Not using a bell



ambal

Active Member
Oct 15, 2010
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Why is it that so many cyclists fly past walkers on shared paths without using a bell or sounding any warning at all. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?

The few times I use a shared path, I will at least warn walkers by yelling out 'passing' as I approach, it's not that hard.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
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NE Indiana
I don't use bells nor will I ever! And why should I? You ring a bell on a bike path and instead of the person moving to the right so you can go by they move to the left right into your path. These dopes don't know their left from their right! And they don't know how to drive cars because if they did they would move to the right as they would if they were driving a car. So I just yell, my voice is louder then any bell and it's free. I yell "On your left", then of course they still don't know their left from their right and about half will move to their left. So if I'm riding on a path and I see someone walking on the right side of the path I no longer warn them and just sneak by on their left because it's safer, because if I yell on your left they will about half the time move to their left and then your hitting the brakes. But on a shared path I don't fly by them at 35mph either, I slow down to about 10 when people are near me.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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ambal said:
Why is it that so many cyclists fly past walkers on shared paths without using a bell or sounding any warning at all. Why aren't more cyclists using bells or something to warn others?
The few times I use a shared path, I will at least warn walkers by yelling out 'passing' as I approach, it's not that hard.
I don't use a bell. I give a loud "on your left". I imagine you see a lot of cyclists doing the wrong things for the same reasons you drivers and pedestrians doing the wrong things: for whatever reason they're either not aware of their surroundings, they not aware that their behavior/actions can have bad effects (read: dangerous) on others, or they just don't care about such things or about others around 'em. People--no matter whether they're on their bikes, in their cars, or are walking--can be careless idiots. Welcome to the human race.
 
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sitzmark

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Jan 12, 2010
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Most shared paths in my area are marked (signs and painted instructions on trail) to orient walking/running against the flow of wheeled traffic. Signs instruct walking on left side of path and bicycling on right. As long as people pay attention to the signage, foot traffic has a clear view of what is coming at them.

Obviously not everyone can read, but most who are disturbed by wheeled traffic flying past them eventually figure out the game. Those who don't care about approaching traffic from the rear are free to express their defiance. For those who can't read, don't observe others, and are frightened by traffic approaching from the rear ... there's only so much that can be done. Buy 'em a brain and forget the bell. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif .
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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Not shouting or indicating your presence = pedestrians, slower bikers react randomly 10% if the time.

Shouting, bell, indicating your presence = pedestrians, slower bikers react randomly 80% of the time.

Shouting, bell, air horn, flashing lights while following slowly looking for an opportunity to pass + pedestrian with ear/head phones = no reaction for a 1/4 mile 90% of the time.

Keep your distance.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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sitzmark said:
Most shared paths in my area are marked (signs and painted instructions on trail) to orient walking/running against the flow of wheeled traffic. Signs instruct walking on left side of path and bicycling on right. As long as people pay attention to the signage, foot traffic has a clear view of what is coming at them.
Obviously not everyone can read, but most who are disturbed by wheeled traffic flying past them eventually figure out the game. Those who don't care about approaching traffic from the rear are free to express their defiance. For those who can't read, don't observe others, and are frightened by traffic approaching from the rear ... there's only so much that can be done. Buy 'em a brain and forget the bell. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif .
Just as many of the cyclists need brains.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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maydog said:
Not shouting or indicating your presence = pedestrians, slower bikers react randomly 10% if the time.
Shouting, bell, indicating your presence = pedestrians, slower bikers react randomly 80% of the time.
Shouting, bell, air horn, flashing lights while following slowly looking for an opportunity to pass + pedestrian with ear/head phones = no reaction for a 1/4 mile 90% of the time.
Keep your distance.
It was looking like a useful thread, and then people started responding. It appears the cyclists might be worse than the pedestrians after all.
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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Sorry to disappoint, but I am just sharing my experience.

