Bells on bikes, to ring or not to ring?

Christchurch City Council will promote and encourage the use of bells on bicycles as it creates a network of cycleways ...
TINA LAW/FAIRFAX NZ

Christchurch City Council will promote and encourage the use of bells on bicycles as it creates a network of cycleways across the city.

Christchurch cyclists are being encouraged to ring their bells.

The Christchurch City Council has agreed to promote and encourage the use of bells on bicycles as it embarks on a $156 million network of 13 cycleways across the city.

But, Christchurch man Dr Peter Tillman wants the council to go further and introduce a bylaw forcing cyclists to put bells on their bicycles, and ultimately he wants the Government to make bells on bikes compulsory.

"I'm fed up with walking my dog around the shared paths in Hagley Park and people shooting up behind me and not warning me."

He said his dog often got frightened and ran into cyclists' path.

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Tillman's letter to the Shirley Papanui Community Board sparked discussion on the issue and led the board to recommend the council promote the use of bells on bikes.

Councillor Ali Jones supported the council's move, but acknowledged some people thought the bells were rude.

She wondered if they could be made to sound less demanding and angry. 

"Maybe they could say 'yoo hoo or ting ting', rather than that really angry kind of ring that sounds invasive and urgent."

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Jones has suggested one way to encourage people to put bells on their bikes was to put photographs of historic people on them. 

She would like to see a public private partnership created where a company could produce bells.

Cycling advocacy group Spokes Canterbury spokesman Don Babe said anything that helped different modes of transport integrate better was a good idea. 

A straw poll conducted at the group's meeting last week showed he was the only one without a bell on his bike. 

Babe said he should probably get a bell but had not done so yet because he preferred to talk to people and warn them rather than ring a bell. Bells would not appeal to the lycra-clad road cyclists, but would be good when cyclists mixed with pedestrians, he said. 

 

 - Stuff

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