Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to Ring in New Bike Bling

Finally got a rear view mirror, courtesy of Katy, on Father's Day. It's now installed, and has been nice to have.

Katy also got me a bell for my bike, so if you hear a cheery ring, it might be me coming up behind you. Not as fast as many bikers, but not as slow as some, and given my size and resulting momentum, we both would be better off avoiding a collision.

Anyway, a small bit of bike etiquette--how is the bell properly used? When I didn't have one, I tried to make it a habit to always sound a verbal warning when approaching a pedestrian or jogger from behind.

I typially name my vehicle and it's passing position--I'll say "bike on the left" or, less commonly, "bike on the right." Most people understand and sometime even thank me for the warning. A few are startled and sometimes move in the direction I stated, which is not a good idea--if I say "bike on the left," a step to the left is the wrong direction.

No accidents, so far, however. The strategy is to wait to sound the warning until you're close enough for the person to clearly hear you, but be far enough away that if they do step in the wrong direction, you can weave around them.

Since I also walk on trails, I can tell you that I also apprciate bikers who sound a warning rather than just zoom on by.

But what of the bell? If I ding my bell do I also tell? In my opinion, yes. The bell is an attention getter, and immediately after ringing it, I will state my verbal warning. Again, person experience makes me appreciate the ding-verbal combination more than a ding, which makes me turn around to see to the number and direction of the approaching bike or bikes (if I'm with someone while I'm biking, yes, I'll say "two bikes on your left.")

Joggers and walkers have certain rights--not be be startled or run over by bikers. As moving vehicles, we must defer to pedestrians just as we expect some deference from motor vehicles.

So if you hear a ding, it may be me with my bling. But if nothing is said, it's someone else instead.

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