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Just put a bell on your bike easy peasy saves lots of aggro i would rather hear a bell than someone skidding on gravel and frightening me which has happend on tow paths please spare a thought for walkers some can be awkward but then so can cyclists as i have encounterd.

39 comments

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StoopidUserName [519 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

No one takes any notice of them else they see it as an aggressive command to get out the way. On road bikes (this is predominately a road bike based site in truth) you can't easily reach most bells without taking one hand off the bars/brakes.

This means you need to do it with plenty of notice or risk crashing into someone if they don't move out the way. If you have plenty of time anyway you can simply slow down, go round them and maybe call out excuse me or something? It's not cut and dry.

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Mungecrundle [1130 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Bells are OK but you have to plan ahead to use them. In an emergency, shouting 'Oi!' is both quicker and more effective.

I use my bell almost as a pre warning, warning. It is pretty weedy to be honest, can't see how anyone could take offence at it.

I'm also looking forward to the time when someone uses their horn aggressively, then I pull level at the next lights and as they wind their window down to spout some crap about road tax, I can ding my weedy bell, and say "Ha, how do you like that?"

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TheHungryGhost [63 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

I'm also looking forward to the time when someone uses their horn aggressively"

I was riding along the bus/cycle lane, and the road was blocked by a car pulling out of a side road trying to push into traffic.  The driver of this car, and the driver of a car on the main carriageway, who obviously wasn't keen on letting the other driver pull in, were having a horn blowing showdown.  I pulled up on my Pashey, which has a lovely two tone brass bell, and decided to join in, much to the amusement of passing pedestrians.

Even more surprising, the car pulled back a few feet to let me pass.

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ktache [990 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

Some pedestians react by randomly jumping either left or right upon hearing a bell, apparently believing that you are cycling right at them, whereas you are only notifying them of your presence.  And beacause they are walking down the middle of the shared path they have a 50% chance of jumping in front of the cyclist.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2502 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

Just wear a bell when you're walking, it's easy peasy, whilst you're at it wear a helmet too and some hi-vis garments, oh and lights during the day. If not you're showing no consideration to others, how on earth can anyone see/hear you coming otherwise.

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ConcordeCX [907 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

How will we know it's you so that we can ring it, rather than one of the people who don't like cyclists ringing bells at them, or one of the deaf people like me who can't hear them and would prefer it if cyclists just slowed down a bit and kept their distance? Perhaps you could help us by wearing a tabard with suitable instructions, in several languages, on the back.

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fenix [1108 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

I prefer to talk to people - you can alter your volume and tone. . Easier and I've both hands covering the brakes.

Anyone who's skidding on gravel isn't going to use a bell. Sensible riders don't skid. Our tyres are too valuable.

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kil0ran [1177 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I tend to progress from Excuse Me through Oi to Look Out to Ouch. But equally I tend to ride at a speed I can stop easily at if I'm sharing some crappy shared-use path with pedestrians. It's the headless ones stepping in to the road I'm most wary of. Definitely not moving my hands from my brakes to ring a bell. I might use it when I'm a few seconds away just to see if they're paying attention but that's more on rural roads round here that don't have pavements. 

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vonhelmet [1331 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

My single speed has a halo clickster on it at the moment. That gets people’s attention. Freewheel for a moment and everyone turns to see what the racket is.

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Deeferdonk [226 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

Some pedestians react by randomly jumping either left or right upon hearing a bell, apparently believing that you are cycling right at them, whereas you are only notifying them of your presence.  And beacause they are walking down the middle of the shared path they have a 50% chance of jumping in front of the cyclist.

If they jump in front of the cyclist on hearing the bell, the cyclist either hasn't sounded his bell early enough or is travelling too fast for a shared path.

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:
ktache wrote:

Some pedestians react by randomly jumping either left or right upon hearing a bell, apparently believing that you are cycling right at them, whereas you are only notifying them of your presence.  And beacause they are walking down the middle of the shared path they have a 50% chance of jumping in front of the cyclist.

If they jump in front of the cyclist on hearing the bell, the cyclist either hasn't sounded his bell early enough or is travelling too fast for a shared path.

...or they didn't hear you the first five times you rang the bell.

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andyp [1598 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

or they have headphones on, or are that special class of person who will deliberately obstruct you because they hate the fact that you're 'demanding' them to move'. A few polite words much better IME.

 

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Deeferdonk [226 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Deeferdonk wrote:
ktache wrote:

Some pedestians react by randomly jumping either left or right upon hearing a bell, apparently believing that you are cycling right at them, whereas you are only notifying them of your presence.  And beacause they are walking down the middle of the shared path they have a 50% chance of jumping in front of the cyclist.

If they jump in front of the cyclist on hearing the bell, the cyclist either hasn't sounded his bell early enough or is travelling too fast for a shared path.

...or they didn't hear you the first five times you rang the bell.

Well if they haven't heard you and you are still ringing your bell when you are right on top of them, then you are being too aggressive. A couple of pings from a distance, followed by a polite "excuse me" if you get very close to them.

If they refuse to move, tut loudly, lick your finger and put it in their ear and they soon jump out of the way.

