Friday 20 February 2009

Bicycle bells

We've had a couple of serious posts this week, so here's something different. Two very different videos including bicycle bells, courtesy of Jchico1021 and sixd0ts. "The Power of the Bicycle Bell" and "Bicycle Bell Mayhem from Amsterdam".

A range of bells, complete with sound samples, can be heard, viewed and bought in our online shop.


l' homme au velo said...

Those were great Videos,whenever I go to the Netherlands and Amsterdam again I must try and get some Bells with Dutch Bike Slogans on them. Also those Saddle cover Advertisements in Dutch.

David Hembrow said...

If you want a seat cover with advertising on it, just leave your bike parked in some public area, such as a railway station, for a while. There's a pretty good chance you'll pick one up that way.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese (?) one was kinda surreal, and also highlighted one of the problems I've experienced with bells. People tend to walk [their dogs] along the bike paths near hear, and as I approach from behind, I ring my bell to let 'em know I'm coming. This is an attempt to not startle anyone to death. Except no-one ever seems to hear the bell when I'm 20-30 yards away. So I ring again as I get nearer . . . which does startle them!

Maybe they're just not accustomed to hearing bells and seeing bikes on a bike path?

David Hembrow said...

I understand that in Japan it is quite acceptable to cycle on the pavement.

Bells don't work well on shared use paths in Britain. I think it's a cultural thing. Bikes are rare, unexpected and a bit scary. Very rarely has anyone simply moved sideways a little and carried on their way. However, I have had people just rotate on the spot and look straight towards me, or obnoxious people spread out to stand in the way.

l' homme au velo said...

In Dublin because our Cycle Paths are so narrow the Pedestrian often has no choice but to walk on the Cycle Path side of the Pavement. Often Bus Stops Shelters and some Car Park areas cut away part of the Pathway forcing Pedestrian to walk on the CyclePath part. So they Automaticaly just walk on the Cycle part,it is just bad Planning a token gesture by the Dublin City Council to Cycling Infrastruture. I always try to warn People from a distance of at least 10-15 Feet away by Dinging the Bell and saying Excuse me. If you go to near and warn them they can fall over or else walk into the Bike.
When I am away I like to get a Souvenir of the City or Country I visit and it is usually Baseball Hats or City Badges that can be Sewn on Bags or else Cycling Stuff with the Logo of the City, That is why I am interested in these Seat covers. I had an Amsterdam Baseball Hat but lost it ,I also have some Sew on Badges from Brussels and Amsterdam.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Bells are pretty well useless things on bikes. Motorists hermetically sealed inside their weapons of mass consumption will never hear one You can't use them when you really need to 'cos you can't ring the bell and brake at the same time. If you don't have one on your bike then you get chastised roundly by self appointed guardians of social practice. I've found that the human voice is the best mode of warning when approaching pedestrians on bike paths. The words "ring-ring" almost invariably raises a laugh.

David Hembrow said...

They work here. Really well. The advantage over the human voice is that a bike bell tells people it's really a bike (just like in the Japanese video :-)

I think it's down to familiarity. The pedestrians are all cyclists too. I suspect that Dutch drivers would also not be able to hear a bell, but I've never had a reason to need to attract their attention while cycling.

And as for shared use paths being bad planning. I agree. I've only found one here and it had a warning sign on it.

l' homme au velo said...

In Ireland For a Long time the only Bikes with Bells were Old Bikes ,the New ones were not being Sold with them.

If somebody had a European Bike then it would probably have a Bell but not the Korean Bikes that they were selling in Bike Shops.

I had a Mountain Bike made in Korea without a Bell and I had to use my Voice to warn People.

Then I think it was about 4 Years ago ,A Directive was sent either from the EU or our Government that Bikes had to be Sold with Bells

Pedestrians had got used to the Fact that most Bikes did not have Bells. It just was not enforced by the Police or anybody else.

I got a Hybrid 5 Years ago with a Small little Bell,the Bell on the Brompton was Small as well.

The Dutch Bike I got over a Year ago has a Big Bell, it is Great.

Like Westfield Wanderer, I find that most Pedestrians just ignore the Bell and I have to Excuse me. It takes a while for them to React.

spiderleggreen said...

I love the Japan bell vid. Hilarious!

Commenting on the conversation about people not hearing the bell. I agree with David, that when people ride bikes they see(and hear) bikes. I've seen it in Minneapolis, where more people are riding bikes, now. They start seeing bikes when they are driving. Also, I recently started dating a woman who knew nothing about bikes and hardly noticed them. Now she says them all the time(maybe because that's all I talk about!)

Get people on bikes! However you do it. Make it social acceptable(cool). Improve the biking infrastructure(safe). Get 'em on bikes and things will change.

Kevin Love said...

My Pashley has a two-tone bell, which I use as a polite signal to peds and other cyclists.

I use a WWI Canadian Army whistle for a not-so-polite (piercing shriek) signal to cars. Seems to work.

Anonymous said...

I wish that first video would happen where I live! Usually a bike bell confuses people and/or makes them smile dumbly.

Anonymous said...

I spied a couple of the De Fietsfabriek "push button" horns in that second video - they are noticeable because they are only audible to mice...on a quiet day with no-one breathing loudly...and only if the mouse is holding its breath too...and concentrating.

Rubbish. I wonder, are the Gazelle "gripshift" bells available as accessories in Holland? I think they are lovely.