We’re not about to make any regular New Year’s resolutions about diet, exercise, or being less wild at Nutcase HQ.
We are ready to send out a little hopeful wish, however, and it’s all about belling the bike.
In Copenhagen, where transportation biking is on a par with public transportation and pedestrianism, getting ‘belled’ while biking or while walking is a most common occurrence. It’s an audible way for a cyclist to say, “I’m here, I’m behind you, and most of all, I want to get by you. Move right!”
It’s rarely aggressive, this being belled. It is assertive, however. And most importantly, it’s a great way to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible.
For we all know two things: pedestrians (that’s all of us) are wildly unpredictable. We turn suddenly and without warning, we slow down inexplicably, and sometimes we wander into deep daydreams and step into danger quite unwittingly.
The second thing we all know is that forward motion likes to stay in motion. Another way to say this is that people who can go fast will, and sometimes they just might go faster than they should.
The bike bell, of course, does nothing to slow down speed freaks.
At least, though, bike bells make others aware of what is behind them.
And at their best, bike bells help to signal intentions. A bike bell can be seen as a friendly, ‘let’s get along’ type of way to tell other humans where we are and where we are going.
If you are a happy cyclist and are tootling along, there’s nothing worse than a speedster whizzing up behind you with no warning and taking your breath (and your good humor) away as he or she passes. Ditto if you are a pedestrian.
In North America, and other places where transportation biking is making inroads, bike bells are a little slow to catch on.
This is a pity, because bike bells are one of the best tools we have to ease those little tensions arising between the different people navigating city traffic.
Instead of seeing bells as the sound of impatience or frustration, as automobile horns are perceived, viewing bike bells as tools to keep us all safe and on our way would be so welcome for 2015.
Ring in the New Year with a bike bell – we’ve got six models to choose from and they’ve all got a happy ting-a-ling. Peace, love, and bells!
(P.S. Something else to look forward to in 2015 – nine new bell styles for spring 2015 release.)