Unfortunately, not all bikes come equipped with bells. Since bells alert pedestrians by signaling and help avoid accidents, riders need to use bells on bikes. Also, some countries have strict laws regarding bike bells.
A study shows that between 2005 and 2015, a total of 3414 pedestrians collided with bicycles in England. Of those, 763 were seriously injured or killed. This study makes us realize how important a bell is on a bike. But do all bikes have bells? So today, I will discuss the important role of bike bells, their uses, and more. If you like and love to ride bikes, stay with me sometime.
Bike bells are percussive signaling instruments we used to warn pedestrians, vehicles, and other cyclists. Normally, a cyclist has to use his fingers to ring the bells. As a bell is an essential safety part of bikes, especially commuting bikes, it must be on your bike for the safety of pedestrians and your safe riding.
Types Of Bike Bells
Bike bells are mainly of two types: classic bicycle bells and air horns.
Air horns are usually electric and loud. In most cases, they are triggered by pressing a button. We also used this type of bell on electric bikes and other vehicles like motorbikes, cars, and ships.
- Anyway, by bicycle bells, we mean classic bicycle bells, we commonly found 5 types of classic bales in the market. Now our discussion will get priority about these types of bells.
1. Traditional Bike Bells
These bells are made of steel or brass that produces reasonably high decibel levels, and they look like coiled cylinders. Traditional bike bells use thumb-activated levers and are placed on the handlebars for easy access. These types of bells now have plastic tabs on their arms, which, when pressed, make the old and traditional ‘ding’ sound.
2. Metal Bell
The characteristic of metal bells is that their sound does not disturb pedestrians. These bells make a soft ‘Tring Tring’ sound to warn other cyclists or pedestrians but not so loud that they feel annoyed. Furthermore, metal bells are somewhat small and easy to use.
3. Clapper Bells
Many companies have tried to vary the sound of bike bells, so the clapper bells make a slightly different characteristic ‘ding ding’ sound. These types of bells also look a little different from traditional bells or metal bells.
4. Modern Classic
If you prefer bike bells with a simple mechanism, then Modern Classic bells can grace your bike. Moreover, bikers can repair these bells themself with no problems. The simple mechanism, retro design, and vintage ‘ding ding’ sound make this bell a favorite among bike riders.
5. Futuristic Rings Bike Bells
Some people probably prefer futuristic materials as we love old traditions. And, you can call the Futuristic rings bike bell the most modern bike bell of the time. These bells made of metal have an amazing design and impressive sound that is very appealing.
Do All Bikes Have Bells?
Despite being an important part, unfortunately, not all bikes have bells. Nevertheless, Bike bells are especially helpful in getting blind and partially sighted pedestrians out of your way. Thus from 2020, the authorities of different countries are considering the issue of bike bells more seriously. But the question is why don’t manufacturers include such an important part like the bell on all their bikes?
The answer is that it is not illegal to ride a bike with bells in many countries around the world, including the USA and the UK. But some countries have strict laws regarding bike bells and there you have to pay a fine for riding a bike without a bell. Among such countries are Australia and Northern Ireland. And, for a better understanding of why manufacturers market bikes without bells, we need to know these laws, so the very next part is about this topic.
Bike Bell Laws In Different Countries
❖ Bike Bell Laws In The USA
Authorities do not consider bicycle bells a legal requirement in most US states. Some states have exceptions to this rule, such as Indiana, Georgia, New York, and New Jersey. Bike bells are a legal requirement in these states, and you must use bells on your bike. Because laws vary across the United States but are strict, so you need to check the local laws in the area where you are willing to cycle.
❖ Bike Bell Laws In The UK
If you notice the UK Highway Code, rule 66 states that a rider can communicate his position to others if necessary. This means, you can ring the bell to inform others of your location, but it is not mandatory. Although the use of bells on bicycles is not legally compulsory in the UK, the authority advises riders and vendors to have bicycles equipped with bells. Bikes will have bells, but whether to use them is up to the rider.
❖ Bike Bell Laws Around The World
Bike bells are not legally mandatory in most countries around the world. But in Australia, Holland, Germany, Northern Ireland, and some states in Canada, bicycle bells are legally required. These laws are also being updated because of the increasing use of bikes. Therefore, it is wise to know the bike laws of the area where you live or where you want to ride.
