Bell gripe

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Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:47 am

Begin vent.

On my usual 10km commute to work today (Niddrie -> Parkville, in Melbourne), at about 5:40 am I was passing a construction site and a truck was parked right across the bike lane (no probs here, he was just waiting to turn into the site).

As I approached the truck, I had a look over my shoulder and started to move out. Suddenly out of nowhere comes a flash of red and white spandex - I saw the other cyclist just in time and barely avoided a collision. This guy had decided that silently passing me with about 30cm of clearance on my right would be a good idea just as I was approaching a truck which was straddled across the bike lane.

So I pursued, hoping for a red light so I could have it out with the guy. Surely enough, I got my wish. So I ask him, do you know how close I came to hitting you back there? And he reassures me, don't worry about it could happen to anyone. He thinks this is my fault? I start to tell him that he ought to ring his bell as he passes someone like that, and I notice how sublimely stylish and bell-free his handlebar is. Now he's saying something about, when you do as much riding as I do ... I have a Show me how to do it right moment. Me; you need to stop trying to be so cool and get one of these dorky things, ding-ding.

The moral of the story is, spandex does not = experience. I'm doing ~80km a week, solo, in traffic; all wearing shorts and a fluoro singlet - no ballet gear. I am almost killed on a daily-weekly basis - excuse me, but riding with a pack of 20 on the weekend (while I'm sure it has its moments) is not the same as fending for yourself on a commute in heavy traffic; so don't bother counting pack riding as traffic experience.

If you are going to commute, get a f***ing bell, and ring it to let people know you are going to pop up unexpectedly. You can even take it off on the weekends so the other boys don't tease you and hurt your feelings. Nobody will tell them that during the week you are packing an ungainly mantelpiece.

Please, it's enough that we have to deal with so many bad drivers.

End vent.
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by BNA » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:56 am

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Max » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:56 am

+ lots. I think BikeSnob said it best when he said, "Cycling's enemy is not the car; it is the idiot. And idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle". Sounds like you just met an idiot. :(

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:28 am

Max wrote:+ lots. I think BikeSnob said it best when he said, "Cycling's enemy is not the car; it is the idiot. And idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle". Sounds like you just met an idiot. :(

Max


Awesome quote.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby m@ » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:09 am

Sound like he should have read the situation better - it's definitely good practice to give an audible warning (calling 'bike passing right' etc is at least as good as ringing a bell IMO) and given more clearance if passing at speed.

However, it is up to you to check that the lane you are moving into is clear before changing lanes. 'He came out of nowhere' sounds an awful lot like what smidsy motorists say when they fail to shoulder-check (or fail to see a bike right in front of 'em ;) ).
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby 318ute » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:23 am

BrownOnionThighs,
mate I hear you loud and clear and have had similar issues, I commute 40kms per day now and that's almost ever working day and I have had similar drama's.
There was a thread elsewhere on this forum about passing and giving some warning either bell or audible "passing" or "On your right" and it's interesting the varied responses.. :!:
Bottom line as stated, it's not just motor vehicles we have to worry about but in my opinion the 60-70% of cyclists who have little idea of some kind of ettiquette when passing a fellow road user. :shock:
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:31 am

m@ wrote:Sound like he should have read the situation better - it's definitely good practice to give an audible warning (calling 'bike passing right' etc is at least as good as ringing a bell IMO) and given more clearance if passing at speed.

However, it is up to you to check that the lane you are moving into is clear before changing lanes. 'He came out of nowhere' sounds an awful lot like what smidsy motorists say when they fail to shoulder-check (or fail to see a bike right in front of 'em ;) ).


Fair enough, but ...

I did head-check. But in a head check, I'm not looking directly behind me, or behind and to the left of me - I'm not looking at the lane I'm in, I'm looking at the lane I'm going to. There's plenty of unsighted space behind me for a bike to be sitting in. And that's where this guy must have been.

If I was in the habit of moving from the bike lane to the road without head-checking, I would be a long faded, ruddy stain on the bitumen, not a disgruntled poster.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby simonn » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:24 am

BrownOnionThighs wrote:I did head-check. But in a head check, I'm not looking directly behind me, or behind and to the left of me - I'm not looking at the lane I'm in, I'm looking at the lane I'm going to. There's plenty of unsighted space behind me for a bike to be sitting in. And that's where this guy must have been.


I didn't see him your honour!

Do you expect motor vehicles to sound their horn in the same circumstance?
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby msn » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:45 am

simonn wrote:
BrownOnionThighs wrote:I did head-check. But in a head check, I'm not looking directly behind me, or behind and to the left of me - I'm not looking at the lane I'm in, I'm looking at the lane I'm going to. There's plenty of unsighted space behind me for a bike to be sitting in. And that's where this guy must have been.


I didn't see him your honour!

Do you expect motor vehicles to sound their horn in the same circumstance?

