Horn, Bell or Voice, how to warn others of your presence and intentions


Well-known member
Local time
3:40 AM
May 7, 2022
Sharing the road, trail or path requires harmony between cyclists, pedestrians and critters. Riding in Europe for many years I got used to the required bell. It’s a friendly sound and a good one can get some attention without being obnoxious. I have had the same Incredibell Duet for about 14 years. I am happy with it and I like a bell in general.

When overtaking another cyclist, I prefer to just say”on your left”.

So, what do you all use?
I usually do two quick rings of my bell. Despite the innocent intention of the bell as a simple warning, I find that some folks occasionally find it obnoxious (and seem to feel that I am being irritated by them being in my way). I prepare for this by passing them very slowly, flashing them a smile, and asking how they are doing today? That almost always gets me a return smile and we all go on our ways happily. <grin>

I will occasionally say “on your left” if they don’t respond to my bell, but again will try to pass them very slowly. I always avoid buzzing people.
I approach slowly......ususally will say....on the left.....always careful.....some people don't know left from right.....I've had people step into my path even after annoucing I am behind them.....the real kicker is people with dogs......I've had folks step off the walking path and still let their dogs have full access to a 6/8 ft leash......got to always assume people don't get it.
Given that most pedestrians on the paths I frequent are wearing those accursed earbuds, often as not I have to cut thru their music with a loud voice. As a passive aid, I try and pick rear hub mechs that click loudly when not pedaling. Very satisfying to have people visibly hear me coming on their own, glance back, nudge their partner, call their kid closer etc. Same goes for tires with tread patterns that hum. Particularly fat bike tires. Knobbies on pavement get a bad rap but they are great for announcing your approach.