The Department of Transportation was installing free bike bells on people's handlebars at an intersection on my commute home today. It made me really proud to live in a community with a government that values cycling. It turns out that you're legally required to have a bell on your bike while riding in the city, and now I'm wondering about this law. In an ideal world, bike bells would be used with the same frequency that a driver uses a car horn--basically only in emergencies. But too many cyclists use their bells to clear the sidewalk they're about to ride over or aggravate some pedestrians standing on the street when they could more easily just ride around them. Passive-aggressive bell use is discouraged, but let's face it, a lot of these bells will be used that way, and that will only hurt cyclist-pedestrian relations. Instead, the law should require everyone carry air horns. You can pretty much be assured those will only be used in emergencies or genuinely aggressive situations.
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