/ Cycle Bells

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Trangia - on 16 Aug 2012
There's been a lot about vehicle drivers having a "down" on cyclists. How about cyclist's attitude towards pedestrians? I was walking with group of about a dozen out on Rye Harbour bird sanctuary on Sunday. The area is banned to motorists, but there is a tarmac track going across it which is used by walkers. There are "no cycling" signs, but no one takes any notice and they are not enforced. I have no problem with poeople cycling there so long as they respect walkers - I've cycled it myself.

The problem was that time and time again cyclists would approach us from behind either with no bells, or just simple ones giving a solitary ping which is difficult to hear. This was compounded by a strong wind making hearing difficult. You can't be constantly looking over your shoulder, and it gives you a fright when out of the blue a cyclist tries to squeeze past without warning.

Most were not agressive, but one or two gave us verbal abuse.

Why isn't it compulsory for bikes to be fitted with good old fashioned "ding aling" bells which give a good polite and audible warning of their approach, and would save everyone a lot of hassel and at times unpleasantless?

I would add that I've got such a bell on my bike and it's generally well received by walkers, and is a lot better than the single ding. It's also better than shouting which tends to make people jump.
EeeByGum - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: I am always amazed by the fact that people these days seem afraid to say "Excuse me" when trying to get past. Especially on the train.
Just a bhoy - on 16 Aug 2012
Always use my bell on paths and say thanks when pedestrians give way, it's only decent manners to be honest.

....always worth slowing down and checking for wires coming out their ears though.....
Wonko The Sane - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: Sod that, I think all cyclists who start quoting 'The Rules' should have bells......... around their necks.
aln - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: Cyclists, walkers, drivers... all different groups of people and never the twain shall cross?
AlisonSmiles - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:


Hahaha. I get abuse from walkers from ringing my bell because it seems ruder than a simple excuse me and also it makes them jump. I have a bell which has a kind of genteel sound to it, not anything like an air horn. Conversely when I don't use it and use my words instead with a polite excuse me, I get grief because I haven't used my bell. And this is on bridleways and places where it's legitimate to cycle.

I just accept it is a no win situation, and best not getting hung up on it.
rallymania - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to AlisonSmiles:
i like to sneak up behind them at full speed then when about 5 meters behind them i stand up and lean right forward on the pedals and slam on the rear brake causing a massive skid from the back wheel.

i find i'm then able to simply cycle right underneath them :-)

seriously though have a "flick to ding" bell on both my bikes. a loud ding when quite far back so it doesn't scare the beheezers out them and then another ding if they haven't responded as i get closer.... my favourite though is the "older folk" (normally) who stop in the midle of the track so they can turn round and see what the noise is rather than just taking a single step to the side and keep walking
Mike Stretford - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to rallymania:
> (In reply to AlisonSmiles)
> .... my favourite though is the "older folk" (normally) who stop in the midle of the track so they can turn round and see what the noise is rather than just taking a single step to the side and keep walking

That's a good point, announcing your presence can be counterproductive.
AlisonSmiles - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to rallymania: It's also quite interesting to say bike coming through on the left and watch folk step left.
wilkesley - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to AlisonSmiles:

Bikes have to have bells when they are sold, but there is no legal obligation to keep it once you have bought the bike.

Some pedestrians seem completely oblivious to the rest of the world. I have followed people for a hundred yards gently, dinging my bell and they don't seem to hear it.
coinneach - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to wilkesley:

I find that the walkers who complain about no bells are the ones who think it's ok to allow their dogs to shit on the path.
Trangia - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to coinneach:
> (In reply to wilkesley)
>
> I find that the walkers who complain about no bells are the ones who think it's ok to allow their dogs to shit on the path.

That seems a ridiculous generalisation.

Have you got any stats to back up that contention?
coinneach - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

No

It's a ridiculous generalisation
a lakeland climber on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to wilkesley:
> (In reply to AlisonSmiles)
>
> Bikes have to have bells when they are sold

Err, no they don't. The law changed a while ago: http://www.ctc.org.uk/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=4073

ALC
Liam M - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: I have a bell that gives a single ring on my mtb. It occasionally takes a second ring before someone acknowledges it, but as I normally slow to walking pace to overtake pedestrians ( unless there is enough space that the bell isn't really needed anyway) this isn't too much of a hassle. In general I don't overtake them until I've been given some indication they're aware of my presence, ideally eye contact - if I'm off-road I'm unlikely to be particularly urgently trying to get somewhere.