Walkers, runners, skaters will continue to walk, run and skate if you do not let your approach be known - but that will usually also tick them off. If you announce yourself (usually "on your left"), however, I have had people: move left, move right, freeze, wobble, threaten to call the police, fall over and scream in terror, even though this is the more courteous maneuver. You can scream your lungs out and not get the attention of someone with earphones. So sometimes when I am riding alone, I slow a bit, put my hands on the brake levers and pass to the far left as possible without announcing when I deem that this safe. In a group we always announce and let them know there are lots of riders.

Always slow and make room.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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It was very warm today and there were many people out on the path I rode on. I yell "on your left" or ring my bell but almost every walker had headphones on, so they did nothing when I approached. One day last year the National Park Service passed out free bells to riders in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC. They say we are required to have them and use them.

I think we have to consider that these are multi-use trails used by a wide variety of people and we bikers cannot expect to go real fast on them and still be safe.
 

Dave Cutter

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Jan 15, 2012
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Originally Posted by AlanG .

..... One day last year the National Park Service passed out free bells to riders in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC. They say we are required to have them and use them.

I think we have to consider that these are multi-use trails used by a wide variety of people and we bikers cannot expect to go real fast on them and still be safe.
Yesterday I was cycling on a path that quickly became completely blocked with three young women with strollers. They entered the path from a dirt path off of a residential street. I was nearly at a track-stand when one lady finally saw me and apologized. I really didn't mind... and told them so. Although if I hadn't seen them and had hit a stroller... I would have likely woke up in that nightmare the rest of my life.

I don't have a bell or horn. Sometimes I yell a warning: Just a plain "Bicycle". But mostly I only yell when someone is walking a dog (I don't trust dogs). Sometimes I say good morning.

The trails/paths that I use have a speed limit of 20 MPH which I think is mostly observed... at least in the areas close to city's and town where people often walk. If bells are or were to be made a requirement... then... I most certainly will have and use a bell. Maybe it's something I should consider anyway... even without a requirement.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Dave Cutter said:
 
Yesterday I was cycling on a path that quickly became completely blocked with three young women with strollers. They entered the path from a dirt path off of a residential street. I was nearly at a track-stand when one lady finally saw me and apologized. I really didn't mind... and told them so. Although if I hadn't seen them and had hit a stroller... I would have likely woke up in that nightmare the rest of my life.
 
I don't have a bell or horn. Sometimes I yell a warning: Just a plain "Bicycle". But mostly I only yell when someone is walking a dog (I don't trust dogs). Sometimes I say good morning.
 
The trails/paths that I use have a speed limit of 20 MPH which I think is mostly observed... at least in the areas close to city's and town where people often walk. If bells are or were to be made a requirement... then... I most certainly will have and use a bell. Maybe it's something I should consider anyway... even without a requirement.

 
 
np
 

sitzmark

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Jan 12, 2010
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I walk and skate the same trails that I cycle. There are rarely any major issues that I see or experience. I'm with maydog - hands on levers, adjust speed to conditions and pass with care / judgement. With a little common sense, bells and call-outs can be unnecessary- I reserve call-outs for people demonstrating unpredictable behavior, or situations that require passing in close proximity.

Those ahead have the right of way, so they dictate my actions. If it becomes necessary to pass within close proximity (or others are blocking the trail) then slowing to their pace generally requires shifting and freewheeling, which will alert them to my presence (providing they aren't wearing headphones). When the situation changes and passing is appropriate, then I do so. If it's been necessary to follow a person/group for a distance, then I do announce my intention to finally pass and thank them for yielding as I go by. Seems to work...even when approaching those who haven't a clue how to share a path. .
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by sitzmark .

... adjust speed to conditions and pass with care / judgement. With a little common sense, bells and call-outs can be unnecessary
This is my approach too. One thing I have been witness to recently are some riders who "buzz" errant joggers, pedestrians, etc. who are walking in or the cycle lane. I suppose it's in an effort to scare the foot traffic with a close call to make them think twice about deviating from their lane. Ironic but it's exactly the thing we despise some motorists for doing. Under these circumstances trying to teach someone a lesson can quickly evolve to tragedy.

As far as alerting foot traffic, the Zipp 188 cassette body that came with my 101's is super loud. A quick backpeddle seems to alert folks for quite someways down the road, which begs the question... do loud pipes save lives?
 

