The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

BJL
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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby BJL » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:29 am

Az0r_au wrote:Or walk along one with loud headphones in to simulate being unable to hear the bell. It's spooky.


Might be spooky from a cyclist's point of view but it seems to be completely normal for most other people. A while ago, I passed a pedestrian on the Dandenong Creek path (just near the basketball stadium near the freeway). As I passed, the pedestrian pulled the earbud out of his idiot ear and told me I should have rang my bell, to which I slowed almost to a stop and informed him that I had rang my bell, TWICE, along with a few loudly mumbled swear words.

Then a few months ago I passed a group of three elderly ladies on the Darebin Crk path. I rang the bell and one of the ladies looked back and saw me. Thinking all was okay, I rode past, when a second lady told me I should ring my bell to which the first lady told her that I had. I thanked her and moved on. The third lady did nothing and as far as I could tell, was completely oblivious to the goings on around her. Maybe she didn't want to get involved, lol.

And then there are pedestrians who are completely zoned out and don't 'hear' bicycle bells anymore. It's like their brains have been trained to simply ignore it.

So what do you do?

Most times I ring my bell. And I always thank pedestrians who acknowledge me. Those that don't I always treat with a little more caution and usually ring my bell a second time. Even at the risk of sounding like 'get out of my way'. It's too bad if pedestrians think that because it's not my intention.

In the OP's case, I think the main issue was that the OP doesn't appear to have warned the pedestrian either by bell or voice that he was passing and she was unaware of the OP until the other riders rang their bells, presumably from some distance behind. And was then startled to have the OP right there all of a sudden.

In the case of prams, I usually slow to a crawl and use my voice to warn of my presence. A bell might wake up a sleeping baby. But you still need to give a warning that you're approaching.

What's really annoying is having two or three mothers with prams walking side by side taking up the entire path without any intention of letting you past. Whilst cyclists have to 'give way' to pedestrians on shared paths, they're called 'shared' paths for a reason and pedestrians have a level of responsibility to ensure they don't block the path for other users. But luckily, this doesn't happen to me very often.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:34 am

find_bruce wrote:
Howzat wrote:You should have rung your bell. It means "bike approaching". The walkers who don't know what it means will pick it up if more people on bikes would ring their bells in good time, instead of trying to ride by silently.

If you're not convinced pedestrians prefer to hear bells from people on bikes - take a walk on a shared path!

That would be from the big book of made up rules. Apart from anything else a bell is entirely useless for those hard of hearing, whether due to old age or because they are an iPlod
...
My warning device is a horn at ~130dB & no I do not use it merely because I am passing a pedestrian. I always pass safely & for the most part quietly. If there is a need to communicate with another person I find my voice to be far more effective


True it's a "made up rule", but it's a reasonably well accepted convention. Most pedestrians seem to appreciate it, and that's certainly what my mother, who is fairly old and an avid walker, says. So do I, on the rare occasions I walk on a shared path - silent close passes are scary. So I agree with Howzat - in the situation which began this discussion, ringing the bell well back was the best option.

Yes a bell is useless for those hard of hearing, but so is anything else. So if a pedestrian does not move over, and there's not a lot of room, then the cyclist has no real alternative but to slow down to pass. That's ok. But at least the use of the bell means I don't have to do it often.

If you find your voice suffices, then great. But for me, it's hard to call out without my voice sounding unfriendly. Bells have quite a friendly sound, in my opinion.

[p.s. does anyone use an Ipod anymore? :) I know my (young adult) kids don't]

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby find_bruce » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:15 am

AdelaidePeter wrote:True it's a "made up rule", but it's a reasonably well accepted convention. ...
Sorry but your anecdotal experience does not match mine. Most days I ride along one of the busiest shared paths in Sydney - something like 1,400 cyclists use it every weekday. Less than 1% use a bell when passing. Yes I am aware of collisions, but these are the result of cyclists crashing into pedestrians or cyclists coming towards them rather & a bell won't fix that.

The busiest shared path in Sydney is probably Pyrmont Bridge & I have never heard anyone use a bell

AdelaidePeter wrote:[p.s. does anyone use an Ipod anymore? :) I know my (young adult) kids don't]
Not iPod, i Plod "To walk along in oblivion to one's surroundings whilst listening to music via headphones."

