 8.9 meters per second.) So I figure I need at least a 1Ĺ seconds just to see their reaction. How much more time do you need for you to take action if needed?

curbtender 10-29-21 09:34 AM

I ring about 40 feet back and say "icecream man". That usually gets acknowledged.

Branko D 10-29-21 09:40 AM

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.

Hypno Toad 10-29-21 09:54 AM


Originally Posted by Cramic (Post 22288104)
Might be more a vent, but as Iím fairly new to cycling Iíd appreciate hearing memberís thoughts on bell ringing to let people know youíre passing. I ring it on a case-by-case basis (if thereís a large speed differential, if I know weíre 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 ďbike passingĒ and I passed him shortly afterwards. He shouted after me, ďknow that bell on your bike? ******g use itĒ.

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 Iíd been more than polite, giving her space and waiting until I could be absolutely certain it was safe to pass.

Iím passed frequently by other cyclists on bike paths, at 30kmh plus, and rarely, if ever, does anybody ring their bell. I do if Iíve noticed a cyclist not keeping religiously left, but usually donít if thereís 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 donít know what, to be honest, but she didnít 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 donít.

I imagine most people will ring on a case by case basis, and will be grown up enough to know that weíre not all going to agree on when that is so wonít 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 Iíll have to ring literally when I pass everybody.

p.s. Iím in Australia, so we cycle/drive on the left.

The short answer: you will never please everyone on the trail. I use bells and/or a number different of verbal alerts. Every single option has had a least one person shout a similarly annoying and profane response.

I have a bell on most of my bikes, including my brand new carbon fiber road bike (told the folks on my bike club that it came with "all the bells and whistles" LOL). I like the bell for most multi-use paths around here because the trails are busy with both people biking and walking. When my hands are busy, or if it's clear they are not hearing the bell, I'll use a verbal alert too.

I've had people engrossed in conversations or whatever is in their earbuds, and yell at me for not announcing a pass ... after bells and verbal alerts.
I've had people yell at me for being angry while giving a verbal alert,
I've had people jump (I mean JUMP) when I give an alert.

This is one of my favorite stories from earlier this summer (I posted this on a FB group):
So ... I found out today that a bell is no longer good enough to announce a pass and that you must also announce "on your left" too. I'm a major advocate for trail etiquette so I'm surprised I missed the announcement of this change.
Either that or some people will always be annoyed by faster riders passing ... IDK?
Details: I wasn't passing quickly, there were only two of us on the N Cedar Trail in SLP. I have a Spurcycle bell (if you don't know, these are strong and clear bell). It wasn't totally clear what the person was calling out from behind, the wind noise made it difficult to hear ... but I heard twice "say on your left". If you're the person that was annoyed with an old guy slowing passing on a recovery ride ... please share your side of the story, I'm honestly interested to hear.

njkayaker 10-29-21 09:56 AM

Nothing is going to be perfect. You are generally better off doing more than doing less.

If you ring the bell only when you are close, it will be more likely to startle them.

I will try to use the bell before I get too close and then again when I get closer. This means the first ring is not quite as loud and not "right next" to them. It also should give allow a better estimation of how fast you are going. This can even be help/appreciated when the difference in speed is small.

While people might hear the pawls clicking, they might not be as aware of what that means. They also might not be hearing as far off as you think. A bell has a fairly universal meaning.

Hypno Toad 10-29-21 09:56 AM

For a laugh:


SoSmellyAir 10-29-21 10:03 AM


Originally Posted by kingston (Post 22288129)
When people give me advice on how to ride my bike I smile, wave and say "thanks for the tip!" as unironically as possible.

Good to take the high road. Let me meditate on that. (These statement were also not meant to be ironic or sarcastic.)

Inusuit 10-29-21 10:09 AM

The posted rules on the two different municipal MUPs in my area include "Give an audible warning when overtaking/passing." I don't have a bell but announce "on your left." Never had an adverse reaction. I always thank people as I pass, especially those who take control of their dogs or kids.

SoSmellyAir 10-29-21 10:13 AM


Originally Posted by Hypno Toad (Post 22288269)

​​​

Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22288286)
The posted rules on the two different municipal MUPs in my area include "Give an audible warning when overtaking/passing." I don't have a bell but announce "on your left." Never had an adverse reaction. I always thank people as I pass, especially those who take control of their dogs or kids.

Neither of the cited posts cover a fairly common reaction by non-cyclists and inexperience cyclists around these parts: interpreting "on your left" as a command to shift to their left, which leads to a close call.

Inusuit 10-29-21 10:21 AM


Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir (Post 22288294)
​​​


Neither of the cited posts cover a fairly common reaction by non-cyclists and inexperience cyclists around these parts: interpreting "on your left" as a command to shift to their left, which leads to a close call.

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.

Hypno Toad 10-29-21 10:22 AM


Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir (Post 22288294)
​​​ Neither of the cited posts cover a fairly common reaction by non-cyclists and inexperience cyclists around these parts: interpreting "on your left" as a command to shift to their left, which leads to a close call.

Agreed! I've changed to "bike passing" or "bike behind you".

