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

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:56 am

This old question came to the fore the other day when I was approaching (from behind) a woman pushing a pram on a very quiet shared path.

There were three of us cycling together, not particularly fast (prolly only 15 - 20 km/h) and the woman was walking nice and straight in the (marked) left hand side of the path. There were no turns or exits or anything nearby, so my instinct was to pass at a relatively slow speed and not to bother with the bell. We were all single file and there was plenty of room on the other side of the path.

As I was just about to pass, the two other cyclists (behind me) both started belling and the woman immediately changed tack, from going nice and straight on the left to a sudden movement to the right of the path. It was a near miss for me, but I was going quite slow by this time anyway. Then I looked back and the other two riders were tangled up with her, no actual impact fortunately, but just the three of them all stopped in a bunch.

The woman (who didn't say anything but looked like she mightn't have spoken much/any English anyway) looked pretty pissed off. My guess is that she simply assumed that all the belling must have meant that they wanted her to move out of their way. That is, that they wanted her to do something different to what she was presently doing. In fact, of course, they wanted her to keep doing as she was but just to warn her that they were passing.

Just wondering if people here routinely bell all peds that they are about to pass on shared paths, or only ones that are on the wrong side or somehow behaving erratically?
Last edited by uart on Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby NASHIE » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:12 am

As per your actions, slow for peds, but no bell required. The mad ding ding ding that some riders do, just sounds like a ‘ get out of my way i’m coming through’ :?

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

Postby Duck18 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:25 am

As I approach I slow to enable me to stop if required. I ring the bell along with a loud and clear statement " Passing on your right". The bell and the statement seem to work 80% of the time. My reduction of speed and ability to stop quickly covers the other 20% (these are mostly due to hearing impaired pedestrians, either due to being elderly or having headphones in!)

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

Postby LateStarter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:36 am

Never bell, always "good morning/afternoon, lovely day..., passing on your right..." and if necessary ride off the path and pass , belling is always interpreted as aggressive , my voice carries 10 times further than a puny bell tink, tink, my voice can be modulated and has a large range of pre programmed situational options, my voice leaves my hands free for steering and braking, the obsession with bells seems to originate with non-riders, I have one, somewhere on the bike to placate the dark force. And while I am generally a (self assessed) nice person I occassionly get "didn't hear your bell" to which I reply, but only for younger smart arses, "don't worry, hearing loss is normal when you get older"

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:50 am

NASHIE wrote:As per your actions, slow for peds, but no bell required. The mad ding ding ding that some riders do, just sounds like a ‘ get out of my way i’m coming through’ :?

Yeah, particularly when there is a large group (as I sometimes travel in) and they all start belling at the same time.

One problem however, is that these days some peds get upset if you don't bell them. I've even seen one or two become quite aggressive over this.

The above seems to be a relatively recent thing though. I only really noticed a surge in this behavior after recent anti cyclist roads minister here in NSW (Duncan Gay), massively increased penalties for cyclists and there was a lot of publicity at the time about cyclists being required to have a bell.

I think some of this reaction is just an anti cyclist thing - were some people will take any opportunity that they can to jump on any perceived misdeed that they can find with a cyclist. They know it's the law that a cyclist must have a bell, so they assume that it's the law that they must use them when passing, and can become aggressive if you don't.

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

Postby NASHIE » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:04 am

I find the ‘where’s your bell’ comes from older gents on occasion. And get the impression even if you did bell them, all would get is a dirty look.
I guess the older generation spend more time walking and getting shaved by cyclist wears thin, so we are all the bad guys. Let them have a rant and move on.

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

Postby NASHIE » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:14 am

And the worst riders are the ones you pass, then they wheel sux you and do the mad ding ding dinging. I just drop them or wave them past and give them a good 20/30m just idiots

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

Postby g-boaf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:07 pm

NASHIE wrote:I find the ‘where’s your bell’ comes from older gents on occasion. And get the impression even if you did bell them, all would get is a dirty look.
I guess the older generation spend more time walking and getting shaved by cyclist wears thin, so we are all the bad guys. Let them have a rant and move on.


Sometimes you just have to stop and have a conversation with them. I always slow down and call out that I'm passing. I never just ding a bell and assume everyone will move out of the way like some of the more vocal proponents of bells.

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

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:28 pm

I don't bell, I slow and say.......just coming past. :wink:

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

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:33 pm

uart wrote:As I was just about to pass, the two other cyclists (behind me) both started belling and the woman immediately changed tack,


The problem, most likely, is that they rang their bells too late, when they were too close to the woman. The trick to bell use is to do it well back, both to not startle the pedestrian, and to give plenty of time to react, if necessary.

