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26 Comments on "When a Bike Bell Rings…"

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Opus the Poet

I’m getting an AirZound for my next bike. I’m getting tired of shouting and breaking rear view mirrors…

Baron von Drais

You may get a laugh from this article about bicycle bells and they reaction they get in different cultures…

Andy M-S

At least in New Haven, find that my bell does get a reaction from drivers–but sometimes I have to ring it furiously to be heard (and mine is large and LOUD). Air conditioning has ensured that many people drive with their windows up and radios on…so that makes bike bells much less effective.

On the trails, I find the bell to be very useful–lots of people seem to actually *like* it!

The topic of bells/calling out “On your left!”/etc. comes up frequently on many bike sites. I’m always amazed at the amount of regional variation there is when it comes to the reaction to them. Around here in upstate NY, we have the awesome Erie Canal towpath, a MUP used by a healthy mix of cyclists and pedestrians, young and old. Calling out “On your left!” when passing is standard procedure. I have never, in decades of riding, ever have someone misinterpret it. And yet I read elsewhere that when cyclists try it the pedestrians tend to move TO the left… Read more »

I’m surprised your “on your left” is so effective. Here in the Albany area, if it’s heard at all over the headphones/cellphone, it causes a jump to the left about 80% of the time. I only ring a bell or call out now if I think the pedestrian I’m passing is unpredictable, because it rarely helps.

Otherwise, I only use my bell when passing people on my morning commute’s bridge crossing, where bikes are forced onto the sidewalk. It still generally causes alarm and jumping about, no matter how much warning I give.


Ahem, the last sentence would be more clearly stated as “When yet I read that elsewhere when cyclists try it the pedestrians tend to move TO the left right into the cyclist’s path.” 🙂

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