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:17 am

BJL wrote:In the case of prams, I usually slow to a crawl and use my voice to warn of my presence. A bell might wake up a sleeping baby. But you still need to give a warning that you're approaching.


If their baby is such a light sleeper that a bell will wake him/her up, they shouldn't be walking the baby outside at all. I did many kms pushing a pram, and there's always some sort of background noise, and I don't recall it being a problem. So unless your bell/horn is extremely loud, use it for a parent with a pram as you would for anyone else.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby P!N20 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:50 am

BJL wrote:A bell might wake up a sleeping baby.


I took my kids for walks/sleeps beside train lines, never woke up once.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby BJL » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:09 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
If their baby is such a light sleeper that a bell will wake him/her up, they shouldn't be walking the baby outside at all. I did many kms pushing a pram, and there's always some sort of background noise, and I don't recall it being a problem. So unless your bell/horn is extremely loud, use it for a parent with a pram as you would for anyone else.


P!N20 wrote:
I took my kids for walks/sleeps beside train lines, never woke up once.


Just trying to be polite anyway, especially on quiet shared paths. :)

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Bentnose » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:39 pm

I find ringing the bell even from quite a long way back can cause some pedestrians to jump up in a mad panic, do they do that every time someone rides past? My pet peeve is when you ring a bell with 2 people side by side and they each cross over to the over side negating anything they have done.

I had a funny situation once when there were 3 people walking side by side coming towards me, taking up the whole path, I decided not to bell and just rode slowly up to them and stopped on the LHS, the women on my side nearly walked into me and exclaimed shocked surprise as she wasn't looking where she was going at all, which is quite common. I generally always bell.

I had an older gent tell me off for not ringing my bell, which was odd because he had just turned around and looked right at me, I also passed him at barely above walking pace.
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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Howzat » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:16 pm

find_bruce wrote:Most days I ride along one of the busiest shared paths in Sydney - something like 1,400 cyclists use it every weekday. Less than 1% use a bell when passing.

The busiest shared path in Sydney is probably Pyrmont Bridge & I have never heard anyone use a bell.


Well, obvs.

But people here are having trouble deciding whether its better to ring your bell, to try for the "silent pass" - really a non-dilemma to which the answer is to ring your bell ahead of time.

People *hate* being surprised by silent things sneaking up on them - it's unpleasant to experience, and every one you leave in your wake is that much more likely to agree with (and vote for) cyclist-hating politicians who pass laws increasing fines for not having bells.

If you do get that rare someone who "panics" when they hear a bell and jumps into your path - good. Stop and let them know they are entitled to keep walking and why that's the opposite of what they should have done, thereby making it even rarer - your public service for the day.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby find_bruce » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:44 pm

Sorry Howzat I will not be going around telling people how they are meant to behave in response to a made up rule

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby mtb1011 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:45 pm

as a regular bike path commuter, its better to silent pass for a few reasons.

you maintain control over situation, ringing bell or calling out can result in 'some' walkers turning into your path. by alerting walkers you are potentially creating actions that are unpredictable.

walkers frequently have headphones in (some riders as well wt)- alerts useless then.

on paths with bike traffic, most walkers accept bikes will pass.

you don't blow your horn to pass another car when driving do you?

cyclists, give distance, look ahead approaching riders/walker don't pass.

finally its give way to all peds no matter where they are on path, kids, must take wide berth, dogs, same treat as unpredictable. if in doubt take greatest distance option.

have you ever had a parent tell the kids riding up front there's a bike coming? what do the kids do? Look over their shoulder and ride into opposite lane, human nature to look.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:08 pm

mtb1011 wrote:as a regular bike path commuter, its better to silent pass for a few reasons.

you maintain control over situation, ringing bell or calling out can result in 'some' walkers turning into your path. by alerting walkers you are potentially creating actions that are unpredictable.
...


What sort of width bike path are you talking about?

