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26 Comments on "When a Bike Bell Rings…"

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Although many perceive it as rude, I find that the single most effective (as well as cheapest) way to alert peds and cars is to give quick, loud yelps. I learned it from a messenger from NYC named Skeletor.


The bell in the automobile is a great idea. People wave at me in my velomobile and I use my wheel-well mounted bell in response, but the AirZound2 is for motor vehicle drivers. My wife’s factory electric Rav4EV is so quiet that we had to arrive at a different solution from the horn, which was an electric trolley bell. It’s great fun to be behind neighborhood walkers who don’t hear her arrival and to press the bell button. Instead of an angry pedestrian, she gets a smile and they move out of the way.

John Romeo Alpha

Drivers here are usually cocooned in air conditioning, music, and cell phone distraction, but once in a while a loud, intense yell breaks through enough to stir some slight response. OTOH my dinger bell sometimes scares the bejesus out of pedestrians, similar to an unexpected grunt from a Sasquatch right behind you in the middle of a quiet wood, so I make a half-hearted attempt to judge their skittishness on approach, and if they look more like a shaky kitten than a bold race-walker, I will sing out “bicycle” in a friendly tone, which only occasionally startles the shaky kitties.


I use the bell or my voice 90% of the time (I find a good yell quite effective in many traffic situations, and it is MUCH faster than going for even a convenient, bar mounted, solution). The Airzound is great, though, for the really hairy situations of cars that are clearly not looking… presuming I had warning and saw it coming. I also have been known to use it on rare occasions when pedestrians just ignore my bell. I feel badly, sort of.

Rondi Watson

I pretty much use my bike bell for one reason – to greet people when I’m riding through neighborhoods. Kids definitely notice it, even if no one else does.