RyanScribner

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Mar 22, 2012
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My method works well, I usually wait til I am 10 feet away and I will say "On Your Right" and most will move.
 

Dave Cutter

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Jan 15, 2012
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Originally Posted by RyanScribner .
.... I will say "On Your Right" ....
On your left? I generally pass to the left of most people on the pathes. Although from time-to-time I do see a person using the left side of the lane while walking.
 

rawhite1969

New Member
Oct 19, 2009
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as long as we are doing something to alert the walkers. I walk with my wife on the trail i also ride on, and nothing worse than this one guy who comes by us at full speed, in the drops, no warning. Even though I'm looking for traffic from behind, he seems to sneak up on us. IMO, shared trails are for walkers, joggers, and casual bike rides, unless it is a time when foot traffic is really, really light. Riding with any speed is safer on a road with cars then on a path with walkers, dogs, and kids (the last two should both be on a leash).
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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I wouldn't be caught dead with a bell on my bike, though I have considered one of those aerosol sports horns...

Like some other have said, I shout a warning if the pedestrian or cyclist I'm about to pass looks like they're wandering, otherwise, I just zip by giving them as much leeway as is safe and practicable. Mostly, though, I avoid riding on multi-use trails, and stick to paved, lightly-traveled country roads whenever possible.
 

RyanScribner

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Mar 22, 2012
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Well, at the time I am on the right side of the road, therefore saying on your right makes them realize I am behind them. For some reason, on my path "On Your Right" is what everyone says even though "On Your Left" makes more sense.... Hmmmmm....
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,707
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NE Indiana
Originally Posted by RyanScribner .

Well, at the time I am on the right side of the road, therefore saying on your right makes them realize I am behind them. For some reason, on my path "On Your Right" is what everyone says even though "On Your Left" makes more sense.... Hmmmmm....

That's weird. I treat the bike path as I would driving a car in the street, I pass on the left and the pedestrians and other cyclists need to go to the right. What's really great is when you yell on your left they move to the right then look back and move to the left after seeing that you were on the left! Or they move left so you try to pass on the right which I hate doing, then they suddenly move back to the right! Or they split, half of the crowd goes right and the other left, then some from one half decide they want to go to the other half and vice a versa! That's why if I can sneak pass them without them knowing I'm there it's sometimes safer.
 

AlanG

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Dec 26, 2010
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These are the guidelines for one of the main trails around where I live. (Capital Crescent Trail - Washington DC area.) There are little boxes that have a map and this info. listed. Other trails have similar guidelines sometimes there are posted signs along the trail. How many are aware of them or follow them is another story. My observation is that many hikers and almost all runners wear headphones.

From http://www.cctrail.org/index.html
Please follow the safety tips below:
All Users:
  • STAY ALERT, turn off your iPOD
  • Stay to the right
  • Do not block the trail when stopping
  • Do not block the trail by going 3 or 4 abreast
  • Look behind you from time to time
  • Pass only after looking behind you
  • Pass only after a loud warning
  • Pass only on the left
  • Pass only if you have a 2 foot clearance
  • When dark, wear reflective clothes
  • When dark, carry a light
  • Yield to others when entering the trail
  • Yield to others at crosswalks
  • STOP at stop signs, they indicate dangerous cross car traffic
Parents:
  • PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN, keep them to the right!
  • Do not let your children ramble freely across the trail
  • Stay immediately behind or to the left of your children
Bikers and Bladers:
In addition to the above:
  • Keep safe, reasonable speed
  • Adjust speed to trail congestion and surface conditions
  • Be predictable
  • Wear a Helmet
  • Warn with a loud bell, whistle or voice at least 2 seconds BEFORE overtaking someone
Hikers and Walkers:
  • TURN OFF your iPOD
  • Do not read while on the trail
  • If warned before being passed, call out "Thanks for the warning"
  • If NOT warned before being passed, politely call out "Please warn before passing"
Pet Owners:
  • Keep your pet on a very short leash (required by law!)
  • Keep your pet to the right
  • Treat your pet as you would a child