For me, a very common occurrence is two people walking abreast on a path roughly 1.5 - 1.8 metres wide. Then my alternatives are (1) pass them by centimetres and pray the right hand side person doesn't deviate (which is obviously the worst option); (2) pass very slowly (but even at low speed, it needs to be a pretty close pass, which can be annoying); or (3) ring my bell a fair distance back. I almost always do (3), and almost always they happily move over. If they don't, I pass slowly.

If I can leave more than about a 1 to 1.5 metres, I don't bother ringing. But obviously that is only possible on path at least 2 or more metres wide. Which is why I wonder whether we're giving different answers because we're talking about different width paths.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby mtb1011 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:26 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
mtb1011 wrote:as a regular bike path commuter, its better to silent pass for a few reasons.

you maintain control over situation, ringing bell or calling out can result in 'some' walkers turning into your path. by alerting walkers you are potentially creating actions that are unpredictable.
...


What sort of width bike p........t width paths.
if it looks too tight, back off and pass slower or simply hit some grass on left for wider overtake. we have white lines down path so most of the time walkers are to left of the white line.

if obvious path blockers, chaos kids etc, then its off path pass, that's the reality of riding in shared environments, must be prepared to be flexible.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby find_bruce » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:37 am

Haven't we come a long way since 1889 when some idiots in Adelaide decided that bicycles must continuously ring a bell large enough to be heard from 50 feet. The rule was short lived however as cyclists complied with the law by fitting the loudest bells they could find & setting them to ring via a wheel driven spring

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:58 am

^^^ :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ^^^

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby tez001 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:51 pm

find_bruce wrote:
The busiest shared path in Sydney is probably Pyrmont Bridge & I have never heard anyone use a bell


You'd be ringing your bell the entire length of Pyrmont Bridge. I rarely use it on Pyrmont Bridge, only if I can see something up front that I want to warn the pedestrians of - such as 8 people walking across with no way to get past.

Normal riding, I'll use the bell in similar scenarios, such as when there is a dog on a leash or when two people are walking side by side. I dont want to give pedestrians (or other cyclists for that matter) close passes. Thats what annoys people and dinging when you are right up will scare some people. Ringing the bell at a distance should be done (same as what AdelaidePeter mentioned above)

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Jmuzz » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:39 pm

If people would just follow the road rules (even if not all applied to shared paths) there would be no issues.
Keep left unless overtaking.
Overtake in righthand lane, don't split lane.
Indicate before turning right, or look, and/or hook turn.

Belling every overtake is like Horning every overtake in a car. Completely unnecessary if people follow lane protocols.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby BJL » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:51 pm

Jmuzz wrote:If people would just follow the road rules (even if not all applied to shared paths) there would be no issues.
Keep left unless overtaking.
Overtake in righthand lane, don't split lane.
Indicate before turning right, or look, and/or hook turn.

Belling every overtake is like Horning every overtake in a car. Completely unnecessary if people follow lane protocols.


Not sure I really agree with that. Sounds good in theory but the reality of shared paths is a little different to that of roads.

Motor vehicles are fitted with mirrors and most drivers (I hope) are aware of what's around them on the roads. Firstly and most importantly, drivers don't want precious to be scratched or otherwise damaged, be without it while it's repaired and deal with the costs involved and secondly, they don't want to be injured or killed. Although these days with airbags and auto this and that, they generally expect the car to save them and to hell with everyone else.

Shared paths on the other hand, many pedestrians walk around like chooks with their heads cut off, completely oblivious to anything around them. They don't see the dangers of walking on shared paths, despite often writing into newspapers and various online social media complaining how dangerous cyclists are on shared paths. If only pedestrians on shared paths had to wear helmets to reinforce how dangerous many pedestrians and pedestrian lobby groups claim it is, the problem would largely disappear. :wink:

Of course, no one in Australia seems willing to admit that motorists pose a far greater threat to cyclists on the roads than cyclists will ever do to pedestrians on shared paths, because in Australia the laws of physics simply don't apply. The laws of idiocy and corruption reign supreme here.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:23 pm

BJL wrote:
Jmuzz wrote:If people would just follow the road rules (even if not all applied to shared paths) there would be no issues.
Keep left unless overtaking.
Overtake in righthand lane, don't split lane.
Indicate before turning right, or look, and/or hook turn.

