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The No Bell Bicyclists

By Zan - 27 December 2012 189

An encounter today on the shared footpath/bicycle caused a bicyclist who had no bell. We did not hear him coming from behind. I asked him where his bell was. He said he didn’t need one as it didn’t fit on his bars.

Well here is what you need under the ACT Road Rules:

258 Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have:

(a) at least 1 effective brake; and

(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.

Offence provision.

What’s Your opinion?


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189 Responses to
The No Bell Bicyclists
31
trevar 8:56 am
28 Dec 12
#

trevar said :

An encounter today on the shared footpath/bicycle caused a bicyclist who had no bell.

Did no one actually read the original post? The ‘encounter’ that occurred caused the bicyclist. Now, a bicyclist being a human being, there is only one type of encounter that causes human beings to come into existence, and this type of encounter is also illegal in this instance as it is not permitted in a public place.

Don’t be so hard on the bicyclist with no bell; s/he had no choice but to be caused. But the fact that Zan and whoever s/he was with caused this bicyclist with no bell and then started bad mouthing said bicyclist with no bell on a public forum such as RiotACT really doesn’t endear our Zan to me. Terrible parenting… though very fast parenting too if the bicyclist was indeed caused and came to be riding a bike on the same day… I couldn’t ride a bike for several years after I was caused.

But really, I’m with DrKoresh; get over yourself and start enjoying your retirement instead of getting cranky about nothing (or at least nothing you’re willing to describe clearly).

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32
miz 9:06 am
28 Dec 12
#

Agree with OP. Bike riders, just have a working bell on your bike, and ring it on approach so your approach is noted. It really ain’t hard, and it’s THE LAW. Using your voice is no substitute as it can be indistinguishable from other voices, whereas a bell cuts through to ‘send a signal’.

I can’t believe that some numb-nuts are actually quibbling with the OP on this issue. No wonder people are generally shitty with bike riders – in general, they are a selfish and discourteous lot. However, thank you to those few bell ringers out there for your persistent curtesy. It is appreciated more than you know.

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33
Jono 9:17 am
28 Dec 12
#

I always find threads like this fascinating. I’ve said this before on previous threads, but I’ve been a daily user of the shared paths in Canberra as a cyclist, walker and runner for 25 years and I’ve never had a serious run in with anybody. As a cyclist, I try to be considerate to pedestrians, and I’ll ring my bell, or call “cyclist”, when I deem it to be appropriate (as has been mentioned the random behaviour of some pedestrians upon hearing the bell can be a hazard), and as a pedestrian I’m always aware of the fact that there could be a cyclist coming up behind me or just around the next corner and act accordingly.

Thoughtfulness and consideration on both parts goes a long way.

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34
KB1971 9:18 am
28 Dec 12
#

Zan said :

Are all you a bit short of grey cells? The point is that it is the law to have a bell on the bike. That is what this is about. Not about whether I got a fright on the bike path.

It is the LAW to have a bell on the bike.

ACT Road Rules:

258 Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have:
(a) at least 1 effective brake; and
(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.
Offence provision.

Um no but you are missing one crucial part of the rule “OR SIMILAR WARNING DEVICE”.

Section A(b) does not mandate that a bike must have a bell, just a warning device which may be a bell.

If he uses his voice as a warning then he may consider that to be in accordance with the law, a loose interpretation yes but the law does not tighten it down to just a bell or horn.

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35
milkman 9:20 am
28 Dec 12
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

Zan, I wonder if you drive a car. If you did, how do you contain your frustration at the constant law breaking on our roads every minute of your travels?
If the person coming up behind you was on a skateboard, roller skates or fold up scooter, would you still be in angst if they didn’t “ring” before overtaking you?
Now here is an interesting scenario to add to your worries – if the pedestrian has their MP3 player plugged in and blaring ACDC at 90dB, how do they hear your bicycle bell? The whole concept of fair warning goes out the window, so should they ban personal music headsets from shared paths too????

So because some people break the law that makes it ok for others? Really?

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36
Aubergine 9:23 am
28 Dec 12
#

Point 1: Bells are required by law on bikes.
Point 2: A bell’s sound carries further than an average voice calling out one of an endless variety of silly phrases (“passing”, “bike behind”, “coming through”, “look out you morons” etc).
Point 3: In many countries (especially where lane markings are nonexistent or ignored by drivers) cars do in fact use their horn to indicate they’re about to pass.
Point 4 onwards: Just use your bell, once when you see someone ahead and again when you get closer. Most people will appreciate it. Those who don’t will soon learn to, when all cyclists do the same.

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37
bigfeet 9:48 am
28 Dec 12
#

One of the biggest problems I see is that well over half of the walkers have their iPod on and blasting away at levels that make it impossible for them to be aware of their surroundings anyway.

So you can ring, sound a horn, shout or fire a shotgun and they still don’t know you are coming until you are upon them.

