It can be a pretty crowded set up along your handlebars. Is there room for a bike bell? In this story I want to talk about bike bells and safety and how you need to be heard.
Safety can be a pretty boring subject so I wouldn’t blame you for letting out a little yawn right now but bear with me safety brings with it a sense of ease so you can relax and enjoy your time on the bike. Feel good with the knowledge that you’ve done all the right things to make yourself, be heard while on your bike. Heard by other cyclists, pedestrians and at times motorists. Be in control of your own safety and the safety of others use a bike bell.
Bells are also fun as well as functional. So if having all things beautiful on your bicycle brings you joy then it is time to let your personality shine. The options for a bike bell are huge in terms of colour and graphics (check out our Beep Bicycle Bell range). In terms of function they are all pretty much the same and will be operated by your thumb in a pushing motion to give a range of dinging sounds (see the Mini Hornit for the exception to this – it offers 25 sounds!). It is about understanding your need for a bell and whether a minimalist bell works best or a traditional bell will depend on the type of riding you do.
Why use a bell? This is an essential piece of equipment for around town riding and shared pathways to warn others that you are coming. A bell is also important on cycle trails and dual direction mountain bike trails. A need that is growing as the number of cyclists increase. We need to become a little more like Europe here and start communicating with all the different users with our bike bell. Having spent a few days in Copenhagen, in awe of the bikes, the sound of a bike bell ringing has nothing but pleasant memories for me. Maybe you’re unsure if you have a need for a bell but want one for the pure pleasure it may bring you when you look down at it!
Where do you mount? Generally on your left hand side if you are right handed but where there is room on the inside of your handlebar grips
What type of riding do you do; If you ride your bike for commuting on bikepaths and urban riding then having a beautiful and colourful traditonal bike bell that puts out a good quality ding will work well for you. However if you mountain bike or you use your bike in all these riding environments then a minimalist bell like the Knog Oi is the bell for you. This bell doesn’t look like a bell- it is designed to be sleek with little protrusion from the handle bars but still having a high quality and useful ding.
Correct use. Like most things a bike bell is something that can be overdone or used with not so nice intentions. Be polite, be respectful, don’t try and frighten the … out of someone who doesn’t know you’re there yet by sounding your bell then zooming past them as close as possible to show off how fast, and therefore fit, you are on your bike. Sound a gentle warning 5 or so metres away, while reducing your speed. Wait for a response – turning of the head, moving over to the side – this applies to both walkers and other cyclists. At this point if there is no response another ding follow by “Passing on your right” in a clear voice would be appropriate. Please give people space especially if they have small children or dogs with them.
Bells are worthwhile on cycle trails and in mountain bike parks, in particular on blind tight corners that are two way. These are corners that you can not see around and where you have the potential to crash into someone coming the other way if you don’t know they are there. Signage is good on a lot of these corners and the kids love it when they see a bell sign like the one on the tree in this photo.
get Safe and goRide – Be heard with a bike bell
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