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pastyfacepaddy [23 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

Surely slowing down and a cheery 'morning / afternoon' followed by 'rider left/right' is more polite than ringing a bell at them?

Once past a group of 10 older walkers on a shared use path and everyone was fine with the above apart from one old girl who made a snarky comment of 'don't bikes have bells anymore?' as I slowly rode past. She seemed quite taken aback when i said 'actually I prefer to speak to people than ring a bell at them as it seems a little more friendly don't you think?'.

The amused looks on the faces of the other walkers indicated she was a serial complainer of all things life related and wasn't used to people answering back to her.  1

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Deeferdonk wrote:
ktache wrote:

Some pedestians react by randomly jumping either left or right upon hearing a bell, apparently believing that you are cycling right at them, whereas you are only notifying them of your presence.  And beacause they are walking down the middle of the shared path they have a 50% chance of jumping in front of the cyclist.

If they jump in front of the cyclist on hearing the bell, the cyclist either hasn't sounded his bell early enough or is travelling too fast for a shared path.

...or they didn't hear you the first five times you rang the bell.

Well if they haven't heard you and you are still ringing your bell when you are right on top of them, then you are being too aggressive. A couple of pings from a distance, followed by a polite "excuse me" if you get very close to them.

If they refuse to move, tut loudly, lick your finger and put it in their ear and they soon jump out of the way.

The missus and I were trying out riding a tandem and got stuck behind an elderly couple on a shared use path. A polite bell ring, followed by another, followed by another... after about 20 seconds or so, we managed to get their attention and they apologised for being hard of hearing.

I don't mind bells, but they don't always work how you want them to.

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srchar [1075 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

You don't ride a bike, do you Bonnie?

As you correctly point out, some people are awkward no matter what their mode of transport; everyone's an individual.  Which is why some cyclists will ring a bell at you, some will shout "hello" or "excuse me", and some will make a noise that lets others know a bike is approaching, by skidding the back wheel on gravel or perhaps freewheeling so that you can here the clicking of a freewheel.

I'm in the clicky freewheel/shout "hello" camp, so no, I won't be fitting a bell to my bike.  Not because I'm awkward, but because experience has told me that a bike bell is roundly ignored.

Another titbit for you, Bonnie - not everyone defines themselves by their mode of transport.  Sometimes, I ride a bike.  I'm also quite partial to a day out walking.  I understand that everyone has a different approach to things, so I don't waste my time posting on forums asking people to change their behaviour just to please me.

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don simon [2622 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Bells are the devil's work. When walking down the tow path a bell usually means 'I'm coming through" and there isn't really a plan B. A quick notification of "on your left/right" more often than not gets an acknowledgement of thank. Of course, there are some prize dildos out there too like the fellow who claimed he'd hear a bell in spite of not hearing me alerting him with an oral warning.
I wish peds wore hi viz so they can be seen on darker evenings, they should also have front and rear lights while walking to the left. All for your own safety.

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vonhelmet [1331 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Dogs on shared use paths are the bane of my commute. On ten metres of lead, if they’re on a lead at all. All is fine if the dog or owner has half a brain, but there’s plenty with barely that between them.

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Sometimes it can be tricky to spot pedestrians if they're just over the brow of a hill, so maybe it'd be more thoughtful if they were to carry 6 foot poles with a flag on top to make them easier to spot.

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don simon [2622 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Sometimes it can be tricky to spot pedestrians if they're just over the brow of a hill, so maybe it'd be more thoughtful if they were to carry 6 foot poles with a flag on top to make them easier to spot.

That's what's used by those 4x4 hooligans out in the desert/dunes.

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes
don simon wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

Sometimes it can be tricky to spot pedestrians if they're just over the brow of a hill, so maybe it'd be more thoughtful if they were to carry 6 foot poles with a flag on top to make them easier to spot.

That's what's used by those 4x4 hooligans out in the desert/dunes.

I don't care what 16 hooligans do, this is a new safety initiative.

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mattsccm [384 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Bells do have the advantage that people know what they are. Well decent ones anyway, not the single ring pingers.

A skid indicates that something is stopping too fast. A clicking freewheel means nothing to a non cyclist (or someone with a properly maintained or designed bike. cheeky)  

A voice can work but is so often misued and isn't cycle specific.  A bell says that a bike is coming as a horn says that a motorised vehicle is there.

I refuse to accept that a bell cannot be mounted. They fit bars or the seat post, which is where mine is. . As you should be slowing when approaching a pedestrian or slower cyclist or what ever control isn't an issue. If it is then the riding speed should be slower still.

Of course bells don't work with the dimwits who are deliberatley deaf but remember the idea isn't to get them to move out of your way, its to tell them you are there.  What they do then depedns on their nature as a human.

Nothing of course will work for those with no genuine hearing or they complete antisocial morons who use headphones in public. Its not the wearing thats wrong, its the oblivion to the world around you.

To those who say "bells don't work". Of course they don't always but why should that be an objection to them?  NOTHING works in every situation does it but that never ever is the reason to stop using something.

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Jimnm [300 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I have a bell on my road bike, as stated most people just ignore it. They even ignore a vocal warning. I think that when I get on my bike, I become the invisible man! 

