Tag Archive for: hear

bicycle bell

Should you use a bicycle bell, or your voice?

Bringing up bicycle bells raises the large issue of messages that bicyclists need should send out, and attend to.

For one thing, the bicycle makes a variety of sounds, some normal, others indicating mechanical problems. Understanding these sounds extends your pre-ride safety check into your ride —  especially important then!

Sounds alert you to other road users, and you to them. As is true with so much about bicycling, you have choices.

Voice or bicycle bell?

Voice or bell: does it matter? This is largely a cultural issue.

According to information which we have, bicycle bell is required  by law in some US states: New York, South Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey. Local jurisdictions also may require one. Besides being useful to alert pedestrians and other cyclists, a bell can just be fun, especially in a group. Definitely consider it, especially where required by law.

Most bicycle bells can do no more than warn people of your approach, and are only loud enough reliably to alert people in the open air, that is, other bicyclists and pedestrians. (Bicycle air horns are a separate topic. Many of these are as loud as car horns.)

Bells tend to be prevalent where bicycle use for transportation is common. There, most people understand the sound of the bell to mean, “I’m approaching, be predictable so I can pass.”

No bell? Almost anyone can signal with the voice, and it works without lifting a hand from a brake lever. On the other han