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Old 19.04.2011, 13:07
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Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

What's the bike bell etiquette in Zurich? Does one ring the bell as a "polite-greeting-don't-want-to-startle-you" gesture, or does it mean "if-you-don't-move-a-collision-is-imminent"?

I haven't been able to figure this out from watching and/or listening. I know that opinions about appropriate bike bell usage are often not unanimous, but I'd welcome your thoughts.
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:11
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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What's the bike bell etiquette in Zurich? Does one ring the bell as a "polite-greeting-don't-want-to-startle-you" gesture, or does it mean "if-you-don't-move-a-collision-is-imminent"?

I haven't been able to figure this out from watching and/or listening. I know that opinions about appropriate bike bell usage are often not unanimous, but I'd welcome your thoughts.
They usually ring their bell once to politely indicate that they are behind you.

It's not rude, and at least it's consistent so everyone knows what the bell is for.

If you're lucky you'll probably get a "merci" or a smile or something as they pass.
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:11
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

Given the noise restriction obsession I'd say it's the second option you wrote there, ie only in emergencies or if someones in the way (unless you can obtain a particularly happy sounding bell).
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:22
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

I'm going to go for the first option. There are a lot of shared trails, and it is very startling for a bike to come out of nowhere. Especially since most are deep into conversation when walking.

I ususally ping well a head of time, to give time for a second polite one if it was not noticed.

This is of course with a gentle ping bell. A loud air horn wouldn't go off as well.
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:34
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

Give pedestrians plenty of warning with the bell (or a shout) if you're coming from behind and there's no way past, or if it doesn't look like they're paying attention.
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:44
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

You should not cycle on pavements or footpaths, nor on the "Wanderweg".

If the pedestrian is on the cycle path, then a strong bell action 20 meters away gives them time to move but doesn't scare them.
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:54
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

I was meandering through Amsterdam when I heard a strange "clicking" noise. Curiosity glued me to the spot as I tried to work out what it was. I was nearly mown down by the source. Another lesson learned
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Old 19.04.2011, 13:55
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

Thanks! I tend to be a "howdy" bell ringer, so I'm relieved to know I haven't been inadvertently aggressive.

I rang on my way home today and seemed to startle a woman who was wearing headphones (a good bit of my commute into town is on a shared path). I wasn't sure if it was the headphones or if I had sounded an alarm.
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Old 19.04.2011, 14:17
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

Where did you buy the two golden colanders? They would look nice in my kitchen!
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Old 19.04.2011, 14:30
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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Where did you buy the two golden colanders? They would look nice in my kitchen!
Are you suggesting that women belong in the kitchen?
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Old 19.04.2011, 14:46
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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You should not cycle on pavements or footpaths, nor on the "Wanderweg".

If the pedestrian is on the cycle path, then a strong bell action 20 meters away gives them time to move but doesn't scare them.
This is not 100% true. Many footpaths are joint footpath/cycle lanes. In this case cyclists and pedestrians share the path and both need to be aware of the others use.

As for "Wanderwegs" again that's contentious. In many Kantons it's not strictly forbidden to cycle (mountainbike) on the Wanderwegs. In some (eg Graubunden) it is expressly allowed by law. In some places it is forbidden but strict "bike verbot" signs are actually quite rare.

With more mountain bike tourism generating revenue for ski resorts in summer expect more Kantons to explicitly allow mountain bikes on the wanderwegs and expect to see signs like the following creeping up in a lot more places.

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Old 19.04.2011, 15:04
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

The official "Waldgesetz" states that bikes are allowed on all Waldstrassen and -wegen unless explicitly forbidden. It is up to each Gemeinde to define what is a Waldweg and what is not. In most cases, the trails are not offically classified - hence the grey area.

As Eire states, it's all about trail tolerence. 95% of bikers and walkers share the trails harmoniously. Unfortunately, the 5% of inconsiderate bikers and selfish walkers threaten to upset the balance.

Cheers

Jekyll
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Old 19.04.2011, 15:29
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

When I am out hiking I am very grateful when a cyclist rings his/her bell with enough time to allow me to get out of the way. Given that I usually have the muttley crew with me - one of whom moves slower than many a snail - it takes a few moments to get everyone off the path and into a 'sit'. Advance warning is much appreciated.

Safer for you, safer for me.
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Old 19.04.2011, 15:32
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

I ding the bell many times while at the same time yelling "out of my way you morons!"
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Old 19.04.2011, 15:47
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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As Eire states, it's all about trail tolerence. 95% of bikers and walkers share the trails harmoniously. Unfortunately, the 5% of inconsiderate bikers and selfish walkers threaten to upset the balance.
If you have to move your children off to the side of a narrow path to let bikers past, a smile and a thank you from the bikers is greatly appreciated.

Last Sunday, we got a thank you rate of 100% from the bikers.

How do the cyclists feel about sounding their bells a good distance from walkers they plan to overtake on a narrow path to give warning?
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Old 19.04.2011, 15:54
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

Didn't realise there was a bell etiquette - I always wanted to get a klaxon fitted to my handlebars for sheer comedy value.
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Old 19.04.2011, 16:02
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

I don't have a bell; I always find a loud "Attention!" when I'm about 3 ft away seems to do the trick, especially if they are particularly elderly
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Old 19.04.2011, 16:16
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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If you have to move your children off to the side of a narrow path to let bikers past, a smile and a thank you from the bikers is greatly appreciated.

Last Sunday, we got a thank you rate of 100% from the bikers.

How do the cyclists feel about sounding their bells a good distance from walkers they plan to overtake on a narrow path to give warning?
I consider myself a very courteous cyclist - I even stop at red lights Anyway ... sometimes I don't ring my bell if I'm onn a cycle path and someone is walking along it as I prefer to go around them. I guess it could make the pedestrian jump as a cyclist "comes out of nowhere" (my bike is relatively quiet) but I find if I do ding the bell, the peds either freeze to the spot or go totally random and swerve all over the place. And as I don't know which option they'll pick I find it safer all round to just pass. Otherwise I ring from ages away, they unblock the cycle path, and I cycle past saying "thanks!" very politely, then swear at them under my breath later.
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Old 19.04.2011, 16:18
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

The problem with clearing a way through foot traffic and sometimes cyclists also occurs while out running as well...where I don't tend to carry a bell ...But like being on a bike when approaching people from behind who have ear phones on and getting thier attention can be problematic..

Also I have noticed that people out walking tend not to walk in a 'more or less' straight line..so making a quick pass through a gap is sometimes tricky as they will suddenly change direction (for what seems like no apparent reason) and cut you up...
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Old 19.04.2011, 16:21
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Re: Zurich Bike Bell Etiquette

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I consider myself a very courteous cyclist - I even stop at red lights Anyway ... sometimes I don't ring my bell if I'm onn a cycle path and someone is walking along it as I prefer to go around them. I guess it could make the pedestrian jump as a cyclist "comes out of nowhere" (my bike is relatively quiet) but I find if I do ding the bell, the peds either freeze to the spot or go totally random and swerve all over the place. And as I don't know which option they'll pick I find it safer all round to just pass. Otherwise I ring from ages away, they unblock the cycle path, and I cycle past saying "thanks!" very politely, then swear at them under my breath later.
That's what I've found as well when I've been cycling. A bell just creates chaos.

I have considered tying a cow bell to the handle bars but the loud ones are really heavy and cause you to steer all over the place.
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