I usually ring my bell for pedestrians. The exception is if the path is wide and they are walking very predictably. I'll always ring my bell if it's going to be a fairly close pass.

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:38 pm

NASHIE wrote:I find the ‘where’s your bell’ comes from older gents on occasion.


That's interesting. I've almost exclusively seen that reaction in younger (young to middle aged) pedestrians.

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

Postby Ross » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:03 pm

I ding my bell, most times, giving plenty of notice while slowing and moving to their right as far as possible. 90% of the time it seems to be received well.

I didn't ding my bell one time coming up behind a guy walking his (unleashed) dog and he had a go at me for not ringing the bell and informing me it was the law to do it. I stopped and "challenged" him back saying I shouldn't have to ring the bell if his dog was leashed and not wandering all over the path, you know, like the law says it should be. The coversation just kept going around in circles and neither of us were seeing the other's POV (so that may of made me as bad as him? My view was my "crime" of not ringing the bell was more minor than letting his unleashed dog poop everywhere and potentially get under my wheel/attack me/other path user) so I just kept riding. I did see him again a couple of days later and I (childishly :lol: ) made sure to ring my bell loudly and multiple times as I was coming up behind him. Received some filthy looks in return. C'est la vie.

For some reason a high number of Asian people don't react to the bell (not wearing headphones/earbuds), but don't get startled when I pass. I think maybe it is in their culture to have cyclists (and possibly motorists) ride/drive close to them in the countries where they are from. Though not all of these Asian people would be born o/s, a number would be born here in Austtralia and possibly never been to their parents' home country to know what the culture is like, so I have probably just debunked my own theory!

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:08 pm

My understanding of the law is that you are required to ring the bell to "warn of danger". The law however does not spell out exactly what does and doesn't constitute such a danger. I'm pretty sure that that a regular pass, at a safe speed, with the ped on the other side of the track, is not necessarily such a scenario.

I'm not sure if it is still the law now, but when I first got my car license in 1977, it was still the law that you were supposed to sound your horn before passing any other vehicle. It was the law, but my driving instructor said that nobody does it, and I shouldn't do it either.

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:18 pm

Ross wrote:For some reason a high number of Asian people don't react to the bell (not wearing headphones/earbuds), but don't get startled when I pass. I think maybe it is in their culture to have cyclists (and possibly motorists) ride/drive close to them in the countries where they are from. Though not all of these Asian people would be born o/s, a number would be born here in Australia and possibly never been to their parents' home country to know what the culture is like, so I have probably just debunked my own theory!


Not singling out Asians (though they are included), but in some suburbs were I ride that there are a lot of people from overseas, it bugs the crap out of me that they always walk on the right hand side of the track.

In some cases, when they are coming towards me, I just move over to the wrong side (my RHS) of the track to pass them. Others times however, when I'm not feeling so accommodating, I just slow down but stay on the correct side of the track riding slowly right towards them. You know what, almost invariably when I do this, they don't react by moving to the correct side of the track (their left). Instead they move further and further to their right hand side (my left) and when I keep on coming they eventually step completely off the side of the path to let me through - and then give me a dirty look as if to say "why did you just deliberately run me off the track. Every time - seriously!

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

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:44 pm

uart wrote:In some cases, when they are coming towards me, I just move over to the wrong side (my RHS) of the track to pass them. Others times however, when I'm not feeling so accommodating, I just slow down but stay on the correct side of the track riding slowly right towards them. You know what, almost invariably when I do this, they don't react by moving to the correct side of the track (their left). Instead they move further and further to their right hand side (my left) and when I keep on coming they eventually step completely off the side of the path to let me through - and then give me a dirty look as if to say "why did you just deliberately run me off the track. Every time - seriously!


The law, at least in SA, is that cyclists are required to always give way to pedestrians on a shared path. So in the situation you describe, you should pass on the right.

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

Postby LateStarter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:51 pm

uart wrote:My understanding of the law is that you are required to ring the bell to "warn of danger". The law however does not spell out exactly what does and doesn't constitute such a danger.


No the NSW regulation says "Bicycle riders must not ride a bicycle that does not have at least one working brake and a fully functioning bell, horn, or similar warning device" but does not mention any circumstances as to when or how it must be used, silly silly law
Last edited by LateStarter on Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby StevOz » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:20 pm

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Make that 3 years plus..

