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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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The No Bell Bicyclists
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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

trevar 8:56 am 28 Dec 12

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).

wildturkeycanoe 8:41 am 28 Dec 12

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????

Zan 8:17 am 28 Dec 12

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.

KB1971 8:17 am 28 Dec 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Yelling out *passing* seems to be far more effective than any bell.

This.

The bell gets ignored or swallowed by road noise if the track is near a road or wind if it is windy. I find yelling “bike back’ far more effective BUT it has to be done at a distance to give the walkers time to react with a thank you as I ride past.

schmeah 8:14 am 28 Dec 12

I think people riding their bikes at night time without lights are a much bigger issue. I used to go jogging in Turner in the evening during the winter on the footpath and on a couple of occasions nearly got wiped out by students on bikes with no lights and no reflective gear. Typically international students who simply had no idea; they couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see them until they almost took me out .. and no, never heard a bell either.

Don’t even get me started on those I see riding on the road without lights ..

KB1971 8:13 am 28 Dec 12

Deckard said :

Maybe the guy had a bell in the past but was abused by another pedestrian for ringing it when approaching from behind when they think he didn’t need to.

You really can’t win. Some pedestrians want you to ring every time you pass them, some only want you to ring if they’re in your way. Be prepared to cop some abuse from one or the other.

Believe it or not, this has actually happened to me. I even have a witness to prove it.

dungfungus 8:06 am 28 Dec 12

DrKoresh said :

Oh FFS. Did he do anything other than startle you as he went past? Because you haven’t given any details to make me think otherwise. I personally find having a bell rung at me to be incredibly irritating a and rude. I much prefer they use their words, or even better, go around me.

I can’t even find the words to describe how ridiculous you and this whole thread are. The way you end the article with ‘Offence provision.’ as if you were the victim of some terrible crime and as though you don’t commit countless similar misdemeanours every day is the most offensive part. I have to stop now, before I just degenerate into insulting but please try to appreciate what a ludicrous waste of everybody’s time this thread has been. Let it go, I’m sure you break equally stupid and minor laws all the time without even realising. In closing, go read a book or something, I’ve been reading Stephen Fry lately, he’s fun maybe it’ll take your mind off the small (the stupidly, laughably, tediously small) things.

What would be the situation if there was a collision between the errant cyclist and the pedestrian and the cyclist came off seriously injured?
I’ll tell you; every member of Petal Power would be on this blog condemning pedestrians.
Enjoy your Stephen Fry (I prefer Lamb’s Fry myself)

bikhet 7:07 am 28 Dec 12

To all those getting stuck into Zan – you’re a bunch of self-centered pricks.

In another thread there’s a report of someone doing 168 in a 90 zone. No-one was hurt as a result of the driver’s stupidity. Do you claim that that driver can break the law because it doesn’t suit him? That what you are doing on behalf of the cyclist without a bell.

How Canberran!

bryansworld 5:58 am 28 Dec 12

I am a daily commuter cyclist who uses a bell to warn pedestrians that I am overtaking. When walking or running on shared paths I find cyclists that do not warn you that they are overtaking annoying and sometimes dangerous. The lycra dudes seem to be the worst. Way too cool to have a bell.

kakosi 1:27 am 28 Dec 12

Why do some people underplay how dangerous a bicycle going at fast speed can be if they collide with a pedestrian?

I saw two cyclists almost collide with tourists around Lake Burley Griffin today. They didn’t ring bells – they were racing along – the young couple jumped out of the way (which was lucky cause these two weren’t going to slow down). And as they passed they yelled out abuse. Very nice introduction to Australian culture.

s-s-a 1:11 am 28 Dec 12

If you were driving in the left lane on the freeway and a faster car overtook you (safely and legally) would you expect them to blast you on the horn as they approached from behind?

Cyclists can’t win either way. As PPs have said, using the bell or calling out often seems to cause more offense. And the law only says you have to have a warning device, not that you have to use it every single time you overtake.

You are on a shared path. A sensible person would expect to encounter other people using a variety of modes of transport.

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