This one comes from Ken.
Have you ever felt inadequacy because your bell was just not loud enough or just ignored all together? Well here is a story for you all the way from Germany about an American bicyclist who found his bell to be working better then he ever dreamed.
Bike bells or not. What do you think?
6 responses to “The Power of the bell”
I don’t really think that’s a great question to pose, since a bike bell is required in New York State.
Just because something is a law or not does not mean you can and should not challenge it.
Personally my bell does not do squat, except make me happy from time to time. My voice does a lot more. Keeping eye contact and signaling to motorists will do a lot more then a bell will, and a simple “On your left/right” doesn’t hurt either.
a bell can be useful to warn pedestrians of your approach (i.e. on a multi-use trail or dense urban center), but most can’t hear the ding with their ipods cranked. the bicycle bell is utterly useless for getting the attention of a motorist, even in the summer with their windows rolled down it’s near useless. i never ride with one, and frankly don’t really concern myself with the legal status of the bicycle bell. imo, you’re better off spending the ten bucks on an extra blinky tail light or some prismatic reflective tape for your helmet. now an air horn would be an altogether different matter…
I ring my bell as I’m approaching walkers, joggers, or slower riders. I find my “on your left” isn’t heard until they’re too close to move. Especially if I’m out of breath. Plus, you’d be surprised at how many people mix up their left and right in a panic; especially children who ride slowly and unpredictably all over the trail, usually with parents who don’t understand trail etiquette. A bell wouldn’t be necessary, on trails at least, if slower traffic stayed to the right. Unfortunately, about as many recreational cyclists know that as motorists.
I agree with Chris. I’m happy when I ring my bell, but I doubt it does much to improve my safety. I know my son is grumpy because my daughter’s bike has a bell and his doesn’t.
While on the topic of bike accessories, Chris asked that I send him a link to these Wald bike racks that I have on my bike. Most of the time they are folded up next to your rear tire rack, but after a stop at the grocery store, they unfold into handy carriers. I’ve picked up a full Community Supported Agriculture delivery with these and used the racks unfolded as a support for bringing pizzas to an outdoor concert!
Read more about them on
One caveat…these babies are NOT light!
I used to really enjoy ringing my bell to say “hello” to other cyclists. I rarely got a reply, but when I did it was really something else. Then somebody told me not to ring my bell unless it was an emergency.