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

Postby uart » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:43 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:The law, at least in SA, is that cyclists are required to always give way to pedestrians on a shared path. So in the situation you describe, you should pass on the right.


Hi Peter, to obey that law it is only necessary that I don't run into the pedestrian, it is not necessary that I move to the wrong side of the path to do so. Remember I said that I slow right down, I can stop if necessary, and I WILL NOT run into them. But if it comes to me stopping then they will have to go around and I can remind them while doing so that in Australia we stay on the left.

Think of a similar situation with a pedestrian and a car. The pedestrian is walking in clear visibility down a long straight road directly in the path of an oncoming car. The pedestrian can see the car coming but keeps on walking towards it. The driver cannot run over the pedestrian, but neither are they compelled to cross to the wrong side of the road either. Simply slowing and/or stopping is enough.

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

Postby Az0r_au » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:44 am

uart wrote:As I was just about to pass, the two other cyclists (behind me) both started belling and the woman immediately changed tack, from going nice and straight on the left to a sudden movement to the right of the path. It was a near miss for me, but I was going quite slow by this time anyway. Then I looked back and the other two riders were tangled up with her, no actual impact fortunately, but just the three of them all stopped in a bunch.


Your friends were ringing their bells wayyyy too late. Do it when you're still 5-10 seconds away from the pedestrian. This way they won't be startled because the noise is far enough away and they have enough time to see you and move out of your path (and reign in any dog leashes etc)

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

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:31 am

uart wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:The law, at least in SA, is that cyclists are required to always give way to pedestrians on a shared path. So in the situation you describe, you should pass on the right.


Hi Peter, to obey that law it is only necessary that I don't run into the pedestrian, it is not necessary that I move to the wrong side of the path to do so. Remember I said that I slow right down, I can stop if necessary, and I WILL NOT run into them. But if it comes to me stopping then they will have to go around and I can remind them while doing so that in Australia we stay on the left.


I'm not sure there is a law telling pedestrians which side to walk. I don't see the point of all this, when you can just ride around them.

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

Postby uart » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:34 am

AdelaidePeter wrote:I'm not sure there is a law telling pedestrians which side to walk. I don't see the point of all this, when you can just ride around them.

Yeah I know it sounds petty, because it totally is. :mrgreen: And it's not something that I regularly do, but every now and then I get pee'd off and want to make a point.

I'm not talking about crowded paths where people are everywhere either, I expect it then. I'm talking about riding along a long straight path, with marked lanes, in broad daylight, and the only two people on the track are me and Mr Dumbass. Him 200m away and walking straight down the wrong side of the path towards me, looking at me all the way. I slow down and give him a ton of time to move to the correct side of the path, but there is just no way that he can figure that out.

Pedestrians walking on the wrong side of shared paths with marked lanes likes that are a total nuisance. They are a nuisance to both cyclists and to other pedestrians.
Last edited by uart on Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby uart » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:45 am

Az0r_au wrote:Your friends were ringing their bells wayyyy too late. Do it when you're still 5-10 seconds away from the pedestrian. This way they won't be startled because the noise is far enough away and they have enough time to see you and move out of your path (and reign in any dog leashes etc)

You are totally correct there. This is where a sufficiently loud bell is important. Too far back and they wont hear it, too close and they don't have time to react. But speed is an important factor here too, the slower your speed then the more time for pedestrians to react. Sometimes on busy paths you just have to ride slowly.

In this case however I think that my two friends were a little further back than I had anticipated. I was probably 20m ahead of them and about 5m behind the pedestrian when they started belling. That meant that about 1 or 2 seconds later, just as I was passing, she started moving rapidly to the wrong side of the track.

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

Postby Howzat » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:53 pm

uart wrote:I was probably 20m ahead of them and about 5m behind the pedestrian when they started belling. That meant that about 1 or 2 seconds later, just as I was passing, she started moving rapidly to the wrong side of the track.


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!

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

Postby Az0r_au » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:02 pm

uart wrote: But speed is an important factor here too, the slower your speed then the more time for pedestrians to react. Sometimes on busy paths you just have to ride slowly.


Totally agree. Plus you give yourself the best chance of avoiding any potential accident if they DO decide to act eratically.

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


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

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

Postby find_bruce » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:08 am

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

Despite popular opinion you are not required to have a bell but a "warning device", which may be a bell but can also be a horn or similar. There is no legal requirement to use it at any time but it is an offence to use it unnecessarily. This is primarily because unnecessary use takes away any impact as a warning.

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.

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