It is universally uncool for any cyclist older than ten to have a bell on their bike handlebar. A bell is ugly, it adds weight to your new carbon fiber road bike frame, and it makes you look like a nerd. Isn’t it funnier and more exciting to yell “on your left!”, “behind you!”, or nothing at all as you zoom past pedestrians, hikers, dog walkers, baby strollers, or car drivers?
On the other hand, some may argue that bells, just like bike lights, are essential not just for your own safety but also for anyone else on your path. Announcing your presence is extremely important when you share the road with other pedestrians, bike riders or car drivers, and a “ding-ding” sound is more polite and more effective than any vocal announcement. People will react faster to the ring of a bike bell: it’s a sound universally known and highly recognizable. Nothing says “bike’s coming through!” more than a bike bell!
We can debate about how bike bells are or aren’t cool, but, being the most effective way to communicate your presence on the road, we can’t deny they’re an essential accessory to ensure your and the other road users’ safety. Whether you ride your bike through the city, commute to work every day, or you’re a reckless downhiller, there are plenty of circumstances where ringing your bell can make the difference between a collision and a safe overtaking. You can ring your bell coming closer to a car that is opening its doors on the bike lane, or to warn another slower rider that you’re coming behind him, and you can also ring it as you approach those blind corners while you’re riding your mountain bike downhill at top speed. A bicycle bell can be really helpful on mixed-use trails, where you have to deal with pedestrians, other riders, but also dogs and their leads cutting you off, kids running around, runners… In such a circumstance a bell can be as useful as your bike brakes!
Whether you’re an athlete or someone who just enjoy riding their bike once in a while, using the bike bell would make life easier for you and anyone around you. Plus, who still believes that bike bells are ugly? Did you take a look at the market recently? There are so many designs that they can fit any bike, personal taste, and pocket! Vintage and modern designs, traditional and electric bells, horns… Want luxury? You can spend up to 50$ for a bell! And if you’re really convinced that a bike bell would make you look like a nerd, you can always opt for one that doesn’t look like a bike bell at all!
1. Should I Use A Bicycle Bell? – Article by Human Cyclist