I am in the habit of using my bell to warn pedestrians of my approach, particularly on bike paths and when there are people with kids or dogs. Pedestrians on shared bike paths often seem unaware of my approach and kids and dogs can behave quite unpredictably.
Last week, a friend walked to work for 3 days (while her car was being repaired) along the shared bike path that follows the tram tack from Goodwood Rd to King William Rd.
It was interesting to hear her comments as to how few cyclists used their bells to alert her of their presence and how many times she was taken by surprise as cyclists silently approached and passed by at quite high speeds. She also commented that it was females more than males that tended to use their bells to warn of their approach.
I must admit to being ignorant of any rules regarding use of bells to warn of approach but, to me, it just seems like a common sense thing to do.
I drove up from Stirling to Mount Lofty this morning. Passed one cyclist on the section of road between Mt Lofty House and the towers.who was doing his best to keep as far to the left as he practically could.....and at least two groups of walkers behaving like Brown's Cows...three abreast and oblivious to me waiting behind them trying to get past.
I replaced the modern day version of a bell (plastic dinging bit broke off) with a real bell - old-fashioned one. I use that on shared paths from approx 15 metres back (and slowing), have received much better responses in friendliness with the old one. Wise words from some 20th century thinkers still ring true today:
"... ring ring, happiest sound of them all..." And pretty much what Clive wrote as well.
All of my bikes which I use on the paths have a bell which I use to warn other users. I think it's ignorant not to.
I have just started using a bell and find on shared paths it seems to startle most people less than my previous vocalisation of "ding-ding".
I have been surprised though at how often I have to ring several times to be noticed, the old voice has a little more volume I think, but I have had more people looking back a bit peeved (or leaping erratically about whilst clearly shitting themselves) with voice than bell.
I'm still undecided. Voice more easily heard but less well received.
I always say g'day to people approaching head on, and thanks if they try to make space, and I thank those who respond to my bell from behind. I also get a few thanks in return, along with the odd "have a good ride."