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srchar [1075 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
mattsccm wrote:

A clicking freewheel means nothing to a non cyclist (or someone with a properly maintained or designed bike.

There's a vacancy for you in Vicenza.  Mr. Campagnolo clearly didn't know what he was doing when he designed the Record rear hub.

mattsccm wrote:

I refuse to accept that a bell cannot be mounted.

I don't see anyone above saying they can't mount a bell - just that they've had one in the past and it hasn't been of any use.

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
mattsccm wrote:

Bells do have the advantage that people know what they are. Well decent ones anyway, not the single ring pingers.

A skid indicates that something is stopping too fast. A clicking freewheel means nothing to a non cyclist (or someone with a properly maintained or designed bike. cheeky)  

A voice can work but is so often misued and isn't cycle specific.  A bell says that a bike is coming as a horn says that a motorised vehicle is there.

I refuse to accept that a bell cannot be mounted. They fit bars or the seat post, which is where mine is. . As you should be slowing when approaching a pedestrian or slower cyclist or what ever control isn't an issue. If it is then the riding speed should be slower still.

Of course bells don't work with the dimwits who are deliberatley deaf but remember the idea isn't to get them to move out of your way, its to tell them you are there.  What they do then depedns on their nature as a human.

Nothing of course will work for those with no genuine hearing or they complete antisocial morons who use headphones in public. Its not the wearing thats wrong, its the oblivion to the world around you.

To those who say "bells don't work". Of course they don't always but why should that be an objection to them?  NOTHING works in every situation does it but that never ever is the reason to stop using something.

Bells also have the disadvantage that they often involve you moving your hand away from the controls.

You can't change the volume of most of them.

You can't change/modulate what information they are conveying.

Using your voice doesn't really have those disadvantages, so why should bells be preferred to human voices?

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fenix [1108 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
mattsccm wrote:

Bells do have the advantage that people know what they are. Well decent ones anyway, not the single ring pingers.

 

I refuse to accept that a bell cannot be mounted. They fit bars or the seat post, which is where mine is. . As you should be slowing when approaching a pedestrian or slower cyclist or what ever control isn't an issue. If it is then the riding speed should be slower still.

My Brompton has a single ring pinger. I'm sure people recognise it as a bike bell.

 

Do you really have a bell on the seatpost ?? That sounds dangerous.

 

If you're on a shared use path then you have to accept that you can't ride fast. Walkers have as much right as you do and you'd be foolish to speed past any kind of dog. I'm always slower and covering the brakes.

 

Just a bit of understanding from everyone makes for a much more pleasant day I find. 

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hawkinspeter [2663 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
fenix wrote:

If you're on a shared use path then you have to accept that you can't ride fast. Walkers have as much right as you do and you'd be foolish to speed past any kind of dog. I'm always slower and covering the brakes.

 

Just a bit of understanding from everyone makes for a much more pleasant day I find. 

On a shared use path, walkers can be considered to have more rights than cyclists in that they have priority. That even applies to split-use paths where there's a pedestrian and cyclist lane - even when the pedestrian is on the wrong side.

With dogs, there is a clear legal responsibility for the owner to keep it under control in shared spaces, but you're right about being cautious around them as they can be so unpredictable (also, I love dogs so wouldn't want to hurt them - people, less so).

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vonhelmet [1331 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

I get chased down a shared use path by a dog the other day, while the owner shouted ineffectually after it. “He never does this!” she wailed, as he got right stuck into doing exactly “this”. Useless.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2502 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
vonhelmet wrote:

Dogs on shared use paths are the bane of my commute. On ten metres of lead, if they’re on a lead at all. All is fine if the dog or owner has half a brain, but there’s plenty with barely that between them.

My friend who cycles to do her care work was attacked by a dog off its leash in the common (where you are allowed to cycle) last month and knocked her over. Not only injured with a badly bruised leg, arm, hand but she banged her head too with a cut on her forehead, she was really upset too and called me as she just wanted someone to be with her.

Dog owner did fuck all but shrug shoulders, didn't help her at all, but people don't want to talk about these incidents where dog owners just let them run free without any consideration for others!

 

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Mungecrundle [1130 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
vonhelmet wrote:

Dogs on shared use paths are the bane of my commute. On ten metres of lead, if they’re on a lead at all. All is fine if the dog or owner has half a brain, but there’s plenty with barely that between them.

My friend who cycles to do her care work was attacked by a dog off its leash in the common (where you are allowed to cycle) last month and knocked her over. Not only injured with a badly bruised leg, arm, hand but she banged her head too with a cut on her forehead, she was really upset too and called me as she just wanted someone to be with her.

Dog owner did fuck all but shrug shoulders, didn't help her at all, but people don't want to talk about these incidents where dog owners just let them run free without any consideration for others!

 

"Were you there, are you taking the side of someone without any evidence, you know which is exactly what the police don't do?

Too many bullshit stories about how a cyclist did this and that have made me and many others wary of accepting one persons version of events with no other witness/other party chiming in."

Copyright BehindTheBikesheds 2018

Double standards my friend.

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