Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Bells on Bikes event a big success

Posted by on May 17th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

A group of volunteers concerned about bicycle and pedestrian safety on crowded bike lanes and paths, handed out free bike bells to downtown commuters on both sides of the Hawthorne Bridge this morning.

bellsbridgesbig.jpg

Photo: Margaret Weddell

Community Cycling Center Board chair Margaret Weddell organized the event and said the reaction was “fantastic”:

“We had an amazing time this morning…Every pedestrian who passed said thanks. Cyclists seemed to appreciate the friendly reminder. We got lots of smiles and ringing. Those who were riding bell-free stopped to get a free bell and cup of coffee on the west side.”

bellsbridgessmall.jpg

Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves says that 150 bells were given away and/or installed. That’s not bad since the volunteers were only out there for a half-hour!

Passing out bells and holding signs were Janis McDonald and Mark Lear from PDOT, Ben Pierce from the Community Cycling Center, Stephanie Routh from Green Empowerment & Shift and Emily Gardner from the BTA.

Weddell says they now have plans to do this on the Broadway Bridge if they can find a safe spot to set up.

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Wyatt
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Wyatt

There was a guy named “Matthew” there who installed my bell.

Thanks Matthew!!

Sherry
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Sherry

how funny…I just got back from a trip to see my dad, and his bikes that we were riding had bells. It made me realize when I got home a couple days ago, that I really, really need to get one…then, voila! this morning to my surprise, a bell was installed on my bike while I drank coffee…thank you Bike Gallery!

tonyt
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tonyt

Hmm, the one sign, “don’t be a silent passer.”

snicker snicker.

Okay, I’m putting a bell on my bike when I get home.

Elly
Guest
Elly

Awesome idea! The Broadway Bridge is a bit tricky, but have you considered setting up shop on the Steele Bridge to catch more of the recreational esplanade riders?

nevin
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nevin

I agree Elly. A lot of people strolling on the waterfront complain about being passed without warning.

peder horner
Guest

Instead, how about someone holding signs that say “Don’t bike or walk with your iPOD so loud you can’t hear someone yell ‘on your left!!”?

I heard Washington outlawed cycling with headphones/mp3 players. Is that true?

Mat
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Mat

I was glad to see you doing this today. I lived in Northern Virgina a few years ago and commuted to work in Washington, DC where almost everybody used a bell or said “On your left” when passing. It saved a lot of stress and avoided accidents. I do find it a bit curious that most people in Portland don’t warn people when they’re passing, particularly considering the large number of bike riders here. Keep up the good work!

cow
Guest

maybe a cycling “etiquette” brochure is in order.

erin g.
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erin g.

As a daily bike commuter and big fan of passing etiquette and shared-path courtesy, I’d like to appreciate my gratitude to all who organized, volunteered, and donated towards making this morning’s bell give-away/awareness campaign so fantastic. I love my new bell and will test it out as I ride home from work today.

I wanted to leave a tip for the friendly gift and gratis install that I received this morning, and I was told that the best way to express my thanks was to simply make a donation to the BTA or CCC. I will do just that, and I encourage fellow free bell recipients to do the same!

Thank you again, folks. Ride safely, and have fun under these fender-free skies!

Erin G.

erin g.
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erin g.

P.S. – I wasn’t sure how to post hyperlinks to donation pages…would anyone be interested in doing so? Thanks! (Btw, I wanted to -express- my gratitude…not “appreciate” it. Looks like I’d better get out on my bike and off the computer!)

Michelle
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Michelle

We wobbly slow types sure do appreciate the audible warning – and you really never know when we’re going to wobble!

Sometimes saying “on your left” can feel a little awkward. Something about yelling unexpectedly in public. But a bell is so cheery and elegant – never awkward!

This is a great campaign! Nice job Margaret for getting it going (and who donated the bells – BG?).

The Hawthorne and Broadway Bridges and the Esplanade are only going to get more crowded as biking and walking become more popular. So it’s time to start working on “Share the Path” as well as “Share the Road.”

I’m on vacation but I really miss all of you…just by the way…

heather andrews
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heather andrews

I [heart] my bike bell!

Words cannot describe how happy it made me to get to “brrring-brring!” thirty or forty times on my way home (in addition to my previous practice, saying “on your left,” to cover all bases).

Heaven help the people who ride with me in the future. It’s gonna be noisy. : )

Martha S.
Guest
Martha S.

I really ought to get a bell myself. I aggree that saying something like “on your left” just seems odd sometimes and it seems like it makes pedestrians jump almost as much as it would if I were to pass silently. Bells just seem so friendly. ^_^

Amy
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Amy

Thanks to all who provided this public service. I used to walk across the Hawthorne bridge everyday when I worked downtown cuz I didn’t have a safe place to keep my bike. I was often startled by bikes coming up behind me, causing me to be ultra paranoid when I passed other pedestrians. As a current daily bike commuter, I appreciate all efforts aimed at raising awareness among other bicyclists. I’m all for giving a kind warning to avoid collisions.

beth h
Guest

The focus on cycling ettiquette is long overdue and really appreciated. Bravo!

Disclaimer: I collect vintage bicycle bells, an odd holdover from my days as a concert percussionist. I collect more for sound than for appearance.

That said, here are my faves: I like the brass models, especially the Big Brass model now available at many shops. Brass makes a sweet sound that has relatively good travel and long tone sustain. My other favorite is the old-fashioned chrome bell (also available at most shops), which makes the loud-yet-friendly “brrrring!” sound.

Bells are a GREAT idea and they make a good addition to ANY bike.

Dropped
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Dropped

Bells are a great idea.

Unfortunately, “on your left” actually causes many — particularly casual riders — to instinctively MOVE TO THEIR LEFT.

janis
Guest

I had a great time seeing all those cyclists and cheering them on. Thank you Margaret and Barb for organizing the event.

I agree that there needs to be a trail etiquette brochure. We at PDOT are working on one, but seriously it is all about common sense and mutual respect.

We are also organizing an “I Share the Multi-use Path” as part of our Bike Brown Bags Series, July 19 noon to 1pm. There will be a fieldtrip from the Portland Building! For more information you can check it out at our website:

http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=34816&a=144945

Cheers, Janis
janis.mcdonald@pdxtrans.org

Mack
Guest
Mack

Thanks for the bell, it’s a great idea.
I also am uncomfortable with yelling “on yer left”, other bikers and walkers always seemed shocked to hear me say it.

peder horner
Guest

Bells add too much mass for me. My vox is massless, and I shall stick with it.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

I want to highlight this event as an example of what big things one person can do with a little idea and a little time. Margaret had the idea and the will to get signs up to help educate folks. She sent an email to a couple of friends and they offered their support. Then, before you know it, we have a new program -Bells on Bridges – that makes mutlitudes of people happy and safer. I think that’s pretty cool. Margaret probably spent 3-4? hours getting ready for this event – me an hour. Pretty small investment for such an AWESOME event.

This event was SO much fun. Thanks to everyone that stopped to get a bell or repairs or coffee or tea or pastry or a visit. I know all of the Bike Gallery crew had a BLAST chatting and installing bells. It was so much fun for me, I’m still on a high – a day later – from all of the good energy out there!

Special thanks to Barry Joe Stull who showed up to provide fabulous live music for us. He’s the epitome of a cycling musician – his mandolin case is worn from where it rubs on his bike rack – he loves bikes and riding and sharing his music. It was so nice of him to grace us with mandolin music.

And, thank you to all of the sign holders and to Scott and Ken that were there handing out information.

Oh and thanks to Mother Nature for the wonderful warm and sunny morning!

see you next time (?)
Barbaroo G.