I’m just back from Radio Derby

Today’s question: Would it make any difference to walkers in the New Forest whether cyclists all had bells on their bicycles?

This feels like a storm in a teacup to me but it is the reason why I was asked to go in to Radio Derby this morning: A debate in Parliament about walkers in the New Forest concerned about ‘rogue’ cyclists rushing silently past them.  Earlier in the programme there had been an excellent discussion with Tony Roelich of Derby Cycling Group, highlighting the importance of courtesy.


The bell on my Brompton bicycle. I find a cheery ‘Good morning!’ or ‘Cyclist approaching’ is kinder to alert others.

Putting a bell on a bicycle sadly doesn’t mean it will be used correctly, especially by ‘rogues’ (whoever they might be!).  And would enforcement of bells on bicycles be a good use of public resources?  What about bells on mobility scooters, or runners, or horses?  And what about people who are deaf, or engrossed in conversation, or deep in their own thoughts, or listening to music.

Tony got it right.  The key message is really that all users of public spaces should be aware of, and courteous towards, each other.

The radio debate went on to try to identify the worse people on our roads.  Lots of different categories were mentioned later in the programme.  Cycling home, I realised that my pet hate is people who shout abuse at other road users.  If something needs saying, say it politely, your message is more likely to be respected.  It’s courtesy, again.

Meanwhile, it’s been good to hear people phoning in to say that a polite call from an approaching cyclist is more use, and than a tingingly bell.    Let’s hope that our MPs see sense!


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