I Think We Need To Bring Back Bicycle Bells

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by PennyS, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. PennyS

    PennyS Member

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    Some of you will remember how bikes used to come with a little mechanical bell on the handlebar? I think we need to bring those back.

    For much of my commute I need to ride on the sidewalk as the roads are too narrow and frankly dangerous. There are not many pedestrians and many have earphones in. I try to let them know I am coming but often end up startling them because they only hear me at the last minute.

    That old bell would be easily recongiseable if everyone used it, easy to hear even over music, and a nice neutral sound. Where do you think i could get one?
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Any bike shop whether physical or online will have a selection of bells. From traditional chrome to aluminium alloys.
    In some places, having one on the bike is actually mandatory.

    Riding on the sidewalk is often illegal.

    Even if it weren't, I rather ride on the road.
    Cars may have more capacity to do damage, but drivers are generally a lot more predictable and law abiding than pedestrians.

    I've had a LOT more incidents with pedestrians than with cars.

    What you FEEL is dangerous might not actually be particularly risky.
     
  3. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with dabac.

    Bob
     
  4. PennyS

    PennyS Member

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    You mightwant to ride on a super-narrow four lane Chicago downtown feeder road popular with 18-wheeler delivery trucks. I prefer to keep my head attached to my body. The local cops seem to feel the same way as they see bicyclists on the pavement all the time and have no problem with it. (There simply is not room for a truck to pass a bike on this road without touching it. I know this from experience.)
     
  5. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    @PennyS, do you belong to a local bicycling club? If not, consider joining one. You can get a lot of good information on biking there. Probably you'll learn of good routes you never knew about. That is true for myself, since I joined the Washington Area Bicycle Association.

    Bob
     
  6. BikeBikeBikeBike

    BikeBikeBikeBike Well-Known Member

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    Bring back? They never left bud.
    You can buy an assortment of not only bells but other noise makers like horns.
    Where I live you are actually legally obligated to have a "sounding device" on your bike (as well as lights) or your can risk a ticket.
    Now granted most police don't enforce this very rigorously, they mostly use it as a pretense to pull over sketchy looking bikes.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Hear, hear.

    The shop where I work does have a pretty wide selection of bells. Unfortunately, none of them fit 31.8 mm handlebars.

    The company that markets the bells we have does make one with a universal clamp. I've been hounding our buyer about this. To no avail.
     
  8. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Bike bells have their place.

    I was in Holland recently. Any of you who have visited that country know that the Dutch love to cycle and their pathways and cycle lanes are so proximate that a bell is essential to keep pedestrians aware of passing cyclists.
     
  9. niightwind

    niightwind Member

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    Where I live I haven't seen any bikes aside from children's that have a bell attached, nor have I seen a section for selling them, so I don't think this thread is as ridiculous of a notion as some of you are making it out to be. There is no law where I live that enforces a sounding device; no one uses one, and biking in the city is very dangerous. You can't assume every place has the same regulations for biking as yours. Where @PennyS lives there may be no regulation at all to help cyclers drive more safely. I know there isn't any helpful regulations where I live, that's for sure.

    The sidewalk thing is a whole other issue; yes riding on a side walk is illegal in most places I know of, but you can't decide the roads where Penny lives are safe based on your own roads. The roads in my city are very dangerous, with people completely ignoring the biking lanes and driving through them, even if they notice someone trying to get into them on a bike. I've even seen drivers roll down their windows and tell people on bikes to get off the road.

    There's a lot of assumptions about the reasons PennyS made this thread going on here.
     
  10. GemmaRowlands

    GemmaRowlands Member

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    You can definitely still get these, however I don't believe that they are legal requirement, and I believe that they should be. They should come fixed on every bike, and manufacturers should make it so that people can't take them off - as this means that they wouldn't be able to get rid of them. It can be a life saving device, because there are lots of times when you're cycling on the road when you need to make other people aware that you're there, as it can be difficult for cars to see cyclists when they are riding close to them. So bells are completely essential, and something that you should think about if you don't already have one.
     
  11. Keyan

    Keyan Member

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    I almost got hit by a bike while I was walking with my eyes fixed on my phone texting. I know I am guilty there but something is needed to get my attention like a bell I must say. I am not blaming the guy solely because I also have the responsibility to be aware of what is happening and stay alert at all times especially when I am out in a busy street.
     
  12. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I had a bell on the road bike for some time.

    It was quite useful on the bikepath for "disoriented" pedestrians.

    Btw there was a video that was showing the effect of different bike bells on pedestrians. From the normal ding dong bell to the pressurized air horns.

    Simple bells had the best effect in notifying pedestrians to the presence of a bike. The electronic, pressurized air etc seemed to be confusing as to what the sound was.

    And some humour: :D

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDdQyEFL_jQ
     
  13. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    Pardon me for laughing, hahahaaa. That bell was not in fashion anymore when I learned biking. But I have seen that in old bikes, the shiny silver bell that you press to produce the ringing sound. Well, that became the standard of bread vendors. You find them in the afternoon, the bread vendors with their big bikes and a big round can at the back that is full of bread of different varieties intended for afternoon snack. And they let the public know of their presence by ringing that bell. So when you use that here, I'm sure people will tease you that they will buy bread.
     
  14. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

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    Actually, I was thinking about this other day when I was driving through town. Most pedestrians seem to be completely switched off or listening to music and have their ears covered by earphones/headphones. Others are even walking around while looking at their smart phones, without a care in the world. I've had too many close calls with pedestrians lately that I think I should get myself a bicycle bell.
     
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  15. b3rniemac

    b3rniemac New Member

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    I've had people complain that I don't have a bell, when I'm cycling on tow paths around the country. Personally, I think it is rude to slowly cycle behind someone and ding a bell at them, saying "excuse me" has the same effect and you don't have to ruin the look of your bike by attaching a bell.
     
  16. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    You gave me another laugh with that excuse me, hahahaaa. Seriously though, I also see that problem when I'm biking inside our village. When there are people walking on the street, I have to let them know that I'm coming behind them especially when those walking are children. That's one of the problems here in our village, the sidewalks are gone, mostly used by commercial establishment for their own purpose so the people walk on the side of the road.
     
  17. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I almost hit a pedestrian on my ride to work today. He walked out into the road, no crosswalk, no signal, with his eyes fixed on the pavement six feet in front of him. This is getting common with Boulder pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists alike. Motorcyclists and professional drivers (taxis, buses, and semis) seem to be the only ones paying attention now.

    He jumped back and apologized at the last minute.
     
  18. Khatib22

    Khatib22 New Member

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    They could be brought back, but I just believe that they have the stigma of being "childish." Most children's bikes come equipped with one and for the most part they just spam it rather than using it as a useful tool. Maybe a smaller version of a car horn could be equipped on bikes to alert nearby people that there is a bike?
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I think you're nuts! This has nothing to do with whether or not bells are childish, the fact is bells are almost entirely worthless, they can't be heard over the drone of cars, it takes a hand to operate it instead of using a brake to stop or slow down faster, and my loud mouth is much louder than any bell. What's really weird is that some states still live in the 40's and require bells to be on bikes, but they don't enforce it.
     
  20. Susimi

    Susimi Well-Known Member

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    Bells are still around, just a lot of people chose not to use them.

    Anyway having a bell won't make much difference if you're approaching someone with earphones on. A lot of earphones these days have buds designed to block out outside sounds, so they likely still won't hear you until you're right on them. An air horn might be a better option...
     
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