Something About Bells

Posted by chdot on June 18, 2007

New bikes in the UK have to be sold with a bell. It’s the law! Doesn’t matter if it’s a shopper or a headbanging Downhill bike. Many bike shops are a bit embarrassed, some ‘forget’ (none in Edinburgh of course).

Today on the (trade only) Bike Biz Forum is a post from someone who describes himself as “an unfit slob (bike trade for 17 years)” who decided to buy a decent touring bike “to get my fat ass into some shape”.

His first thought on the new bike was, “Get rid of the Bell.” However he decided that it looked “tiny and worthless” and “small enough not to spoil a good-looking bike”.

So he kept it on the bike “just out of curiosity – see whether I’d ever use it”.

“Then today on my second 30-mile ride (knackering for a slob like myself), I found myself on a narrow road with no traffic other than dog walking couples. Approaching them at my steady 14mph, I pinged the bell not expecting any response. How impressed I was to see them turn around, see me coming, and step aside (dog restrained) to let me past. I thanked them as I passed and got a friendly response. That happened several times and, yes I will keep the bell on my bike. It delivered a non threatening way of letting my presence be known with safety.”

Perhaps some of the people who hurtle along the canal towpath (and other shared use paths) should also be as wise and courteous.

4 Responses to “Something About Bells”

  1. effemm said


    It’s nice that the unfit slob had a good experience with his bell, but mine are much more variable. Some pedestrians do respond, but it’s much more common to be ignored entirely or – sometimes – scowled at indignantly, even by fellow cyclists.

    Perhaps *all* shared path users should be so wise and courteous.

  2. Lee said

    I went out for a walk on Sunday with a couple of my friends to take some photos along the canal and the Water of Leith.
    When I cycle along there, I always ring my bell to alert people ahead of me (even if they are walking towards me as they are often too busy looking around or talking to look in fron of them!) and I always say thankyou to people who stand to the side etc, etc. This is just common courtesy in my book.

    I was therefore amazed on Sunday at the amount of cyclists that not only do not ring their bells, but also at the amount of people that use the canal path that don’t have bells attached to their bikes and also at the speed that some people are cycling at. A couple of people had computers attached to their bikes (and didn-t ring their bells incidently) and my brief glance at the display as they passed caught speeds in excess of 15mph. This is way way too fast for a shared path. A lot more policing/control of the canal path needs to be considered as I, even as a cyclist, consider it less than completely safe to use. For pedestrians it is worse.

    As another point, weren’t there FREE bells being given out at the Outdoor Access Festival in Holyrood park a couple of months ago?

  3. #2 Lee:

    If people are trying to use shared path to get somewhere in a reasonable length of time, then maybe it is time to introduce cycle only path so that these cyclists can travel at a higher speed without having to be on the road.

  4. Lee said

    #3 Shaun

    Exactly right.
    We should have a network of cycle-only paths just like we have a network of “supposedly” vehicle -only roads. Paths should go everywhere, be lit, be well kept and be policed – unfortunately for us, the Neds will break everything that can be broken.

    If something like this could be done in Edinburgh (the Dutch have it, so why can’t we???) then everyone will be happy to cycle around.
    I would be standing right up there at the front to try an convince the council of such a concept (and I did when I wrote to all the councillors for my ward), but all the time oil is flowing and the government can tax the hell out of the petrol-buying public, we’ll never see it.
    It’s a lovely dream through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: