« Riverfront at West Hyattsville project to upgrade section of NW Branch Trail | Main | Alexandria and DC will limit right turns on red at more intersections. »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wash, posts like this are why you're the best.

They argued that ... it is better for cyclists to avoid pedestrians than to tell them to move out of the way.

You've hit on one of my advocacy pet peeves, "warn before passing." Are drivers taught to honk their horns before passing? No, they're taught to wait until it's safe to pass before trying, and to leave a safe distance between themselves and the overtaken vehicle. "Warn before passing" sends absolutely the wrong message to cyclists, that ringing your bell makes it OK to pass no matter what the circumstances.

If cars had bells, that would be fine. The issue is that the only device they are equipped with is made to be capable of being heard inside another car, meaning it's too loud for unprotected ears. I'd be fine with greater warnings to cyclists to pass safely, as I agree there is too much poor behavior out there. But the answer isn't discouraging bike bells on trails.

Glad they got rid of the bell law, no matter how unenforced and arbitrary it may be.

I still think it was another way for police to discriminate at will

"I also learned that in the Palisades neighborhood, there used to be a velodrome called International Athletic Park and people came from far and wide to ride there."

FFS sometimes I think I was born at the wrong time. That must have been pretty awesome viewing/riding.

@Contrarian - car drivers don't need to honk before passing other cars, because drivers are taught to stay in their lane and check before changing lanes. If pedestrians on multi-use paths behaved the same way there would be no need for bells. Bells should not be an excuse for cyclists to just barge past in an unsafe manner, but they are useful in that they warn pedestrians or slower riders that a cyclist is passing and thus they won't suddenly swerve into the path of the faster cyclist.

Somewhat related - yesterday on the Mt. Vernon trail I was running, in a section of the trail close to the Parkway. Guy on a bike coming from behind me had a horn, which sounded like a car horn. I did not not realize it came from a bike until he called out. A horn like that is not very effective because other users think it comes from a car - and if you are on a trail you figure it's not directly at you.

Sound like an AirZound:

I've always wanted one, but I fear I can't be trusted to use it only for good.

Yeah, that was probably it. I imagine it would be an effective tool for riding in mixed traffic with cars, not so much on a trail - at least not a trail next to a road.

@contrarian There are also no requirements for bicyclists or pedestrians to have mirrors. Car drivers have multiple mirrors to see if someone is overtaking them to the left (or right). Most bikers do not and no pedestrians have such elaborate mirror systems so the audible warning when passing is much more beneficial.

Plus given how many bikers are swerving all over the trail texting because they can't put their god forsaken phones down it has become even more necessary to have a bell or otherwise warn when passing.

I have never seen a cyclist swerving around on the trail to text on their phone. Which trail are you seeing this on?



Is that anyone else's experience? Because I've never seen that on the MBT.


If I get bored this weekend I'll post some helmet cam. It's usually people on the red bikes and I would say I see it once per week.

I've seen texting while biking a couple of times on the CCT.

I've seen it on city streets. Can't say if that's better or worse, but it's worse.

… please people don't feed the troll. This post is about the history of bells and bikes. Don't let the anti bike troll hijack it and make it about something else.

@Joe F

Part of the point of bike bells is to warn people when passing and it becomes necessary to do so more so when the bikers are not paying a damn bit of attention because they are staring at their phones. Its a tangent at best.

As per all your other arguments you are only concerned about the rules that cyclists break. Cell use while driving and walking is far greater, but you don't care. Cell use by drivers is far more dangerous and kills a lot of people, but you don't care. Your argument should have been the bell is needed to warn the peds on their phones of the cyclist passing but as usual you trash cyclists instead of making a valid on topic argument. But good job! You've trolled well and had me make your on topic argument for you!

@Joe F

I think you are the troll honestly. I am with wash cycle on his hatred of bike bell laws. I just think it’s become more meaningful to make sure you have one recently because of all of the self absorbed texters and bikers that need to be warned because IG is too GD distracting.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader