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View Full Version : Does anyone else ride with a whistle?


David
04-21-2010, 07:06 PM
I commute from SE to NE for work every day, and a few nights a week I go from NE to PSU for class, and then back home to SE. It's pretty encompassing ride around the perimeter of inner Portland.

Anyway, after almost getting sideswiped several times riding up Broadway (before the cycle-track starts) I decided to ride with a whistle. I have it on a chain around my neck, and it's actually really handy. You can definitely hear it inside a car, which I know because I've stopped a few in their tracks who were about to hit me.

My favorite near run-in with a car was a guy who didn't look into the bike lane at all and was beginning his right turn. The wrong way onto a one-way street. Brilliant. Anyway, I used the whistle and he stopped and actually realized that I was there and that he was about to run straight into traffic.

Does anyone use a whistle as a horn?

OuterToob
04-21-2010, 08:09 PM
I can actually whistle really loud naturally and find myself needing to alert drivers and other folks very often when I'm on my bike. I also find the high pitch noise can alert the driver even with their windows closed - this is handy.

I say if you're communicating with it and using it to avoid accidents - heck yeah, use your whistle. My only word of caution: be careful riding around w/ something in your mouth - you don't want to swallow that thing.

Simple Nature
04-21-2010, 09:35 PM
I bought a whistle for back-country rides. Works well on errand dogs.

canuck
04-22-2010, 07:16 AM
I used one when I lived in Toronto.

While waiting at a stop light a Police cruiser pulled up and the officer asked me if the whistle was to warn cars.

Told him cars weren't the problem, it was the more to alert pedestrians.

He thought it was a good idea.

SeaBike
04-22-2010, 09:38 AM
I bought a whistle for back-country rides. Works well on errand dogs.

What kind of errands are the dogs usually on?

Bent Bloke
04-22-2010, 09:57 AM
What kind of errands are the dogs usually on?

Probably territory marking. ;)

jr98664
04-22-2010, 06:10 PM
I should find one that I can clip to the hose of my CamelBak. That nozzle is almost always near enough my mouth it might just work.

Simple Nature
04-22-2010, 08:43 PM
What kind of errands are the dogs usually on?

Usually out to bite on tires... but when you ride a recumbent trike, you are pretty much as face level [read: Fang level] of most medium to large dogs. Therefore they may just be out to catch lunch on a roll.

flying_dutchman
04-26-2010, 08:07 AM
I rode with one of those deer whistles. The problem was that I installed it backwards and the deer followed me around like puppies.

biciclero
04-27-2010, 02:20 PM
In Oregon, using a whistle is technically illegal:

815.280 Violation of bicycle equipment requirements; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of violation of bicycle equipment requirements if the person does any of the following:

(a) Operates on any highway a bicycle in violation of the requirements of this section.

(b) Is the parent or guardian of a minor child or ward and authorizes or knowingly permits the child or ward to operate a bicycle on any highway in violation of the requirements of this section.

(2) A bicycle is operated in violation of the requirements of this section if any of the following requirements are violated:

(a) A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator of the bicycle to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

(b) A person shall not install or use any siren or whistle upon a bicycle. This paragraph does not apply to bicycles used by police officers.
...

Simple Nature
04-27-2010, 07:14 PM
doesn't that say you cannot use a whistle on a freeway?

David
04-27-2010, 10:26 PM
In Oregon, using a whistle is technically illegal:

815.280 Violation of bicycle equipment requirements; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of violation of bicycle equipment requirements if the person does any of the following:

(a) Operates on any highway a bicycle in violation of the requirements of this section.

(b) Is the parent or guardian of a minor child or ward and authorizes or knowingly permits the child or ward to operate a bicycle on any highway in violation of the requirements of this section.

(2) A bicycle is operated in violation of the requirements of this section if any of the following requirements are violated:

(a) A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator of the bicycle to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

(b) A person shall not install or use any siren or whistle upon a bicycle. This paragraph does not apply to bicycles used by police officers.
...

That's definitely a "law" worth breaking. Cars get horns. I get my whistle.

biciclero
04-28-2010, 11:36 AM
doesn't that say you cannot use a whistle on a freeway?

There are subtle differences among the terms highway, freeway, and roadway when used in legalese. I don't know what the detailed distinctions are, but for the purposes of the ORS, I know that highway means pretty much any paved surface.

biciclero
04-28-2010, 01:12 PM
Cars get horns.

I wonder about air horns--would they be considered "sirens" or "whistles"? I agree that if anybody needs a sure-fire attention-getter, it's cyclists who ride anywhere near clueless/blind motorists. There have been a few times I've wished I had something loud and obnoxious.

Alan
04-28-2010, 03:40 PM
IANAL, but...

ORS 801.305 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/801.305) says "Highway" means every public way, road, street, thoroughfare and place, including bridges, viaducts and other structures within the boundaries of this state, open, used or intended for use of the general public for vehicles or vehicular traffic as a matter of right.

(Heh! 801.305 was mentioned here before, back in Sep 06 (http://www.bikeportland.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1887&postcount=18). Ya listenin', Simple Nature? :D )

I'm wondering if the sausage-making that is legislation simply got confuzzled when laws were written applying to "vehicles" and the authors didn't consider all the differences between autos and bikes. It sure looks like they might have swiped a bit of code for 815.280 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.280) (no whistle on bikes) from some other laws about "exhaust whistles" on cars. Maybe they had just enough caffeine to say to themselves, "well, duh, bikes don't have exhaust so we'll just ban the whistle part..." Duh, indeed.

As long as I'm nit-picking, it also looks to me as though bells are prohibited on bikes, as it doesn't specify only motor vehicles in 815.225. Another case where laws related to bikes need clarification. Meanwhile, as far as bike safety, selective adherence to those laws with judicious use of the noise devices makes sense to me.

815.225 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.225)
Violation of use limits on sound equipment
(1) A person commits the offense of violation of use limits on sound equipment if the person does any of the following:
(a) Uses upon a vehicle, any bell, siren, compression or exhaust whistle.
...

815.230 (https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/815.230)
Violation of sound equipment requirements
(1) A person commits the offense of violation of vehicle sound equipment requirements if the person drives or moves on any highway or owns and causes or knowingly permits to be driven on any highway any vehicle that violates any of the following equipment provisions:
(a) A motor vehicle must be equipped with a horn in good working order, capable of emitting sounds audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet.
(b) No vehicle shall be equipped with any bell, siren, compression or exhaust whistle.
...

vehicle (https://www.oregonlaws.org/glossary/definition/vehicle):
1. "Vehicle" means any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway and includes vehicles that are propelled or powered by any means. "Vehicle" does not include a manufactured structure. [1983 c.338 109; 2003 c.655 94]
2. "Vehicle" means any wheeled conveyance in, upon or by which any property, livestock or commodity is or may be transported or drawn, but does not include railroad rolling stock.