Things to know about me: I am a rule following kind of person. It’s hardwired. It’s what I do.
But I confess that until today, I didn’t have a bell on my commuting bike.
I mean, I had one, years ago, but it broke, and I never replaced it, mostly because I only had it to comply with the law. I rarely, if ever, used it.
Why not? Well, it startled people. And I was finding that either people have headsets on, in which case it doesn’t matter what noise I make, or they seemed less startled, and more appreciative of a cheery “Good morning.”
To be clear, our gravel paths along the river and through the Arboretum are wide and not at all crowded so my bike commute is pretty stress free. So far even the off leash dogs have been well behaved and my only near collision was with turtles the other morning.
Here’s some scenes from my long commute:
But last week, as I was cycling through the Aboretum on my long way to work, I passed an elderly man with a small dog and my “hello, good morning” wasn’t enough. “Don’t you have a bell on that thing you could ring?” he yelled back.
The laneway we were on was as wide as a regular road and I had passed all the way over to the right. Still, I’d startled him. He expressed a bell preference. It is the law that, all bikes have a working bell or horn so that you can announce your approach.
So now I have a bell.
The pink bell clashes. I think it was a stocking stuffer meant for the Brompton which also doesn’t have a bell. Will remedy that too, get a new one for the commuting bike and put the pink one on the Brompton.
In the meantime, cyclists and non-cyclists alike, which do you prefer, bell or no bell? “Good morning, hello,” or “bring bring”?
This looks like a good place to star my research: Put a Bell on Your Fast Bike Already.