Bike bells are no longer a fancy add-on that you only find on kids’ bikes. They are a safety feature that you can also fit on adult bikes. But you’ve to ask, ‘do I need a bell on my bike?’
In the United States, you need a bell on your bike in New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana, while it’s not mandatory in other states. You also need a bell on your bike in Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, and Germany.
In other countries like Australia and Canada, they don’t specify that you have to fit a bell on a bicycle. They use the term ‘a warning device’, which could be a bicycle bell, a horn, or any other device.
Generally, different countries and states have different bicycle bell laws, some requiring you to have the feature on your bike, while in others, it’s all up to you.
But overall, a bicycle bell is a safety feature that’s worth having, be it for personal safety or the safety of others. It shows cycling etiquette and can save you from hefty fines and other punishments in places where it’s mandatory to have it.
Let’s dig deeper into the subject.
In a rush? Check out the best bicycle bells on the hotlist below:
4 Best Bell Bikes Available On Amazon
1. REKATA Aluminum Bike Bell: Best Kids’ Bicycle Bell
2. Knog Oi Bike Bell: Best Mountain Bike Bell
3. Trigger Bell Safer Bike Bell: Best Road Bicycle Bell
4. NAPASA Electric Bike Bell: Best Electric Bike Bell
Do I Need A Bell On My Bike In The U.S?
In the United States, only a few states make it mandatory to use a bell on a bicycle when riding on public roads. These states include:
- New jersey
- New York
- South Carolina
Note that in other states, a bell is not mandatory. So, you can choose to fit one or not, depending on your preference. Most people who fit them do it to alert other road users when they are in tight spaces.
Overall, it’s a good idea to confirm the bicycle bell laws from your state before riding on public roads without it or even using it, as some road users may find it annoying and rude.
Do I Have To Have A Bell On My Bike In The U.K?
In the U.K, the Highway Code only indicates that all road users should be considerate. It doesn’t specify that a bicycle bell is mandatory, but it has become almost mandatory since it falls in the class of being considerate to other road users.
Note, however, that you can only use it to alert others, especially the old and blind, but not to make annoying noises on public roads. Doing the latter means you are not considerate to others, which may see you face the long arm of the law.
Do I Need To Have A Bell On My Bike In Other Parts Of The World?
In Australia, for example, bicycles should have a working warning device which could be a bell, a horn, or any other. So, though the country doesn’t specify that you need a bell, a bike bell falls into the category of warning devices almost by default.
The same goes for Canada. The Canadian government doesn’t specify that you have to use a bell on a bicycle but uses the name ’warning device’, which could be a bell or a horn or any other alert device like I mentioned.
The idea behind this law in Canada and U.K is to let other road users know that you are close by when riding on public roads, and nothing does the job better than a bike bell.
Other countries that require you to fit a bicycle bell while cycling on public roads include:
- Northern Ireland
- The Netherlands
Overall, bicycle bell laws keep on changing. So, it’s essential to confirm the details whenever you visit a new country or state.
Why Is A Bike Bell A Good Idea?
Essentially, a bicycle bell is worth having on your bike because of these reasons:
A bell’s primary role is to warn other road users when you approach. That makes it a safety feature, which benefits not only other road users but you too.
A bicycle bell is generally more important when you ride in heavy-traffic places as it allows you to announce your presence. As a result, you can avoid most accidents.
Riding without a bell sounds rude in some states. If you ride without it on some busy roads, you are more likely to shout most of the time, and you may confuse other road users.
However, having a bell on the bicycle will allow you to alert other road users calmly, and that’s etiquette.
What Are the Challenges of Using Bike Bells?
Bicycle bells come with a few setbacks that include:
Road Users Often Ignore Them
Most road users ignore the bicycle bell, no matter how hard you sound it. That’s a big challenge when you ride on public roads.
Bike Bells Aren’t Effective in Noisy Areas
If you ride in places with a lot of noise, likely, most road users won’t hear you. That poses a challenge when you draw closer to them as you could hit them.