Different for a bicycle.
NSW RTA bicycle riders handbook wrote:Bell or horn
A bell or horn enables you to let pedestrians
and other cyclists know you’re around – this
is particularly useful when overtaking.

Under the NSW Road Rules, your bicycle
must be fi tted with at least one working bell
or horn, or a similar warning device.

Are there similar recommendations from VicRoads?
BrownOnionThighs, imo you do have a legitimate gripe. If I was approaching you from behind: observe truck, rider ahead (who head checks), think best option is to slow down and proceed with caution and overtake when safe. I'm one of the "passing / on yer right" types - usually have no probs at all.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby simonn » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:20 am

msn wrote:
NSW RTA bicycle riders handbook wrote:A bell or horn enables you to let pedestrians
and other cyclists know you’re around – this
is particularly useful when overtaking.




Firstly, this is not a road rule. There is nothing in the NSW road rules stating that you must give an audible warning when overtaking when controlling any vehicle. Recommendations like this are, IMHO, dangerous because they lead to an expectation that the recommendation will be used when, as it is not required, may not be and therefore should not be expected. If it is important it should be a rule. If it is not a rule then you should have no expectation of it happening.

Secondly, there is no indication that BrownOnionThighs indicated his lane change. This is required under NSW road rules.

Thirdly, again, there was no proper head check.

Sure, the whole situation could have been avoided by being nice, i.e. the overtaker could have noticed the situation ahead and reacted as you stated - which is more than likely what I would have done, but if you are going to go legal about it, make sure you are correct.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:28 am

I've never heard of the "passing on your right" thing - certainly nobody's ever made that call around me - but that's as good as a bell. And preserves the cool Spartan handlebar look ;P

Next time, instead of criticising the lack of bell I might yell out "How about a 'passing on your right'? *expletive* *expletive*!". :)
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:44 am

simonn wrote:
msn wrote:
NSW RTA bicycle riders handbook wrote:A bell or horn enables you to let pedestrians
and other cyclists know you’re around – this
is particularly useful when overtaking.




Firstly, this is not a road rule. There is nothing in the NSW road rules stating that you must give an audible warning when overtaking when controlling any vehicle. Recommendations like this are, IMHO, dangerous because they lead to an expectation that the recommendation will be used when, as it is not required, may not be and therefore should not be expected. If it is important it should be a rule. If it is not a rule then you should have no expectation of it happening.

Secondly, there is no indication that BrownOnionThighs indicated his lane change. This is required under NSW road rules.

Thirdly, again, there was no proper head check.

Sure, the whole situation could have been avoided by being nice, i.e. the overtaker could have noticed the situation ahead and reacted as you stated - which is more than likely what I would have done, but if you are going to go legal about it, make sure you are correct.


Interesting point. I do try to play it defensive out there - and if that's how other riders are thinking (i.e. just doing that which is legally reqd of them), I should look out for it.

As far as the head check is concerned, I feel that it was proper. But you can only expect to see so much. A bike can be approaching you from behind and to the left, and then swing around you to the right at the last second - you'll never see that coming with a head check.

And it's fine to stand behind the law and say that you were not technically in the wrong; but I'm 103kg and am riding a heavy mountainbike and if I hip and shoulder this little guy on a 10g racer he'll be the one who gets sent flying into the traffic. For me it's annoying and unnerving, the real danger this morning was for the other guy.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby jules21 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:07 pm

i'm firmly of the view it is the responsibility of the passing rider to warn a rider in front, when passing them. as others have pointed out, you don't need a bell, a simple "passing!" will do.

wearing lycra obviously does not make you an expert. i had a guy in pro team gear and full carbon steed come round a bend towards me on the Capital City Trail in melbourne yesterday, cutting over on the wrong side of the track. nice skillz d*******d.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Fletcher » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:22 pm

Hear hear. IMO they're a necessity when commuting. It's amazing how many pedestrians thank me for giving them a warning before overtaking on paths. The bike I bought last weekend doesn't have one just yet - need one for oversize bars. "Passing on the right" is too many words to yell when overtaking peds, they just get confused and are likely to jump anywhere, even right into your path. I've been yelling "ding ding!" instead. They get the message.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby rearviewmirror » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:37 pm

Just like there are stupid car drivers, there are stupid cyclists. Just like buying lycra and a carbon road bike doesn't make you a good rider, the same that a Ferrari won't make you a good car driver. You came across an inconsiderate jerk, look around, the world is full of them.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:54 pm

BrownOnionThighs wrote:I've never heard of the "passing on your right" thing - certainly nobody's ever made that call around me...

