Bike Bell Etiquette/Ding or Die!Posted: August 9, 2011
The most masculine accessory for any bicycle has got to be the bike bell. Every time I ding mine I feel like hunting, punching and growing body hair. It’s as though I’m Thor for a few seconds, except I don’t need a hammer because my fist is a hammer.
Really though, as you know, a bike bell doesn’t sound as tough as a ships horn or a freshly washed set of linens flapping in the breeze…I mean gunshot. Sometimes when I’m feeling even less secure in myself than usual, I won’t use it and just sneak by a pedestrian on a bike path. It’s an accessory that riders occasionally brush off as unnecessary.
But is a bell necessary? Yes! Very!
I didn’t bother getting one for a month when I first began to commute by bike to work a few years ago. My realization that I needed one came as I crept up behind a small group of walkers who also had a couple of small dogs. I said “Excuse me” but they didn’t hear so I took to the grass. One lady shrieked as I appeared beside her, causing her dogs to run at me. I barely escaped a barrage of ankle bites as they started cursing me for scaring them. I got a bell the next day.
Here are some key points I’ve picked up while dinging;
- Pick a good distance to ding. A person has to be able to hear it AND have time to move.
- Don’t ding too close to a person, it’ll scare them. (See point 1.)
- Ding the appropriate amount of times. (I never know how many that is exactly but it’s not more than 7)
- Don’t ding at dogs. They will think you have treats.
- To avoid seeming like a douche, don’t ding when someone is looking at you. They may see this as a taunt.