Today’s Headlines

  • Deputy Mayor Asks Port Authority to “Reconsider” Bus Terminal Redesign Process (Crain’sWNYCNY1)
  • Komanoff to NYPD: A Bike Bell Wouldn’t Have Saved Matthew von Ohlen (News)
  • Dan Biederman: Penn Station Overhaul Needs to Include Better Streets for Pedestrians (Crain’s)
  • Tour Bus Driver Veers Onto Fifth Ave Sidewalk By Central Park, Smashing Into Tree (News, DNA, Post)
  • The Islanders Might Leave Barclays Center and Build an Arena By Citi Field (Post)
  • Nydia Velazquez Comes Out Against F Express (DNA)
  • Brooklyn DA Has Until January 17 to Indict the Drunk Driving Cop Who Killed Andrew Esquivel (Post)
  • Developer Envisions Cramming 12,000 Airport Parking Stalls Into Neighborhoods Near LGA (QChron)
  • Shocker: Watering Down Woodhaven SBS Hasn’t Placated the NIMBYs (QChron)
  • Jake Dobkin’s Sensible Bike-on-Subway Etiquette Tips (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Miles Bader

    I’m not doubting your experience, and I’m not defending a law requiring bells.

    I’m just saying your claim was overly broad.

    I’ve already found bells to have some use.

  • Simon Phearson

    The fact that you’ve heard a few conventional bells as a pedestrian doesn’t mean that, for the cyclist, they are generally all that useful. You are either walking in quiet places or are unusually attentive to the ringing of a bike bell. Most pedestrians and drivers do not hear or heed them. Conventional bells are also difficult to operate in situations where a cyclist must ride with caution, as I’ve noted. The only reason I would put one on a bike is to satisfy the law’s requirements. If I want to be heard and acknowledged in time to avoid conflicts, I have to something more piercing.

    Keep in mind that a cyclist can’t just swap out bells while riding, either. My own rides take me by quiet city parks and straight down Manhattan avenues. If the bell’s not good for one part of my ride, it’s not good for the ride, period.

  • Jonathan R

    I have a $10 bell that I can ring with my left thumb or forefinger while my hand is on the brakes. It’s super useful for letting people know I’m coming up behind them on the narrow multiuse path across the Washington (181st St) Bridge. I prefer the bell to shouting because the bell doesn’t get hoarse if I keep using it.

    I also generally ring my bell as a greeting to other bicyclists.

    I do agree with you that enforcement of the bell ordinance is harassment; I got a bell ticket in 1999 along with a red-light running ticket, and I was able to visit the police station the next day and get the bell ticket discharged.

  • Miles Bader

    I’ve used bells as a bicyclist too… :]

    I would probably label them as “occasionally useful” … a typical scenario when your way is blocked by group of kids, and you want to get by, or you’re not blocked but they’re rambunctious enough that you’re afraid one might inadvertently walk in front of you; a single <ding> serves to make them aware without being overly aggressive. It’s the sort of situation where an olde-skool cyclebeardbro would shout “on your left!” or whatever.

    I’ve done a lot of urban cycling, in all sorts of cities and all sorts of conditions, and to be frank, noisemakers in general have never seemed all that useful. In traffic, signalling your presence audibly is not something you can really rely on (so you basically need to act as if they didn’t hear you), and runs a very real risk of inducing road-rage. In a pedestrian environment, the risks are smaller, but typically you still need to act conservatively.

    [And I’d go so far as to say the same is true for cars: like 95% of horn uses seem to be simply to express annoyance, and frankly, that probably does more harm than good.]