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The bell tolls.

Steele1968's picture

By Steele1968 - Posted on 29 February 2016

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Here it comes - looks like I better get a bell for my mountain bike for when I am riding to a track. Taking this to the extreme, this could mean you will need a bell when riding on fire trails. I can see it now - 'bell inspection' officers at the bottom of The Oaks.

hawkeye's picture

Lach's picture

... a verbal form of contact with another road user is readily available to a cyclist.

A bell is really only a means of communication with a pedestrian (well, one without their music / phone / podcast going) - it is FA useless with a car unless the windows are down and the music / radio off. Personally, I usually slow down and, if the pedestrian doesn't twig, I ask if I can go past, and if all goes well, I thank the pedestrian. With a car, if I can't make eye contact, I ride defensively.

To require cyclists to have a bell is like requiring pedestrians to have some form of warning device, which the government won't be doing anytime soon.

The old law and the new law is pretty much BS.

hawkeye's picture
Black Flash's picture

Obviously I don't have one. But in the event of approaching a pedestrian on a shared use path, I just freewheel or pedal backwards to let my hub sound my imminent presence. If this doesn't get a reaction, then as @lach said, a simple verbal warning comes next. Once again, if no response, then they're plugged into so e music and a bell would have made SFA difference.
Btw, a very loud squealing front rotor almost caused a poor couple to have simultaneous heart attacks just recently on a trip away... Was rather embarrassed about that.

jeremya's picture

all these rules apply " road related areas" which specifically include designated bike paths. so taking the kids round narabeen lakes with hats you got on the internet will cost you £957 and a bit more if you don't have a bell.

hawkeye's picture

Meanwhile the rest of the world observes "the Australian experience" and stays well away from mandatory helmet laws because the adverse impact on community health and obesity levels is far worse the the head injuries saved...

It doesn't need to be a bell. It can be an "audible warning device" so theoretically your Hope hub may qualify, although I reckon you'd become a test case if you argued that to the copper.

I have a bell on the roadie. I broke the one on the Scalpel.

What I'd *really* like is an electronic device that screams "Fuck Off Duncan!" at >115db. I would rather enjoy demonstrating that to a policeman. Smiling

In lieu of that I have an Air Zound - great for traffic, but unfortunately just as good for giving little old ladies I say hello to on the shared path a heart attack. It sits in my box of stuff these days.

DudeistPriest's picture

Gee all these first world issues to deal with, we really have it tough in this country.

Pete B's picture

There's enough back alleys, side streets and stairs on the streets to even warrant stopping.

Mike_H's picture

Not sure of the issue here.

Previously, if you didn't have a bell you could have been fined $71. Now if you don't have a bell you can be fined $106.

I don't have one on my mountain bike and probably never will, but I don't see anything that says I'm any more likely to be fined for not having one now than I have been in the past.

Just put it down to inflation and carry on doing exactly what you've always done.

DudeistPriest's picture

My mate Che and I rode into NSW from the ACT on our morning ride today, no bells and we were definitely riding dangerously, we even took our helmets off for a bit. Fortunately we were able to avoid the Cops, so the Revolution begins.

brownie1324's picture

Does anyone know if the ridiculous lights on the Kent street cycle lane that are red for 5 minutes for cyclists when there is no actual traffic are enforceable. Especially when you consider that if you move 2 meters off the cycle way onto the road you can go through a green light on the road!

StanTheMan's picture

holy moly.

Its a bell. Just put it on. you're sounding like a bunch of old women's folk.

DudeistPriest's picture

Do you know how much a bell weighs? I'm not putting up with that sort of weight disadvantage.

Pete B's picture

Not to mention how un-aero it is!

p2tx8's picture
Carlosdjakal's picture
Tristania's picture

Think about it. If a vehicle hits you and the bike flips over, the bell's aluminium will give a crumple zone as it's weaker than the rest of the frame, so when a rider lands on top of their bike, they will have an impact of about 2 millinewtons less.

In all seriousness, though, this puts the icing on the cake for what is already an embarrassingly ridiculous set of laws. Bells do nothing on roads (I mean, who's ever going to hear it in a car). Bikes are illegal on footpaths. And shared use paths are basically non-existent in Sydney. So will runners need to carry bells as they approach pedestrians too?