How Do I Choose A Bike Bell?
Below are the things to consider when shopping for a bicycle bell:
1. Bell Type
Here are the general bicycle bell types:
a) Kids’ Bike Bell
Kids’ bike bells, as the name suggests, are intended for kids’ bikes. They are easier to use and primarily come in colorful designs.
These bells have a clear ringtone that is hard to ignore, thus an important safety feature.
One fantastic kids’ bicycle bell is the REKATA Aluminum Bike Bell that suits both boys and girls. This aluminum bell is user-friendly as it responds with a touch of a button.
Its installation is seamless and fits well on handlebars with an outside diameter of 22.2mm. The bonus is that it comes with a lifetime warranty, thus high-quality.
b) Mountain Bike Bell
Mountain bike bells are for traditional mountain bikes. They are as hardy as the bikes themselves and can produce a long clear tone, thus effective.
One impressive mountain bicycle bell is the Knog Oi Bike Bell.
It’s also aluminum in construction and generally suits handlebars with a diameter of 22.2-31.8mm.
c) Road Bike Bell
The only difference between a road bicycle bell and an MTB bell is that the former is louder. But as far as their build quality is concerned, these two adult bicycle bells are pretty solid.
One excellent road bike bell is the Trigger Bell Unique Safer Bike Bell.
This brass bicycle bell weighs 0.06 pounds, thus extra lightweight. Overall, this bell is quite loud, therefore, a good choice for urban commuting.
d) Electric Bike Bell
Electric bike bells are modern bicycle bells that come with rechargeable batteries and multiple sound modes. They are among the most effective on the road and the most user-friendly.
Overall, you cannot go wrong with NAPASA Electric Bike Bell. It comes with four sounds (whistle, horn, tram, and alarm) to offer you many options.
It also comes with a rechargeable battery that charges fully within 1.2 hours. Plus, it’s water-proof and dust-resistant.
This electric bicycle bell is generally suitable for handlebars with a diameter of 22.2-31.8mm.
2. Bell Quality
Given that bike bells are often cheaper, most of them feature low-quality materials. Such options, unfortunately, won’t serve you longer.
You have to get quality options. In that case, they should be firm, rust-proof, and UV-resistant if you want them to serve you longer.
3. Correct Fit
A good bike bell should fit well. You can tell that by looking at your bike handlebar’s diameter. The bell should fit nicely on the handlebar to allow you to use it comfortably.
4. Hand Orientation
Depending on whether you are left-handed or right-handed, pick the correct bike bell orientation. In that case, go for a right-handed option if you are right-handed and a left-handed option if you are left-handed.
Note, however, that most bells come with a right-hand orientation. So, you have to check carefully not to get the choice wrong.
5. Where To Put Bell On Bike
Overall, the hand orientation and the front brake position dictate where to put a bell on a bicycle. You need to fit it on the opposite end of the front brakes.
If you are left-handed, for example, it’s advisable to fit the bicycle bell on the right-hand side of the handlebar. That allows your dominant hand (left hand) to be on the brakes.
And if you are right-handed, you should fit it on the left side to allow your dominant right hand to be on the brakes.
When choosing a bicycle bell, road users must hear you when you sound it. That’s only possible if it’s loud enough.
People Also Ask
1. Is It Law To Have A Bike Bell?
Having a bell or not on your bicycle depends on the laws of your country or state. Some countries and states make it mandatory to have a bell on a bicycle when riding on public roads, while it’s not illegal to ride without it in others.
2. Can You Ride A Bike Without A Bell?
Yes, you can ride a bicycle without a bell in some places. In others, however, it’s mandatory to fit one when commuting on public roads.
3. Are Bike Bells Rude?
Some road users find bicycle bells rude, especially when they are too loud or sound them for too long. So, it depends on the road users and how long you ring the bell.
Do I Need A Bell On My Bike? Closing Thought:
Depending on your location, a bicycle bell may be mandatory or not. But overall, fitting this warning device makes sense for commuters, whether the law dictates so or not, as it keeps you and other road users safer.