Bells on bikes

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby The utility cyclist » 28 Aug 2019, 3:18pm

Mike Sales wrote:
John Holiday wrote:Just enjoyed a few hours cycling on traffic free NCN route on the Wirral. Hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians out enjoying the sunshine.
Strangely I appeared to be virtually the only cyclist equipped with a bell. All my bikes are fitted with 'Dutch style ding/dong bells,which often elicit favourable comment.
I also have a mirror,but was frequently overtaken by Roadies flying past without warning. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable.
Why are people so reluctant to fit an audible warning device? Use of a bell would certainly generate a more favourable perception among other users.
Share with care!


I find that an appropriate message can be more easily and politely delivered vocally.
I would not think of pushing past someone with only a ding, ding, I like to be sure that my message has been received before overtaking.

THIS.
Bells are just like motorvehicle horns, used as a coming through/get out the way signal and oft perceived as a negative, just slow down, say excuse me if necessary, or even give a friendly vocal "ding-ding". I can honestly say I've never found wanting a bell, not even on the busiest stretches, where you would be going at a sedate pace in any case due to other users.

And for those hard of hearing or completely deaf, they are useless, so you'd need to slow down to walking pace and tap on the shoulder or wait until there is space to get around.

pwa
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby pwa » 28 Aug 2019, 3:53pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
John Holiday wrote:Just enjoyed a few hours cycling on traffic free NCN route on the Wirral. Hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians out enjoying the sunshine.
Strangely I appeared to be virtually the only cyclist equipped with a bell. All my bikes are fitted with 'Dutch style ding/dong bells,which often elicit favourable comment.
I also have a mirror,but was frequently overtaken by Roadies flying past without warning. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable.
Why are people so reluctant to fit an audible warning device? Use of a bell would certainly generate a more favourable perception among other users.
Share with care!


I find that an appropriate message can be more easily and politely delivered vocally.
I would not think of pushing past someone with only a ding, ding, I like to be sure that my message has been received before overtaking.

THIS.
Bells are just like motorvehicle horns, used as a coming through/get out the way signal and oft perceived as a negative, just slow down, say excuse me if necessary, or even give a friendly vocal "ding-ding". I can honestly say I've never found wanting a bell, not even on the busiest stretches, where you would be going at a sedate pace in any case due to other users.

And for those hard of hearing or completely deaf, they are useless, so you'd need to slow down to walking pace and tap on the shoulder or wait until there is space to get around.

There is an art to alerting folk to your presence without seeming aggressive or starting them. I use the bell when maybe 30 metres away, but not closer than that. And I try to chat to people I pass, making the interaction friendly. I don't get hostile reactions so I think I'm getting it about right.

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mjr
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby mjr » 28 Aug 2019, 4:49pm

pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Bells are just like motorvehicle horns, used as a coming through/get out the way signal and oft perceived as a negative, just slow down, say excuse me if necessary, or even give a friendly vocal "ding-ding". [...]

There is an art to alerting folk to your presence without seeming aggressive or starting them. I use the bell when maybe 30 metres away, but not closer than that. And I try to chat to people I pass, making the interaction friendly. I don't get hostile reactions so I think I'm getting it about right.

Me neither mostly - sometimes a motorist parked on a cycleway objects but they often react in a hostile manner to a cyclist wanting to ride on their private parking space!

I suspect that those people who claim never to have had a hostile reaction to sneaking up on people and starting speaking or tapping shoulders may be slightly insensitive to other people's feelings.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Mike Sales
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Mike Sales » 28 Aug 2019, 4:58pm

mjr wrote:I suspect that those people who claim never to have had a hostile reaction to sneaking up on people and starting speaking or tapping shoulders may be slightly insensitive to other people's feelings.


Since I would not think of sneaking up on a pedestrian, and have never done so, I am afraid that I could not possibly comment on your obsession.

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby mjr » 29 Aug 2019, 4:08am

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:I suspect that those people who claim never to have had a hostile reaction to sneaking up on people and starting speaking or tapping shoulders may be slightly insensitive to other people's feelings.


Since I would not think of sneaking up on a pedestrian, and have never done so, I am afraid that I could not possibly comment on your obsession.

And yet
Mike Sales wrote:I find that an appropriate message can be more easily and politely delivered vocally.

and later claim not to shout, which means getting pretty close to be heard over the motorists.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Mike Sales » 29 Aug 2019, 8:42am

mjr wrote:and later claim not to shout, which means getting pretty close to be heard over the motorists.