Belling every overtake is like Horning every overtake in a car. Completely unnecessary if people follow lane protocols.


...
Shared paths on the other hand, many pedestrians walk around like chooks with their heads cut off, completely oblivious to anything around them.


Another point is that shared paths are usually not especially wide, and the average pedestrian is almost as wide as a cyclist. What this means is that it is often impossible for a pair of pedestrians to walk side by side without blocking a good proportion of the path, let alone a larger group. And it is not reasonable to expect pedestrians to keep to the far left in single file, unless they are walking alone.

But it seems to me that allowing for bells is a win-win. Pedestrians like to walk side by and socialise, but most of them are also willing to move a little to let a bike pass without having to slow down.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Jmuzz » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:53 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
Another point is that shared paths are usually not especially wide, and the average pedestrian is almost as wide as a cyclist. What this means is that it is often impossible for a pair of pedestrians to walk side by side without blocking a good proportion of the path, let alone a larger group. And it is not reasonable to expect pedestrians to keep to the far left in single file, unless they are walking alone.


The point is that they should never be walking in both lanes of a shared path.
Treat it like a road, driving down the wrong side of a road is completely unacceptable unless overtaking.

If the path is wide enough for two abreast in their half road lane then fine.

That's the difference between a shared path and a footpath.
Shared path is wide enough (at most points besides some bridges etc) for it to be divided into a dual direction road and that should be respected just like real roads.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby hamishm » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:19 am

Jmuzz wrote:he point is that they should never be walking in both lanes of a shared path.
Treat it like a road, driving down the wrong side of a road is completely unacceptable unless overtaking.

You're joking, surely. Pedestrians should move when alerted to the presence of a bike, sure, and I think they should be considerate on a busy path used by commuters. But there's lots of paths designed more for recreation than transport and it's unreasonable to expect pedestrians not to walk side by side.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby hamishm » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:20 am

I just bought my first bell for my road bike, after a low speed collision with a pedestrian and then the ground last week. He went to exit the shared path to the right without looking just as I was overtaking him. From now on I will make more of an effort to alert people before passing them.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby antigee » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:11 pm

as a dog walker: I quite like a ring on a bell from some distant back - either get the mutt to heel or if off lead the usually dumb thing has managed to learn to sit and wait when told to as a cyclist passes (locally dog off leash areas and shared paths are oddly the norm and dog off leash areas not that common)
on some shared paths cyclists aren't actually that frequent outside of peak commute hours - can walk for 20mins or so on sections of the Gardiners Creek path and Anniversary Trail (SE Melbourne) and maybe only 1 or 2 cyclists pass and I rather know they are coming than have a whoosh past my elbow

cycling: ring bell a bit back for elderly people, families, to get the rolling road block prams to one side and say thank you, anyone wandering around a bit or engrossed in phone walking down middle of path....
don't bother for joggers or any walker with headphones that I can pass wide and they seem well to left
use bell less on busy sections as walkers are expecting cyclists to pass

one reason I'm sure many people seem to hate cyclists is that they've been aggressively taught as kids by their parents that cyclists are dangerous - ring your bell as you approach a family group and kids are violently grabbed and moved out of the way even when slowed to pretty much walking pace and the problem is the random adults crisscrossing the path not the kids ;-)

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Az0r_au » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:25 pm

Jmuzz wrote:If people would just follow the road rules


On a lot of bike paths atleast where I live, there is signage requiring cyclists to bell when approaching.

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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby Bentnose » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:16 pm

Az0r_au wrote:
Jmuzz wrote:If people would just follow the road rules


On a lot of bike paths atleast where I live, there is signage requiring cyclists to bell when approaching.


There are also usually signs indicating that dogs should be on a leash (rarely happens) and walkers (and riders) should stay left (generally okay).
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Re: The age old question. To bell or not to bell? (pedestrians).

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:28 pm

Bell followed by a verbal "thank you"/smile or a wave usually does the trick.

However, pedestrians are usually in the mindset of encountering other folks that are also at walking pace. So if out of the blue a bike passes even at a slow bike pace it is still a shock to their system. I reckon two "double rings" of the bell gives them a better perspective of the pace of the approaching bike.

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