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The Weather Network
Oct. 22, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Ring bike bells but pedestrians often don't hear them

Dear editor:

Ringing a bell on a bicycle to warn a pedestrian of one’s approach as noted in a letter ("Bikers on trails need to ring those bells," Sept. 24) cannot be faulted.

However, as an enthusiastic and experienced bicyclist and tour guide, I can say that pedestrians are not alert to “traffic” on the path and often do not hear a bell and even if they do their reaction can be unpredictable.

Yes, ring one’s bell, reduce approach speed, but unless eye contact is made between the pedestrian and bicyclist then assume the worst and either give a wide berth and ride around on the grass or if this is not an option, slow down pretty well to their pace.

The other recommendation I often hear is shout “on your left.” This relies on the party hearing you and indeed taking a safe and appropriate action. Bad advice.

Another impediment and a significantly risky one when passing pedestrians or another bicyclist, is them wearing headphones.

They either don’t hear you or even worse, react unpredictably when “suddenly” confronted by you passing – ask me how. I know!

Martin Harvey