Yelling at people to let them know of your presence is rude and can be tiring, and that’s where a bell appears as a good alternative. But you may ask, do I need a bike bell on my bike?
A bike bell is necessary for two reasons; safety and legal obligation. A bike bell informs other road users of your presence, and that prevents an accident. Moreover, it’s unlawful not to have on while cycling in some places.
Note, however, that not all countries and states legally require you to have a bike bell on your bike. In the US, for example, in states like New York, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Indiana, it’s mandatory to have a bike bell.
A bike bell is unnecessary for other US states like California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana, and Minnesota. In Canada, a bell is not a must for most states, while in the UK, there is no law on using a bike bell. However, you have to let people know of your road presence without disturbing them.
A bell is a legal requirement in countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Northern Ireland, and Holland. Though a bell may be or not necessary in your state or country, it’s a smart move to have one.
This guide will look at the reason for having a bell on your bike, why not to, bike laws in given countries, bike bell types (Check on Amazon), things to look at when buying one, and how to install one on your bike.
Let’s get started!
Why Do I Need a Bell On My Bike?
Generally, you need a bicycle bell for these two reasons:
1. Ensures Safety on the Road
The first reason for having a bell on your bike (especially if you are a commuter) is to ensure safety for passersby, other cyclists, and yourself, and it reduces bicycle-related accidents.
So, a bicycle bell is necessary when riding on narrow paths and helps warm road users of your presence. Imagine wanting to take sharp corners without a bell? It could result in an accident.
Nowadays, there are different types of bells, and some sound differently, alerting pedestrians if you want to take a right or left turn.
Moreover, a bike bell is cheap, and installing one doesn’t require expert help.
All you need to do is to locate a perfect place around the handlebar and fix it. So, there’s no reason not to buy and set one on your bike.
2. It’s Illegal to Ride without a Bike Bell in Some States
The other important reason for having a bike bell is to comply with state laws. It’s illegal not to have one in some states and countries.
Let’s talk about bike bell laws in different regions.
US Bike Bell Laws
Some states in the USA legally require your bike to have a bell. These states include South Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana, New York, and Georgia.
Others that do not mandate having a bell on your bike include California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Montana.
However, since these states do not see a bell as a necessary tool, it boils down to your choice of installing one.
Before going on the road with your bike, consult your local bike laws regarding bike bells.
UK Bike Bell Laws
The UK rule 66 on the highway code indicates that cyclists should inform other people of their presence. However, it doesn’t legally specify that one should have a bike bell installed on their bike.
Having one doesn’t mean you should make annoying sounds and disturb other people’s peace of mind. It should only let others know of your presence, especially the blind and old.
Bike Bell Laws in Other Parts of the World
Bike bell laws differ from country to country. While it’s not mandatory in some, others don’t legally require a bell on your bike. So, check your country and local bike bell laws before riding in a new locality or country.
Some of the global countries that legally require a bike bell include some states in Canada, Northern Ireland, Germany, Holland, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Disadvantages of Bike Bells
As good as bike bells are, some people don’t see the good in them for these two reasons;
· Easily Ignored
Let’s face it, riding your bike in densely populated areas like towns, which are primarily noisy; people may not hear the bell sound. Not only that, but many pedestrians ignore them, not to mention the drivers with closed windows.
· Placement Issues
Bike bells are installed on the handlebar. They become a nuisance as you need to change the grip when sounding them. Most people don’t like this hassle, so they feel uncomfortable using bike bells.
Bicycle Bell Laws
Now that we have seen the reasons to have a bike bell on your bike let’s look at bike bell laws in different countries.
Types of Bike Bells
There are usually four different types of bike bells. They include:
a) The Classic Bike Bell
If you are looking for a classic, more modern, affordable bike bell, you should get the classic option. Classic bike bells produce a high-pitched sound that people at a distance hear and respond to.
Its setup is straightforward, and you can mount it on either side of the handlebar. You only need to use your thumb to ring it.
b) The Electric Bike Bell
The electric bike bell uses batteries and sounds louder than traditional designs. They come customized for easier usage and fit easily on your bike.
c) Clapper Bike Bell
The Clapper bell resembles the classic bells. The only difference is that they produce two ding-ding sounds instead of one.
d) Bike Horns
Another type of bike bell that some cyclists like is the bike horn (Check on Amazon). Compared to all other options, they are considered the loudest bike bell.
The only issue is the loud horn noise, which may damage one’s hearing and may also, instead of alarming people of your presence, scare them.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Bike Bell
Here’s what to prioritize when shopping for a bicycle bell:
· Correct Fit
One thing to consider when buying a bike bell is getting the correct fit. To get the fit right, you need to measure your handlebar diameter and style to ensure you buy the bell most suitable for the bike.
· Right or Left Hand Orientation
Another essential factor to consider when buying your bike bell is if you are right or left-handed. That will help you install the bell on the grip within your reach for comfortable riding. Ensure you install it properly to avoid the handlebar slipping when ringing the bell.
· Good Quality and Durable
This can be a challenge. It’s not easy to tell a good quality and durable bell since they come cheap and are made from inexpensive materials.
However, the trick is to check the bell with fewer moving parts, one that is UV resistant and rustproof.
A good bell should be loud. However, it should not be too loud, straddling and scaring people away, but it should be loud enough to alert people of your presence on the road.
The Process of Installing a Bike Bell
As we said, bike bell placement is straightforward. You don’t need to hire a professional to do it for you. Depending on your bike and the bike bell type, fit it on the handlebar and screw it to hold snugly.
Remember, most states recommend mounting the bike bell on the left side of the handlebar. This is because most bike bells use the right hand when shifting gears.
But if you are left-handed, you should look for a bike bell designed with a flipped lever (like some classic options) to allow you to use your left thumb to ring the bell.
People Also Ask
Is Not having a Bike Bell Illegal in the UK?
In the UK, a bell is not necessary. However, the UK highway code states that all bike riders should let people know their presence when on the road. Since shouting at people can be rude and tiring, you can install a bike bell.
Is A Bell Necessary On a Bicycle?
In some countries and states, a bike bell is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety. In others, a bell is not required. For this reason, installing one becomes a personal choice.
Is It Illegal Not to Have a bike bell Installed On My Bike?
While some countries consider it illegal, others don’t. For example, in the US states like South Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia, and New York, it is illegal not to have a bike bell on your bike, so before riding in a given state, it’s good to consult its local bike laws.
Should I Have a Bell On My Bike?
A bike bell is a must-fit in Northern Ireland, Holland, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia. Also, check some Canadian and US States that legally require your bike to have a bell.
Are Bike Bells Rude?
Well, bike bells are used for safety purposes and only to let people know of your presence. Though bells can be customized, we have some options (like the bell horns) that are louder than others, and these options can be considered rude.
In Summary, Do I Need a Bell On My Bike?
As seen, bicycle bells are the simplest way of letting people know of your presence on the road. So, whether it’s necessary or not to use a bell in your state or country, it’s still a smart move to use one for your safety and the safety of others.