I can't ever recall either having trouble passing someone or having the bell poorly received. I'm always intrigued where people find the altercations in these stories - are there just pockets of animosity I keep missing?
stewieatb on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Wrong rules. That page is about what condition a bike must be in to be ridden on the road. This one is about how it must be sold, and includes a bell:

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4072
Steve Kempley - on 16 Aug 2012
I've found bells pretty useless - not heard, ignored or resented. I aim to give pedestrians a wide berth, they can move randomly in bizarre directions regardless of bells. Calling 'hi,'scuse me' or 'hello, nice day' is better received than ringing a bell. In London traffic 'Oi' at 100dB can even be heard by rubber burning lane-cutting BMW drivers, irritated by the cyclist getting through the traffic jams faster than them.

But - I reckon us cyclists should stick to the rules of the road, try to avoid footpaths with no cycling signs, stick to roads & bridleways, stop at red lights, wear helmets .... and win the Tour de France and loads of gold medals
CarolineMc - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: Sounds like hideously bad manners but I've also had similar treatment down there along that path!

Bizarrely I was having this conversation with a friend today. I don't have a bell on my bikes, for the simple reason that it usually causes people to either stop in the path, or to look around startled and scatter leaving nowhere to pass! I much prefer the 'hello' or 'excuse me' approach, and slowing down which accompanied by the clicking hub is enough to make them aware there's a bike behind them.

Co:
John Rushby - on 16 Aug 2012
In reply to coinneach:


:)


I use a simple "hello"

Most walkers are fine, though you get the odd one that looks at you like you just raped their dog, but are happy to pat Mr Ed as he comes clip clopping past.


I once approached, nice and slow, a bunch near Clapham and the first time i said "hello" they were fine, a bit further along their mates were also fine, further along the same group and another "hi" and i got the look, and again, and again then the "get a bell" (seems a polite "hello" was not enough), then another get a bell.

The last bloke faced me down and shouted "get a bell"

So I shouted back " I fukkin will, and put it on my fukkin hat and you can call me fukkin Noddy".

I may have upset him.


I think his dog was shitting on the bridleway throughout our encounter.
MJ - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

I would much rather a cyclist give a quick tinkle on their bell from about 20 yards away, as it gives me plenty of time to ensure that the dog is nicely to heel. We all exchange pleasantries and continue on our seperate ways.
The worst thing, are the cyclists who ride at road speeds on shared facilities and then act indignantly when lurched at by dogs and sworn at by pedestrians.
Tricky Dicky - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to AlisonSmiles:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
>
> Hahaha. I get abuse from walkers from ringing my bell because it seems ruder than a simple excuse me and also it makes them jump. I have a bell which has a kind of genteel sound to it, not anything like an air horn. Conversely when I don't use it and use my words instead with a polite excuse me, I get grief because I haven't used my bell. And this is on bridleways and places where it's legitimate to cycle.
>
> I just accept it is a no win situation, and best not getting hung up on it.

Agree with this totally :-)
link - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to MJ:

Dogs generally stay out of the way of bikes in my experience, the problem comes when the owner calls it on a canal tow path and it promptly turns at 90 degrees to the path and gets run over.

There is of course the other type of dog that thinks cyclists ankles are food
adep247 - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:
Bells? You mean screaming OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT!!! all the way down because of brake failure is unacceptable? ;)
unclesamsauntibess - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Just a bhoy:
> Always use my bell on paths and say thanks when pedestrians give way, it's only decent manners to be honest.
>
> ....always worth slowing down and checking for wires coming out their ears though.....