Don’t get me started on motorists and cyclists wearing earphones either. I am stunned everytime I see that.

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38
bikhet 11:47 am
28 Dec 12
#

KB1971 said :

Zan said :

Are all you a bit short of grey cells? The point is that it is the law to have a bell on the bike. That is what this is about. Not about whether I got a fright on the bike path.

It is the LAW to have a bell on the bike.

ACT Road Rules:

258 Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have:
(a) at least 1 effective brake; and
(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.
Offence provision.

Um no but you are missing one crucial part of the rule “OR SIMILAR WARNING DEVICE”.

Section A(b) does not mandate that a bike must have a bell, just a warning device which may be a bell.

If he uses his voice as a warning then he may consider that to be in accordance with the law, a loose interpretation yes but the law does not tighten it down to just a bell or horn.

OK,so I’m a pedant, but:

1) a bicyclists’ voice is part of the bicyclist, not part of the bicycle; and

2) a voice is generally not a device.

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39
kakosi 12:09 pm
28 Dec 12
#

I think the real solution is to get bikes out of pedestrian areas. Far too dangerous mixing the two together.

Or…make it the law that bikes give way to pedestrians. This way they have to slow down to avoid a collision.

If bike riders want to ride at high speeds, it’s simple – get on the roads.

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40
Postalgeek 12:15 pm
28 Dec 12
#

bikhet said :

KB1971 said :

Zan said :

Are all you a bit short of grey cells? The point is that it is the law to have a bell on the bike. That is what this is about. Not about whether I got a fright on the bike path.

It is the LAW to have a bell on the bike.

ACT Road Rules:

258 Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have:
(a) at least 1 effective brake; and
(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.
Offence provision.

Um no but you are missing one crucial part of the rule “OR SIMILAR WARNING DEVICE”.

Section A(b) does not mandate that a bike must have a bell, just a warning device which may be a bell.

If he uses his voice as a warning then he may consider that to be in accordance with the law, a loose interpretation yes but the law does not tighten it down to just a bell or horn.

OK,so I’m a pedant, but:

1) a bicyclists’ voice is part of the bicyclist, not part of the bicycle; and

2) a voice is generally not a device.

Hmm, true. I say give them what they want:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9U75etv6mA

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41
markbuzz 12:22 pm
28 Dec 12
#

The road rules say a bicycle needs a warning device, but does that apply to just use on a road or road-like area or on all bicycles in all forms of use such as on a shared path as per the OP?

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42
Cimexus 12:25 pm
28 Dec 12
#

bikhet said :

OK,so I’m a pedant, but:

1) a bicyclists’ voice is part of the bicyclist, not part of the bicycle; and

2) a voice is generally not a device.

Agreed. I don’t think any reasonable interpretation of the provision would include a person’s voice as a “similar warning device”. It’s defining something the bike has to have, not the rider of the bike.

From personal experience, if you are walking along a shared path and talking with the person beside you, it’s quite difficult to hear an approaching cyclist’s voice. They should have a bell and use it. Lights too.

I both cycle and walk on the shared paths on a regular basis so don’t have any particular pro- or anti-bike bias, but do agree with the OP in this case that a bell should have been used (though personally, I wouldn’t have made the comment to the passing cyclist, as you’d be quite likely to get abuse flung back at you).

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43
hotwaterservice 12:33 pm
28 Dec 12
#

Interestingly the relevant ACT Road Rules note:

258. Equipment on a bicycle

A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have—

(a) at least 1 effective brake; and

(b) a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order. Penalty: 1 penalty unit.

It does not say anywhere that one needs to use any of these devices or that warnings can not be given with a voice.

A brief relevant voiced warning (given well ahead of a walking/cycling/scooting obstacle) is often an useful complement or an even better alternative than a bell for easily startled pedestrians (deer in headlights syndrome). My voice is way louder and carries further than any bell or horn short of a super duper you bewt air horn. Being ready to ride around obstacles (dreamy pedestrians) and off the path or stop if necessary is always an essential component of safe riding. I find I have more trouble with hapless Canberran motorists (especially those in 4WDs).

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44
hotwaterservice 12:40 pm
28 Dec 12
#

Of course, the more pervasive issue is one of bad shared path design.

Consider the following article “Paths – Wide Enough for Everyone” from Bicycle Network Victoria (http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/bike-futures/30162/) which advocates safer often wider and separated path design. Chicken and the egg issues regarding usage, safety and traffic load.

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45
bugmenot 12:48 pm
28 Dec 12
#

kakosi said :

I think the real solution is to get bikes out of pedestrian areas. Far too dangerous mixing the two together.

Or…make it the law that bikes give way to pedestrians. This way they have to slow down to avoid a collision.

If bike riders want to ride at high speeds, it’s simple – get on the roads.

You made tea come out of my nose!

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