OK, so I am interested in what people think about bike bells and bell etiquette.
On the one hand, my understanding is that it is right and proper to let people know you are riding up behind them with a confident BRING BRING.
WHEN exactly does one do this?
WHAT if you inadvertently frighten the CRAP out of someone.
WHY isn't there an agreement about what this loud announcement requires of someone walking along a bike path/path?
And HOW I cringe when I see people JUMP at the sound of the bell and LEAP right off the path as if I am going to MOW THEM DOWN instead of pass them sedately on the right.
And then there is the issue of ringing one's bell too soon because to ring it too CLOSE might be LOUD and FRIGHTENING - which means that people might not hear.......or you think they have heard, and for a little while you are HAPPY they they have heard the bell, not panicked and are waiting for you to pass them on the right - no fuss, no bother, see, humans can co-exist in the same world - easy ...... which all comes tumbling down when they LEAP up in the air with FRIGHT as you come up behind them..........yelling "why don't you use your BELL!!!!!?"
SO of course I apologize. Profusely. Imagine - apologizing for RIDING ONES BIKE OUT IN THE WORLD IN PUBLIC....... SORRY for not taking my car.....SORRY for being PART OF THE SOLUTION......SORRY for being in public space.......SORRY we haven't found a way to co - exist on these multipurpose paths.....SORRY our %$#^&head government thinks that shared paths that pit cyclists, poodles and pedestrians against each other or cyclists and speeding trucks together on the same infrastructure constitutes excellent cycling infrastructure.... SORRY but MOSTLY I am just sorry you got a fright and that you are perhaps stressed, angry, unhappy or sad about other things but you are choosing to TAKE IT OUT ON ME so I can hopefully smile and shrug and transform your unhappiness into love and light and acceptance........because I REFUSE to take your misery and PASS IT ON.........or something.
Anyhoo today, I was taking Queenie to Phillip for her very first service........and knowing the Hindmarsh / Melrose Dr intersection is all dug up with the bike and foot paths closed...I swapped over to the other side of the road and rode along the foot path.
Two people were walking along in front of me. I rang the bell, and then, when they didn't move over, slowed down and slowly passed them on the right........they were on the path - I was on the dirt - and said thank you.....and in reply I received a very cranky "Why don't you ride on the road or use the BIKE path... that's what it is for!"
My little heart sank for a moment - I was having such a lovely morning my defenses were not up at all so this angry barb got right in and dented my little heart........and I didn't know what or if to reply - I mean they didn't get a fright, they didn't have to stop or move off the path and there was room for me to pass and I did so at a very slow pace and in the end I just asked sweetly "Are you too selfish to share?" as I pedaled off..........
One of the reasons I am not a HUGE fan of humans......is that it can be quite tumultuous careering from the highs of happy, positive lovely random human experiences down into the clunky bruised wondering of what to do when the sad ones perpetrate their misery and unhappiness all over you.
Humans. I choose ducks any day.
As for the bell issue - I continue to be a student on this topic..........