you shouldn't be on paths.............................
unclesamsauntibess - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:
> There's been a lot about vehicle drivers having a "down" on cyclists. How about cyclist's attitude towards pedestrians? I was walking with group of about a dozen out on Rye Harbour bird sanctuary on Sunday. The area is banned to motorists, but there is a tarmac track going across it which is used by walkers. There are "no cycling" signs, but no one takes any notice and they are not enforced. I have no problem with poeople cycling there so long as they respect walkers - I've cycled it myself.
>
> The problem was that time and time again cyclists would approach us from behind either with no bells, or just simple ones giving a solitary ping which is difficult to hear. This was compounded by a strong wind making hearing difficult. You can't be constantly looking over your shoulder, and it gives you a fright when out of the blue a cyclist tries to squeeze past without warning.
>
> Most were not agressive, but one or two gave us verbal abuse.
>
> Why isn't it compulsory for bikes to be fitted with good old fashioned "ding aling" bells which give a good polite and audible warning of their approach, and would save everyone a lot of hassel and at times unpleasantless?
>
> I would add that I've got such a bell on my bike and it's generally well received by walkers, and is a lot better than the single ding. It's also better than shouting which tends to make people jump.

BBRRRRIIINNNNGGGGG<

If walkers are on a bridleway they should accept that they are second class users.............be 360 degree alert and f*ck off when asked. Approach them from behind and they make great targets. Approach from the front and a good game of chicken is to be had. FOOT paths bikes are not allowed. Streets, the same. Roads, obs are king, vehicles hurt you. Bells? Should be fitted when sold the bike, otherwise not compulsory.

Strong winds should be banned then when out alone? The using of eyes and ears needs more practice. Try it. You should be looking over your shoulder constantly in such an environment. The paths are not one way either. What about those from the front? Every rider needs a colonel bogey type noise then to make up for your lack of auditory and perceptive skills?

The world according to Trangia, life should be easy, especially for him.
Oujmik - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: I use a shared path on my route to work every day and always try to be polite and careful when passing pedestrians. I don't have a bell but I tend to use the aforementioned talking technique.

As the cyclist, there are plenty of hazards to watch out for, so it pays to ride slowly and super vigilantly on such paths. People with large backpacks tend to turn around to look at you, often thrusting their backpack into your path, dogs on those extending leads are an accident waiting to happen and small children tend to walk towards anything which they find interesting.
nufkin - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Seems to me the problem is that, as with car horns, what was originally intended to mean 'what-ho old bean, I fear you may not be aware of my presence' is generally used to shout (and even if it isn't, is understandably interpreted thusly) 'get out my f'ing way'.

Just a bhoy - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to unclesamsauntibess:
> (In reply to Just a bhoy)
> [...]
>
> you shouldn't be on paths.............................

Mixed use yah knob...
In reply to Trangia: Given that most people have a voice, with which they are able to use language, while modulating both tone and volume, a simple, cheery "Hello!" or "Excuse me!" seems far more pleasant and adaptable than a bell.
edinburgerboulderer53 on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: Anyone else have the problem on their bike of either lights or bell? I do, and depite living in a city and a bell being really useful to warm folks, the lights win every single time.
Sorry a minor complaint with my lovely bike :)
ads.ukclimbing.com
edinburgerboulderer53 on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to edinburgerboulderer53: *despite, warn
Ross McGibbon - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Isabel........
Rigid Raider - on 17 Aug 2012
Don't forget that older walkers might not be able to hear a bell, which is quite high-pitched.

Many walkers are elderly.
Mike Stretford - on 17 Aug 2012
wilkesley - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Submit to Gravity:

The problem with using your voice is that when you are approaching them from behind, they are unlikely to hear you unless you shout, or are very close to them. Either of those two possibilities is likely to startle, rather than just warn them of your presence.

However, whatever you do some people just won't notice you. This afternoon I was cycling slowly along my local canal towpath. I rang my bell about 3 times with increasing loudness at a woman walking her dog. She stepped off the path, so I assume she had heard me. However, when I passed her she jumped about three feet in the air and clearly hadn't heard me. Even worse the stupid Jack Russell proceeded to chase me.
mikehike on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

I was a mad cyclist in my teens and early twenties. Used to zoom past pedestrians on the disused railway lines.
Then due to injury gave it up and started walking.
Now im 45 year old and back on the bike. I cant do it know.

When cycling past from behind I slow right down, if its narrow I say excuse me. When on single track ie footpath that I should not be on, or just unmarked single track, head on walkers tend to move aside. But im more than prepaired to get off and let the walker past. I always slow and say thank you. As a walker I would tend to do the same for on coming cyclists. I would never use a bell, wind people up imho.

Im grateful at the amount of walkers that just step aside when they have the right of way.