DudeistPriest's picture

I agree, how stupid is it you have to stop at red lights and pedestrian crossings and what's with not being able to talk on your mobile phone while riding, I can't see any issues with that, no holding onto a moving vehicle, the list goes on, yep bloody embarrassing for sure.

jubaeg's picture

brownie1324 - those red lights drive me crazy, and I've started thinking of joining the traffic lanes and then merging again with the bike lane.

Mind you, all the mindless pedestrians wandering into the bike lane also drive me crazy.

dougm111's picture

Its called my voice. Cheep as, doesn't cost me any extra weight either.

shano's picture

Bloody expensive titanium too!

hawkeye's picture

I've timed it. 6 seconds of green bike light every 2 minutes, and if there's no bike on the grid, nothing at all.

Discuss. Evil

Tristania's picture

On an early morning, my trip from Hornsby Hts to UTS via Pacific Hwy & Kent St "cycleway" is 70 minutes. 45 minutes to the Harbour Bridge (before having to dismount and climb the steps to the designated bike path - a clever idea not to install a ramp), then another 25 to get the remaining 4km through the minefield of red lights via the cycleway which eventually ends and forces me onto George St for the remaining 500m.

Wonder why that takes so long, couldn't have anything to do with the lights...

tubby's picture

kent st is annoying (refused to trip for riders on either side of Bathurst st on Saturday morning), but king st is worse. Perfectly timed to go red just as each wave of bikes get up the hill each block, and at the end it's a unsafe, mid intersection merge. You might get lucky when you get a green bike light and the first car off the ranks is turning left, so they have a red light and run blocker for you, but in general I am far safer using my own judgement and going through it when I see a safe gap than waiting for a green light.
As for those claims that these changes don't affect you if you don't break the law, I had so many abusive moments whilst commuting from idiots revved up buy this I took the train home with my bike yesterday. it simply was not safe to ride a route I have done a couple of times a week for 3 years. It has had a massive effect on the entitlement complex of the small minded. This was an entirely predictable reaction, so what was the justification? Where is the evidence that cyclists running red lights are presenting as much a risk as cars? Why weren't car fines increased to match those of heavy vehicles? And you are more likely to get fined now for no bell than before as Duncan needs cyclists to be portrayed as demon spawn to get the support he needs. Hence he calls the police commissioner who obliges his political master.

hawkeye's picture

with spectacularly uneventful rides. Exactly as it should be.

Until Tuesday ... when the media machine was in full flight stoking the conflict to coincide with the laws coming into effect and giving motorists carte blanche to flout them by calling them unenforceable.

A cranky aggressive middle aged exec in a Golf started tailgating me when the light went green and revving his engine, giving me a double middle finger when I told him to back off.

I dealt with that appropriately but the tabloid media and the part they play in feeding the hate is reprehensible.

StanTheMan's picture

totally agree with hawkeye. I found the same on Tuesday. Far more aggression on the road.

The media is 2 edged sword. On one hand, It may influence a retraction in some laws at a later time. On the other. The negative publicity is cause for concern. However I hope the aggression on the road will settle as people start forgetting about them (it already has). Only to be revived, when there is an attempt on fairness within the media to revoke some of those fines to make them fair.

Flynny's picture

My voice works really well as a warning device... Much friendlier than a bell.
Maybe we should all get the loudest air horns possible and see how that goes.

Interesting to hear reports of people reporting, with video evidence, instances with the 1m passing laws being ignored and police stating it not worth pursuing...

Sold down the drain by the Amy Gillette foundation to get a through their meter matters law that will make zero difference as it doesn't get enforced.

"I don't have one on my mountain bike and probably never will, but I don't see anything that says I'm any more likely to be fined for not having one now than I have been in the past."

Except for the police blitz that claimed a triumphant 200 fines issued that has been used as part of the us against them, anti cycling, those bloody law breaking lycra bandits, propaganda machine to stir up more hate on the road.

Of course they ignore the fact that at the same time as there was a blitz on cyclists netting 200 fines there was also 3000 fines issued to speeding motorists in an average day-no blitz needed

Interesting read here

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