Cyclists, ring those bells
Sir, – Angela Long rightly implores cyclists to use their bells to warn pedestrians of their approach (Letters, September 29th).
As someone who cycles and walks in equal measure, with a well-oiled bell close at hand, it’s worth noting the path that divides the seafront and the Dart line between the Coal Harbour in Dún Laoghaire and the Martello tower in nearby Monkstown. The route is designed for the use and enjoyment of both pedestrians and cyclists and is marked accordingly, albeit poorly.
While cycling along the path, I’ve found that many pedestrians appear oblivious to fellow citizens on two wheels. Using your bell to alert walkers of your approach can be tricky. Do it too early and the young couples chatting away, sometimes pushing a double buggy, don’t hear you. Leave the bell ringing too late and you run the risk of creating a chain reaction with startled pedestrians scattering in various directions, some within a handlebar of your spokes.
If only the issue of cyclists using their bell were as simple as going ding-a-ling to avoid any accidental ding-dong. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I have on numerous occasions rung my bell while cycling on routes that are designated for both pedestrian and cyclists only to be shouted at by the pedestrian at the sound of the bell. To be fair to the pedestrian, it seems to be the shock of the sound of the bell that seems to trigger the anger. Of course, pedestrians wearing headphones are oblivious to any outside sounds. I think it may be a matter of “for whom the bell tolls”. – Yours, etc,
Clontarf, Dublin 3.
A chara, – Further to the Dún Laoghaire resident’s letter regarding the use of bells, may I respectfully encourage the use of one’s eyes. Those who value “health and bodily integrity” may well find it helpful to look both ways when wandering out in front of traffic.
Rather than speak of all-out war, I would encourage gratitude for increased public amenities and an acknowledgement that cyclists are pedestrians too (when we get off our bikes!).
If some people would be willing to sacrifice their ability to stumble in front of traffic with no repercussions, they might actually enjoy living in a society which encourages active commuting, green transport, and improved access to the sea. – Is mise,