My bro inlaw as a walker will not step aside for cyclists, at all, no way. EVER.
We were both once walking side by side across a field near the beach where the council had cut a channel through the long grass the width for 2 people, it was not a marked path. An oncoming cyclist just rode straight into us assuming we would step aside. The bro in law rolled up his sleeves and pushed him of his bike and threatened to put his trekking pole down his throat.

The cyclist thought we were gay and a load of insults followed as he got back on his bike! His girlfriend was in tears due to our violent actions.
John Rushby - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to mikehike:

There's a lot going on in that post.

digby - on 17 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

When I'm running, on a wide track, please don't ring your bell! It's confusing and annoying and I'm likely to move into your path. Don't know why, it's an automatic reaction. Just cycle by! I'm running so not likely to suddenly deviate from my direction unlike pedestrians, who can spontaneously turn 90.

'Coming by on your left/right' would be ok if the track is narrow.
ClayClay - on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:
My bell broke, so now just shout 'Ding Dong'. Certainly makes some old dears' day. Sometimes get an odd look if the walkers are a couple out on a romantic jaunt. At least I haven't run anyone down yet.
subalpine - on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to ClayClay: i find shouting 'are you going all the way?' sometimes raises a smile;)
a lakeland climber on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to ClayClay:

Presumably that's a Leslie Philips "Ding, dong!" ?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV0lKD3KPsc

ALC
ClayClay - on 18 Aug 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber: Of course.
Lord of Starkness - on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia:

We were riding fairly rapidly down past Barnacre Church today, and a large car had thoughtfully stopped blocking most of the road whilst the Driver was engaging in conversation with a group of walkers who were blocking the rest of the road.

We shouted a warning as we approached at speed (one middle aged gentleman appeared almost to shit himself as he jumped out of the way). One lady walker chastised us for not having bells on our bikes, to which we politely replied " not blocking the road and watching for approaching traffic might have been a more sensible course of action -- ding ding!)

Trangia - on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

And the point of your story?

Other than to demonstrate that your tollerence level towards a group of people who have inadvertantly blocked your speeding way appears to be rather low to the extent that you are prepared to frighten a middle aged gentleman and boast about it on here?

Or does your Lordship always expect the yokels to scatter on your approach?
MG - on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to Trangia: When walking I find bells always sound agressive (like a car blowjng its horn at a cyclist) and when cycling I find them unhelpful as walkers willl tend to jump and scatter unpredictably. Cyclists should give way to walkers so best to slow down and simply say excuse me.
elsewhere on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to Lord of Starkness:
Wouldn't it have been much more considerate to use your brakes and say "excuse me, you're blocking the road"?
Lord of Starkness - on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to elsewhere:

It may have been - however our time to react was extremely limited, and a warning shout was the most appropriate action we could have taken. Whether they would have heard (or taken any notice of ) a bell is debatable as they were being totally inattentive and engrossed in conversation with the driver. Despite the group consisting of half a dozen walkers none of them appeared to be looking up or down the road to warn others of approaching traffic.

It's not like we were a bunch of young tearaways -- our average age was approaching threescore plus ten - with over 50 years of serious road riding experience each!
elsewhere on 19 Aug 2012
In reply to Lord of Starkness:
Sounds like a shout was much better than a bell and you weren't being anti-social. Sorry.
Lord of Starkness - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to elsewhere:

No problems -- We try to be considerate - and generally try to give walkers as much time and room as we'd give horse riders. When we are in a large group there are generally lots of hand signals and warning shouts from the front of the peloton to warn riders at the back of approaching hazards -- and also shouts from the rear when we are aware that a motor vehicle wishes to overtake on a country lane.

One twunt in a 4wd nearly had us in the hedge yesterday ( we were riding in single file) when he insisted on overtaking at speed along a single track lane that is barely wide enough for a small car to safely pass a cyclist.
Sir Chasm - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to Lord of Starkness: Perhaps the bloke in the 4wd didn't think you should be blocking the road, or perhaps his time to react was limited, perhaps he was older than you and had lots of serious driving experience.
Lord of Starkness - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Naaah -- he was just an impatient twunt taking a short cut -- the lane had a 20 limit - (and we were doing that) - was signed as being prohibited to motor vehicles except for access and is part of the national cycle network.
fruteborce - on 20 Aug 2012

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.