Your thoughts on this dilemma please!
Should I ring my bell?
The Mathematician and I enjoy riding our bikes on rail trails and shared paths, rarely do we ride on busy roads – except for that one time we did a small cycling tour, (3 of us and our guide) in London and rode over the Tower Bridge in peak hour traffic, and the girl with us lost her shoe twice on the bridge (another great story!) – so with all the cycling we’ve done around the world, we like to think we know how to share with others.
We are considerate, thoughtful and never pushy as we ride along. We are not crazy fast stunt riders, that’s for sure!
All the signs say it’s a shared path; to give priority to pedestrians; keep to the left of the path; and bike riders should ring their bell when coming up to others.
We do all that but, and here’s my dilemma, some people don’t like us ringing our bell!
Some people have earphones in listening to music, podcasts, books or are busy talking on the phone. We ring our bell but they don’t hear it and then get upset when we pass by, as they get a shock!
Then there’s the others who jump in surprise when you ring the bell and scatter all over the path and pose a risk of crashing, falling over or having a heart attack!
Groups of people walking all over the path, deep in conversation concern me as they are definitely not concentrating and may not hear my ringing bell.
Those with dogs also worry me. I have had issues with dogs while out riding before and they scare me, even when on a leash, so I always go cautiously around dogs.
The other day we passed an elderly lady who was walking on the left of the path with lots of room and I decided not to ring my bell as there was space to safely pass her by. But as I rode by her, she muttered, very loudly ‘BELL’, indicating I should have rung my bell.
What to do? It seems whatever I do is wrong in some people’s minds. But then you can’t please all the people all the time can you?
These days, more often than not, I ring my bell and also call out something like, ‘passing by’ or ‘hello coming up behind you’.
Another one I try is to lighten the situation by making a joke about my ding-dong bell, as it sounds like a doorbell or Avon calling. They tend to laugh at that!
But sometimes nothing works and people are bothered, scared, put-out or upset in some way with cyclists riding by. Shared paths are for everyone to use though and are much safer than being out on a busy road in my opinion. And at my age I’m much more cautious than I used to be!
By the way, in case you’re interested in my bike bell, I bought it in Amsterdam when we were on a cycling tour, as a memento of our time in this cycling capital of the world. It has a range of images on it from aroundThe Netherlands and I just love the sound. Did you play the video, I made it especially for you to hear the ding-dong!
Apparently this is not a new problem, as a search on the internet came up with many similar issues, with others wondering what the right thing to do is. The recommended thing to do is ring your bell.
It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s just that I don’t like upsetting people and like to do the right thing. As a walker I must say I prefer to hear a bell ringing to warn me of a bike coming, so maybe I should stick with that action.
Tell me what you think
So what do you prefer if you’re out walking and a bike rider comes up behind you?
Will you hear the bell, will you jump in shock, will you move to the left or will you abuse me for ringing/not ringing my bell?
I’m all ears 🙂
PS. I know in the scheme of things with all that’s happening in the world today, this is a minor dilemma but I am attempting to carry on with some degree of normalcy. Just some random thoughts on a Thursday 🙂
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