Hi Folks,

One of our fellow Linear Pathway users posted the quite constructive (IMHO) remarks below at the PortBUG web site today. I wonder if the riders in question even have bells on their bikes...?


Could you please send a note out to your fellow bike riders about showing consideration for walkers on shared use paths. This morning my wife and I were walking along the path near the river in the city. Four MIL’s [I presume this means 'Men in Lycra'] came flying past us without any warning they were coming through. I yelled out that they should give warning they were coming through and was just ignored.

The thing is bike riders demand respect from other road and path users. I  believe to get respect you should also show it. Now an argument could be we aren’t all like that. Well guess what neither do all drivers dislike bike riders but it’s easy to lump them all together around a latte fueled chat and moan session.

So if bike riders want respect from people who choose to walk, then perhaps a behavior change is in order. 

Regards Jack Mann"

Pretty reasonable sentiments about what seems to be somewhat unreasonable riding behaviour! Does this incident sound familiar to any of you 'MILs' out there?

Just as a reminder - from 'Cycling and the Law' (my emphasis):

"When riding on any path you must:

  • exercise due care and consideration for pedestrians and other users
  • give warning to pedestrians or other path users by sounding your bell or horn or by other means, if necessary for the purpose of averting danger
  • keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider...

Specifically when using footpaths or shared paths you must:

  • keep to the left of the path unless it is impracticable to do so
  • give way to any pedestrians."

It may also be worth remembering that the interaction between people cycling and pedestrians is regulated in the Australian Road Rules! When cycling on a footpath or shared path, a person cycling must:

  • give way to any person walking on the footpath or shared path;
  • ring a bell or provide a verbal warning to alert people walking, if necessary, to avert danger. This could be just a friendly “hello” to make sure the person walking is aware that you are nearby; and...
  • exercise due care by travelling at a safe speed and being prepared to stop if necessary.

Under the Australian Road Rules, a person cycling may be charged with an offence in the same way as when a person drives a motor vehicle.  This includes demerit points against a person’s driver’s license if they hold one or may prohibit someone from obtaining a license in the future. (the above from the LGA website)


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Arseholes be arseholes, no matter what method of locomotion they choose. It's not actually very hard to be courteous to your fellow travellers, it's simply that some people don't give a ****.

fit a bell? a bell? It would add 100 grams to my fibre de carbonio thoroughbred, and be most uncool

Not having a bell is a bit of a red herring. I choose to ride without one and never had an issue with pedestrians, shared paths and footpaths. Slow down, use your voice, leave plenty of space, say please and thank you. Job done.

Police are welcome to fine me, but the reality is no bell isn't making my cycling more dangerous.


Or another way to look at it is that you're a dangerous cyclist and a bell won't change that.

Obviously twodoor is having a pretty flippant comment there but now a dangerous cyclist?

Personally I think bells are a danger - takes longer to activate, has a very limited mode of action and can be pretty pathetic in volume. Compare that with one's voice.

I have heard/read anecdotal accounts in which pedestrians like cycling bells but frankly I have never had a problem simply vocalizing/talking to people. If I want to bomb past at top speed then I leave a *really* wide margin. One of the reasons I like a MtBike.

"Longer to activate" is an issue in an emergency, but coming up behind a pedestrian is not an emergency, in fact one usually has several seconds to choose exactly the time to ring. And for me at least, the bell has a few advantages over my voice: it sounds friendlier; its meaning is clearer (a yell could mean anything, or be misheard); and its volume is consistent (and plenty loud enough).

In an emergency though (like a car cutting me off), I yell.

And for the days when I have a sore throat and can't yell, I have two bells to make a symphony of warning!

>it sounds friendlier

Maybe, maybe not. Some people complain when I ring the bell, some people complain when I don't. Some people like to whinge no matter what - well make that lots of people.

@David Rossi As to being a dangerous cyclist for not having a bell - well hopefully that is made in jest - but I dunno more than likely it's part of the Australian penchant for being a stickler for the rules no matter how asinine they are.

Did the change in law regarding riding on the footpath somehow make model citizens out of those miscreant reckless law breaking cyclists who had no concern for the safety of pedestrians when they rode on the footpath? Or did it just normalise what is totally acceptable and normal most everywhere in world and repeal an asinine law?

Currently not having a bell makes someone into a law breaker and of course being a wilful law breaker brings into question their whole moral fibre.

I can almost hear the moral indignation from here.

I was riding down from the Kensington Road lookout the other day and a pedestrian stepped into my path.  I shouted my warning, of course.  Fumbling for a bell while trying to brake would have been impossible.

Having said that, I do have a ting a ling bell because it sounds friendlier (and is easier to hear by the elderly) for use on shared use paths. 

Ive read through this twice but cant find what riders need to do when the walkers have HEADPHONES on?

Ive tried these..

  • riding slowly behind until there's a safe spot to pass'[they think you're a stalker/mugger]
  • ringing bell constantly [ great way to receive The Bird]
  • formal letter from the Queen [this actually works but takes way too long] 

any other great suggestions that riders have tried?

Is this really a common problem? I find nearly all walkers either move over, are already far left, or at least leave enough room to pass slowly. 

Failing all that, I guess I'd take your first option (waiting to pass), perhaps with an "excuse me". Because the bottom line is we give way. But I don't think it's ever got that for me, at least not on the Linear park or any shared path.


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