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The Bike Bell - Fun And Functional
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The Bike Bell   -   Fun And Functional

Within 60 years of the first bicycle patent, the bicycle bell was also patented. Since 1877 the simple bike bell has been an effective piece of bicycling safety equipment. Until fairly recent bicycle history, a bike bell was on every bicycle. The ding-ding of the bell meant that a bike was approaching and/or wanted to pass. For some reason, bike bells fell out of favor, at least here in the US. However, they are regaining popularity again as bicycle bells today are not the bike bells of your grandparent's generation.

Bicycle Bells Are Fun

The bike bell is wonderful bling for your bike! They are inexpensive ways to add style and fair to your ride. With every imaginable color, finish and size, and they can serve as fabulous creative expressions of a cyclist's individuality. Without a doubt, there is a bike bell for every person and every bicycle there is!

Bicycle Bells Are Effective

Many bike paths now are what are termed "shared-use paths" or "multi-use trails". This means that you are sharing the path with not only other cyclists, but pedestrians as well. If you've ridden much, you know that the standard protocol of announcing "on your left" sometimes has no effect at all. You have to be right up on the person you want to pass to be heard, which sometimes frightens them and causes more confusion than anything else. The sound of a bicycle bell carries much better than the human voice. And it has the added bonus of being understood in almost every language!

Bicycle Bells Are The Law In Some States

In many jurisdictions, bike bells are the law. They are required equipment just like properly working brakes, and lights if you are riding at night. The state of New York and Washington DC are two such places in the US. In all states, bicycles are considered moving vehicles, subject to the same laws as cars. This means they must be able to communicate their presence to other vehicles, and they must yield to pedestrians. A bike bell, even when not required equipment, should be a piece of equipment every safety minded cyclist should own.

Using A Bicycle Bell Is Good Riding Etiquette

Because of the fact that cyclists share the paths with people on foot, moving at much slower speeds, they often get a bad rap for being rude and inconsiderate. Shouting "passing on your left!" or even worse, giving no notice at all often leaves pedestrians feeling irritated and in many cases frightened and confused. The mulit-use paths I often ride are a mixed bag of bikers, runners, families out for a stroll with toddlers and children on training wheels, and people out walking their dogs. It can be a maze of activity! Without effective communication it can be an accident waiting to happen. A bike bell produces a cheery, happy sound that lets others know you are there and that you'd like to pass. It should come as no surprise that the sound produces cheery, happy responses out of people! For that reason alone, they should be standard equipment on all bikes.

The bicycle bell is an inexpensive, functional and extremely fun piece of equipment that every bicycle should have. It provides a pleasant and effective means of communicating your presence to other cyclists, pedestrians and even cars. With all of the fun colors and styles, there's no reason why every bike shouldn't have one.


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