Where is this hellish route, so close a continuous stream of heavy, thunderous traffic?
Would you not have to creep close behind before your bell was audible?

May I use my polite throat clearing a discrete distance behind pedestrians on our pleasant Witham Water Rail Way?

pwa
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby pwa » 29 Aug 2019, 9:25am

A good ping maybe 30 metres away often gets folk to glance backwards and see me, and closer in a cheery "Hiyaaa!" or "Mornin'" usually suffices. This is usually in a rural setting, so no road noise to contend with. The use of the bell (which has a good ding) at longer range is better than the alternative of shouting over that distance, which could easily be misconstrued as hostile. Hostile is not the impression I want to give. At the 30m range I reckon the bell gets heads to turn about two thirds of the time. So definitely helpful but not 100%.

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Bonefishblues » 29 Aug 2019, 9:45am

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:and later claim not to shout, which means getting pretty close to be heard over the motorists.


Where is this hellish route, so close a continuous stream of heavy, thunderous traffic?
Would you not have to creep close behind before your bell was audible?

May I use my polite throat clearing a discrete distance behind pedestrians on our pleasant Witham Water Rail Way?

Those boats can be pretty noisy, I expect :)

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Mike Sales » 29 Aug 2019, 10:05am

There are some wild and amusing suggestions for noise making devices on a bike here.

https://road.cc/content/forum/146740-bicycle-sounder-noise-maker-continous-aural-visibility-soundprint-hear-me

Also some varied opinions on how useful they are.
I once came across the tyre driven bell on a bike. A handlebar trigger moved a little wheel into tyre contact. The wheel drove a revolving bell striker.

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Bonefishblues » 29 Aug 2019, 10:28am

Mike Sales wrote:There are some wild and amusing suggestions for noise making devices on a bike here.

https://road.cc/content/forum/146740-bicycle-sounder-noise-maker-continous-aural-visibility-soundprint-hear-me

Also some varied opinions on how useful they are.
I once came across the tyre driven bell on a bike. A handlebar trigger moved a little wheel into tyre contact. The wheel drove a revolving bell striker.

I heard an old fashioned card strapped to the forks bearing on the spokes the other day. Turned out to be a roadie's freewheel. What a racket!

drossall
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby drossall » 29 Aug 2019, 10:33am

Bonefishblues wrote:I heard an old fashioned card strapped to the forks bearing on the spokes the other day.

I've said before that I had my first crash, as a child, because of those. One came out of the spokes. I tried to push it back with my foot, while still riding. You can guess the rest :roll:

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby mjr » 29 Aug 2019, 11:41am

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:and later claim not to shout, which means getting pretty close to be heard over the motorists.


Where is this hellish route, so close a continuous stream of heavy, thunderous traffic?
Would you not have to creep close behind before your bell was audible?

Most A-road cycleways are like that. They're far from hellish but they do get pretty noisy in the shoulder-peak (when the nearby carriageway is heavy with motorists accelerating, decelerating and braking) and still fairly noisy at peak (many motorists still do not use automatic stop-start). Such things are more common in West Norfolk (sections of A10, A148, A149, A1076, A1078 and probably others) than in South Lincs - I can think of a short bit of A52 John Adams Way in Boston and A17 Washway Road in Holbeach and Fosdyke, and a bit more of the A15 and old A46 in Lincoln, but not much.

I don't have to get that close because my bells are a higher and mixed but regular pitch, so seem to be heard more easily over engine noise than most voices. Yesterday, my bell was even heard on an A road cycleway when I tapped it gently accidentally and a road-bike rider ahead moved off the centre line on a short narrow section in case I wanted to pass - I rode up and apologised! :) Ironically, I then stopped not 100m later to speak to someone I know who was riding the other way.

May I use my polite throat clearing a discrete distance behind pedestrians on our pleasant Witham Water Rail Way?

As you know, rail trails and river trails are beautiful but rare freak routes. I ride some of each near King's Lynn, including the Fen Rivers Way and Sandringham Railway. A bell can still be heard from far further away much more easily than croaking behind someone. Personally, I'd still rather a bell, but riders having no bell is probably a lot less annoying there because they aren't going to be getting as close or bawling as loudly (and yes, some really do, as surely many of us have seen/heard? There are the cryptic "Anya Wright!" and "Coming, bye!" shouts as well as the Trigger-Happy-esque "Hel-lo!") before they're heard there - but a bell is still far better IMO.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Mike Sales
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby Mike Sales » 29 Aug 2019, 12:02pm

MJR,
I think we are getting a bit closer to agreement.
As you say, on some routes, I would say the best routes, bells are beside the point.
The human voice can easily be used at the frequencies of a bell, and at less or greater volume.
It is possible to use a bell boorishly, and to ride courteously without one.
I do not find the lack of a bell a problem even on noisy routes.
I always prefer to brake until I am sure that, by whatever means, my presence has been noted.
I do not expect to be able to ring or shout and shoot through without slackening speed.
What I am trying to establish is that it is perfectly possible to ride safely and politely without a bell.
I am a little fed up with being accused of creeping up behind people and shouting.
A boor is a boor, with or without a bell, and I am not one, and neither am I insensitive.

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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby mjr » 29 Aug 2019, 12:24pm

Mike Sales wrote:The human voice can easily be used at the frequencies of a bell, and at less or greater volume.

That's not true, is it? At least not for many bells (typical range of loud harmonic peaks up to 10kHz) and adults (typical range 80-260Hz and men will be towards the lower end of that).

It is possible to use a bell boorishly, and to ride courteously without one.

Of course, I agree that it's possible.

I do not find the lack of a bell a problem even on noisy routes.

If you mean when cycling them, then of course not - it's not a problem even for the most boorish bell-less riders! It's a problem for the likes of me, walking them with a stick, who have developed almost a nervous tick looking behind several times a minutes to try to spot fast riders approaching!

I always prefer to brake until I am sure that, by whatever means, my presence has been noted.
I do not expect to be able to ring or shout and shoot through without slackening speed.

I agree that it is rarely possible without at least coasting for a bit - to do it means maybe one person walking in the middle of a 3+m route which would be wide enough to pass a walker near one edge safely at speed and the walker to move towards a side once they become aware of the rider, which is a compromise of minimal inconvenience to both parties IMO.

What I am trying to establish is that it is perfectly possible to ride safely and politely without a bell.

And what I am trying to establish is that it is possible, rare and very constraining - so most riders without a bell do not do it, even if they do not realise it.

I am a little fed up with being accused of creeping up behind people and shouting.

And I am a little fed up with you apparently repeatedly misreading my central reason in order to take offence! As far as I can tell, there are three possibilities if you don't have a bell: 1. never encounter anyone walking on cycleways alongside quasimotorways maybe by never riding on them maybe by using even cycling-hostile carriageways; 2. creep up behind people close enough to be heard when you start speaking; 3. shout in order to be heard from further away. If you have a fourth, let's have it, but so far the description sounds an awful lot like one of 1 or 2... which is far better than option 3, of course!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Bells on bikes

Postby The utility cyclist » 29 Aug 2019, 1:38pm

mjr wrote:
pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Bells are just like motorvehicle horns, used as a coming through/get out the way signal and oft perceived as a negative, just slow down, say excuse me if necessary, or even give a friendly vocal "ding-ding". [...]

There is an art to alerting folk to your presence without seeming aggressive or starting them. I use the bell when maybe 30 metres away, but not closer than that. And I try to chat to people I pass, making the interaction friendly. I don't get hostile reactions so I think I'm getting it about right.

Me neither mostly - sometimes a motorist parked on a cycleway objects but they often react in a hostile manner to a cyclist wanting to ride on their private parking space!

I suspect that those people who claim never to have had a hostile reaction to sneaking up on people and starting speaking or tapping shoulders may be slightly insensitive to other people's feelings.


Well I totally disagree, I've never had any hostile reaction, people are always thankful for being considerate and siply showing a common courtesy, slowing down and actually just talking to someone. As for your use of the word 'sneaking', really, you live in some strange world far different from mine and most others if you think coming up to someone and simply asking them in a polite manner to briefly move aside as you might in a supermarket, as you might in the street, at the leisure centre, at work. So if yu come up to someone in the street and say excuse me that's 'sneaking' up on them is it :lol: As for it being insensitive and could get a hostile reaction, you really don't know people or don't know how to interact with people correctly if that's the reaction you get for doing that.I presume you do that because how else do you state with conviction that that is precisely how people react to being ask if you can come through/get past?

As it is I've never had to tap someone on the shoulder, but if the person is stone deaf and there is no obvious space to overtake/get past for any distance (which is extremely rare in itself) then a hand on the shoulder to say excuse me would be the only option left. I've never been in that situation but I mention it as an extreme scenario should it occur, otherwise how else are you going to communicate with someone who is completely deaf and unaware of your presence?

I can honestly say I've never heard someone state that saying excuse me to a person is sneaking and hostile/insensitive, utterly bonkers! :?