Bikes and Bells

One accessory that I think every bike commuter needs is a bell. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just loud enough to make the ringing sound so people can see you and get out of the way. It’s basically courtesy and help avoid crashes between a rider and pedestrians who share the same path. One of my favorite bells is the Planet Bike Courtesy Bell. It comes in either Brass or Silver and only costs $8.99. I like this bell because it’s pretty small and it doesn’t take too much space on my handle bar, yet it’s enough to be heard.
courtesy bell
For the most part people are conditioned to move out of the way when they hear a bell. Just check out this Japanese video where a guy walking from behind rings a bell and you’ll see the reactions of the pedestrians.


14 Comments

  1. Micheal January 10, 2013 7:05 am 

    What video?

  2. BluesCat January 10, 2013 7:16 am 

    I suppose, if I lived in New York, I would get some kind of “token” bell just to satisfy the legal requirement.
    .
    Living in Arizona, I don’t have bells or horns on my bikes. I doubt if any of the pedestrians or motorists I encounter would hear them: the motorists all have their windows rolled up and their air conditioning going full blast, and the pedestrians all have iThingie buds embedded in their ears.
    .
    The only thing which has worked for me is to glide up slowly behind some person afoot whose iGarbage toys have eliminated their ability to hear much of anything in the real world … and do my best imitation of a Zombie Apocalypse Victim Scream.

  3. Graham January 10, 2013 7:49 am 

    BluesCat, you are much too nice! I ring my bell like I’m supposed to, but if they can’t hear me because they have iThingies in their heads well then that’s simply too bad if they are startled and spastically trip into a ditch when I pass them with inches to spare.

    I did my part!

  4. RL Policar January 10, 2013 7:56 am 

    oops, video is up!

  5. Not the Slowest January 10, 2013 9:18 am 

    I commute in about 44 miles round trip.I have a bell on my bike, because its the law, more than I find it effective. If I am on a Greenway the bell can be effective. On streets with cars and pedestrians I do MUCH better at Shouting to “Look Up”. Cars will not hear 99.9% of any horn, bell or airhorns unless you are on top of them. Keeping my hands on the brakes is more important than hitting the bell. I really do not want to remove my hands from the brakes to “Bing” someone.

  6. Walter Lees January 10, 2013 12:02 pm 

    The best bell I have found is available at AMAZON. It is Crane Suzu Lever Strike Brass Bell. It is 13.99 and a super crafted brass bell with steel mounting. It is solid and the single ding is the loudest bell I have ever heard. It beats bringggg bells hands down. Check it out. People literally leap out of the way. And it is pretty. It is made in Japan, not China, not that I’m prejudiced. I have had more Chinese bells break while taking them out of the shrink wrap than I care to admit. There are two versions. My brass one and a steel one. The reviews say the brass one is louder and clearer sounding than the steel one and I believe it.

  7. Ted Johnson January 10, 2013 2:16 pm 

    BluesCat recycles a comment he left on Commute by Bike:

    I don’t have bells or a horns on my bikes. I doubt if any of the pedestrians or motorists I encounter would hear them: the motorists all have their windows rolled up and their air conditioning going full blast, and the pedestrians all have iThingie buds embedded in their ears.

    The only thing which has worked for me is to glide up slowly behind some person afoot whose iGarbage toys have eliminated their ability to hear much of anything in the real world … and do my best imitation of a Zombie Apocalypse Victim Scream.

    BUSTED!

  8. Ghost Rider January 10, 2013 2:53 pm 

    Ha! We’ve known all along that BluesCat is a “double dipper”, but that’s ok with us!

    I second the Crane bell recommendation. Truly musical, and built like a tank.

    Bells used to be the law in Tampa, but it was repealed a few years ago.

  9. BluesCat January 10, 2013 3:11 pm 

    Uh, oh. Ya got me.
    .
    Yeah, when ya get to be 62, it gets difficult to think up new, and different, ways of addressing the same subject. (Yer energy is better spent out riding the bike!)
    .
    So, when something ya wrote is Oscar material for Best Script … YA DO A REMAKE!
    .
    (Notice how cleverly I included a nod to current events?)
    .
    (OW!)
    .
    (Yeah, and when you get to be 62, you can get HURT tryin’ to pat yourself on the back!)

  10. Warren T January 10, 2013 3:41 pm 

    Shunning “ON YOUR LEFT!”
    Your bright chime prompts many smiles
    Ring, little bike bell

  11. Ghost Rider January 10, 2013 7:34 pm 

    @Warren T: VERY nice! Our friend Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is quite the accomplished bike haikuist as well.

  12. Raiyn January 10, 2013 11:59 pm 

    @Ted
    Just because BluesCat copy pasta’d HIS OWN STUFF doesn’t make it any less valid.

    Hell, if I had a nickel for everytime I’ve reused my own material I’d be able to retire and build my Überhaus.

  13. bigbenaugust January 11, 2013 3:01 pm 

    I’m going to agree with Graham.

  14. Raiyn January 12, 2013 12:18 am 

    @ Ghost
    I remember that ordinance from when I lived on that side. I just decided to keep the bells (Incredibell Brass Duet) because it’s better than scaring the ever lovin’ bejeezus out of some poor old lady on the Pinellas Trail.

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