Unca_Sam 10-29-21 10:23 AM


Originally Posted by Branko D (Post 22288244)
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.

There is zero nuance to this approach and extending the example to automotive driving isn't illustrative at all, as piloting a cage of steel weighing in excess of a ton at high speeds would necessarily have slightly different safety concerns than riding a bicycle on a path designed for shared pedestrian/human powered machine use at lower speeds. FWIW, many states require a honk when passing traffic (like that one gets enforced outside of crashes).

Locally, our MUPs "require" a signal when passing [again, this isn't enforced unless there's some sort of crash]. I have better results when I ring a bell prior to passing, though the weight weenies will eschew a bell and just call the pass out. If I'm not sure I can pass safely I'll slow until I can, just like you. So what do you do when the situation isn't dicey, no signal at all?

Branko D 10-29-21 10:36 AM

Frankly I just ride my road bike on the road whenever the option presents itself, where normal road rules apply.

When I absolutely positively have to go through an area where there are pedastrians and no designated bike paths, I just ride slowly, and keep hands on the brakes instead. ​​​​A MUP used by lots of pedastrians and cyclists both simply isnít suited for road bike speeds. Sometimes a hundred metres long shortcut saves going around for five kilometers so it's tolerable but otherwise, no thanks.

Bike lanes adjecent to pedastrian zones, no signal whatsoever, but hands on brakes. In theory pedastrians are not supposed to be in the bike lane. In practice... I can't wait to get back on the road.
​​​​​​

zandoval 10-29-21 10:46 AM

If I see them I yell out...

Fat Sweaty OLD Guy on a bicycle with Poor Vision, Hearing, Balance, Reaction Time, and Breathing... Coming Up On Your SIX...

I'll leave it up to them what direction they want to take...

Did have a young guy who was running when I did this. He started running faster. Then he slowed and allowed me to catch up. With a smile he pulled his phone and asked if I needed 911.... Ha

As to the OP: Honestly a simple Ding will do...

popeye 10-29-21 10:47 AM


Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir (Post 22288294)
​​​


Neither of the cited posts cover a fairly common reaction by non-cyclists and inexperience cyclists around these parts: interpreting "on your left" as a command to shift to their left, which leads to a close call.

I had two women trade sides. It is now my policy to never say left. Some peeps will just move left because they are in another world at the moment. After about a half hour in cyclists and walker/runners are all on drugs.

SoSmellyAir 10-29-21 10:52 AM


Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22288299)
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.

Heh heh! Either:

(1) Californians have access to better weed than their fellow Americans in Wyoming and Colorado; or
(2) The weather here in SoCal (where I am) permits and encourages more non-cyclists and inexperienced cyclists to be out and about on the local MUPs.

Or both.

SoSmellyAir 10-29-21 10:53 AM


Originally Posted by Hypno Toad (Post 22288301)
Agreed! I've changed to "bike passing" or "bike behind you".

I mostly just say "good morning" or "good afternoon" these days.

Inusuit 10-29-21 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir (Post 22288341)
Heh heh! Either:

(1) Californians have access to better weed than their fellow Americans in Wyoming and Colorado; or
(2) The weather here in SoCal (where I am) permits and encourages more non-cyclists and inexperienced cyclists to be out and about on the local MUPs.

Or both.

Either could be true. Weed is still illegal in Wyoming. Due to your post, I am considering either a bell or a different verbal alert. "Passing on your left" seems a good option.

caloso 10-29-21 11:07 AM

If the riders in front look like they know what they're doing, I usually just pass with as wide a berth as possible, and say "good morning/afternoon/howdy/hola/privet/etc." on the way by with a big friendly wave. If they look less steady and they might be freaked out by me passing, I'll usually hang back and say "Hi there, bike back, passing on your left." Pause a bit, and then go by. Some less steady riders will pull left just looking that way, so you may need to account for that.

big john 10-29-21 11:20 AM


Originally Posted by Inusuit (Post 22288349)
Either could be true. Weed is still illegal in Wyoming. Due to your post, I am considering either a bell or a different verbal alert. "Passing on your left" seems a good option.

Yes, "passing on your left" works a lot better than "on your left". I sometimes say that, or "excuse me" or "excuse us" if I am with others. I like to make sure they know I am there before I pass them.

Moe Zhoost 10-29-21 11:22 AM

Keep doing what you are doing and just expect that occasionally you'll encounter someone who has an issue. I generally will ring my bell (or less frequently call out) for folks that I'm passing, but sometimes will not. Specifically, if I know the person is aware of my presence, if the music in their buds is so loud that I can hear it 20 ft away, or when I pass serious runners holding their lines when I can give them at least 10 ft clearance.

I was berated by a skater once who felt that I should have called out. She was using the whole width of the path in her glides so I was extra cautious, ringing my fairly loud bell repeatedly as I approached. She moved to the right and, thinking that she heard me, I started to pass on the left only to have her veer toward me. I was past her before any collision, but it was close. She started to yell at me so I stopped to ask here what her issue was. She said that I should have called out before passing because she didn't hear my bell because she had her music loud enough to drown out the sound of her skates.


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