I say it all the time. I usually follow it by a "Good Morning!" or "Good Afternoon!" as I pass. I mostly get the same back as a response too. If I pass slowly enough I might also add in a "beautiful weather for riding!" - because in Perth, it usually is :mrgreen:
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Fletcher wrote:Hear hear. IMO they're a necessity when commuting. It's amazing how many pedestrians thank me for giving them a warning before overtaking on paths. The bike I bought last weekend doesn't have one just yet - need one for oversize bars. "Passing on the right" is too many words to yell when overtaking peds, they just get confused and are likely to jump anywhere, even right into your path. I've been yelling "ding ding!" instead. They get the message.

"Bike passing" is a bit more direct.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby simonn » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:19 pm

jules21 wrote:i'm firmly of the view it is the responsibility of the passing rider to warn a rider in front, when passing them. as others have pointed out, you don't need a bell, a simple "passing!" will do.


Your view < the law, by a long way.

Relying on a "passing!", "ting ting" or "honk honk", however polite it may be, is dangerous precisely because it is not the law, ergo there is absolutely no requirement for a passing rider do do it.

And, you do need a bell (or other noise maker) because it is the law (yes, I have one on my roadie).
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:54 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
BrownOnionThighs wrote:I've never heard of the "passing on your right" thing - certainly nobody's ever made that call around me...

I say it all the time. I usually follow it by a "Good Morning!" or "Good Afternoon!" as I pass. I mostly get the same back as a response too. If I pass slowly enough I might also add in a "beautiful weather for riding!" - because in Perth, it usually is :mrgreen:


Any chance we could swap some of that weather? I've got 5 months of drizzle coming up that I'm looking to offload.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Aushiker » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:09 pm

simonn wrote:And, you do need a bell (or other noise maker) because it is the law (yes, I have one on my roadie).


Hi

So do and I don't use it that often nor find the need to; I prefer to rely on my riding skills (gained from riding in groups and do weekly mileages well in access of 80 km) and I wear spandex :)

The worst "near miss" I have had in three years of riding was caused by a rider on a mountain bike or flat bar (can't remember the bike details now) wearing a safety vest. He came off the bike path without looking straight into two lanes of traffic travelling at around 70 km/h. I was part of that traffic on the road and had to take avoiding action which put me perilously close to being cleaned up a car in lane 2. My point? Stupidity has nothing to do with wearing spandex.

Mind you that incident and others have made me guilty of considering riders in safety gear as suffering "Volvo driver syndrome" and therefore I treat them as a high risk.

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby BrownOnionThighs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:50 pm

Aushiker wrote:
simonn wrote:And, you do need a bell (or other noise maker) because it is the law (yes, I have one on my roadie).


Hi

So do and I don't use it that often nor find the need to; I prefer to rely on my riding skills (gained from riding in groups and do weekly mileages well in access of 80 km) and I wear spandex :)

The worst "near miss" I have had in three years of riding was caused by a rider on a mountain bike or flat bar (can't remember the bike details now) wearing a safety vest. He came off the bike path without looking straight into two lanes of traffic travelling at around 70 km/h. I was part of that traffic on the road and had to take avoiding action which put me perilously close to being cleaned up a car in lane 2. My point? Stupidity has nothing to do with wearing spandex.

Mind you that incident and others have made me guilty of considering riders in safety gear as suffering "Volvo driver syndrome" and therefore I treat them as a high risk.

Regards
Andrew


I don't mean to put crap on the spandex set, some of my best friends wear spandex :)

My point was that when he opened up with the condescending "When you do as much riding as I do ..." line he was assuming that I was a noob because I wasn't in pantomime costume.
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby simonn » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:16 pm

BrownOnionThighs wrote:My point was that when he opened up with the condescending "When you do as much riding as I do ..." line he was assuming that I was a noob because I wasn't in pantomime costume.


Maybe his assumption was based on the fact that you changed lanes right into his path?

(What sort of rider am I if I wear lycra AND a flouro commuter jersey of dorkness?)
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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Aushiker » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:14 pm

simonn wrote:(What sort of rider am I if I wear lycra AND a flouro commuter jersey of dorkness?)


hi

A dangerous one? :)

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Boognoss » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:17 pm

Aushiker wrote:
simonn wrote:(What sort of rider am I if I wear lycra AND a flouro commuter jersey of dorkness?)


hi

A dangerous one? :)

Andrew


Dang, I'll put my hand up to being dangerous 5 days a week. ;-)
n = 3 for now

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:39 pm

A possible view into lycraboys mind.

"Flouro vest, no lycra. Check.
Mountain bike. Check.
He's slow, I'll zip past him easy."

Anybody who thinks blindly following the law is all that's needed to be safe on the roads better have health insurance and a decent life policy.

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Re: Bell gripe

Postby Aushiker » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:08 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Anybody who thinks blindly following the law is all that's needed to be safe on the roads better have health insurance and a decent life policy.


Hi

I don't think that is being suggested, however, making a significant move to the right without signalling is at best risky.

There are road rules for a reason ... and this one is there to communicate one's intention.

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