After knowing the laws of different countries or regions, now you surely understand why manufacturers do not include bells on all bikes. The bottom line is that this happens because there is no legal obligation. Since bike bells are essential for your safe bike ride, I think you should not skip them.
Why Do We Need Bell When Cycling?
You must use the bell on your bike for your own sake and that of others on the road. One of the two main reasons for using bike bells is safety, and the other is affordability. Let me explain these matters.
👉 Safety & Concern:
Bells can play a very useful role in a rider’s safety, especially when driving on crowded roads or village roads. And, for avoiding collisions with other cyclists or pedestrians on the road, we need to use bells to warn them. Even nowadays rural roads may also collide with pets or the like and we can avoid this type of collision by warning using the bell.
The cost of this important component of the bike is quite low. You can find many quality bike bells for just $5 to $10. And the best thing is- not only can install these at a very low cost but also install them by yourself within 2 minutes.
If you don’t know how to install a bike bell, then keep reading. Because now I am going to talk about the entire process.
When Should You Use Your Bike Bell?
You should use the bike bell when you need to alert or tell your location. Imagine, you are riding a bike down a narrow road and there is a slow rider in front of you. If you want to overtake him, signal by ringing the bell. So that riders on the road will be alert and leave room to overtake you.
Similarly, pedestrians often walk haphazardly on crowded roads. And, you need to signal to avoid accidents by passing them. Bells do this signaling, they get alert, and make your way. If I summarize the time of using the bike bell, the points would be:
- When you ride on a route where there are many other bike riders.
- While cycling in high pedestrian traffic.
- While riding a bike on the road.
How Do You Put A Bell On Your Bike?
As I said before, installing bells on a bike is very easy. You will be able to fit bells on your bike in a short amount of time. I would like to describe the entire process in 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Open Bottom Bracket
Bike bells usually have a bottom bracket to install on the handlebars. And, one or two screws attach the bottom bracket to the main body of the bell where the number of screws may be one or two depending on the model of the bell. So you need to remove these screws first.
Step 2: Insert Bell Into The Handlebar
After opening the bottom bracket, insert the bell into the handlebar of the bike.
At this stage, you need to ensure that you place the bell in the correct position on the handlebars. We usually place bells on the left side of the handlebar which should be easily accessible.
Step 3: Tighten The Screw
After setting the bell in the correct position, now tighten the screws.
- If there is one screw, make sure you have tightened it, and the bell does not rotate with the handle.
- If there are two screws, don’t tighten one screw at a time, but tighten them gradually. And, you have done the bell fitting correctly if the screw is tight.
Frequently Asked Queries
I have discussed more regarding bike bells so far. But beyond these, riders ask many more questions. Check it out and you might have similar questions too.
Is It Illegal Riding Bikes Without A Bell?
- Riding a bicycle without bells is not illegal in almost all but a few of the 195 countries of the world. So, yes, few countries have strict bike bells laws and penalties. Since laws are changing, you should know the local bike laws where you ride.
Do Road Bikes Need Bells?
- Yes, road bikes need bells. Although not legally required, road bikes need to have bells for your safety and that of other cyclists on the road. By signaling using the bell, you can avoid collisions with others.
Do Mountain Bikes Come With Bells?
- Most mountain bikes do not come with bells. If you’re riding on trails or mountain roads where there aren’t many people, bells aren’t as important. Nevertheless, if you want to ride your mountain bike on the road or pavement, you should use bells.
Is A Bell Required On A Bike In The UK?
- The UK authority recommends that bikes will equip with bells, but it is not compulsory. If you have to, you can use the bell to announce your location to others on the road. You might not use the bell on the bike.
Why Do Bicycle Bells Are At The Left Side?
- Generally, most of the riders are right-handed. So they feel more comfortable doing things like using the bell with their left hand. Also, bike gear shifters are usually on the right side. That is why it is more reasonable to mount the bell on the left side.
Bottom Line Regarding Bike Bells
Bike bells are a great way to keep your bike safe while you’re riding as they help be more aware of pedestrians and alert other riders of your presence. Yes, it plays an effective role in avoiding unintended accidents. But it is also important to remember bike bells are not essential in all states. So, make sure you use it sparingly and only when necessary. Safe Cycling!