A Conversation for International Driving Laws

A bell is required for your bike

Post 1


In Ottawa, Canada, you must have lights on your bike to ride after dark. This makes sense as you will possible get hit by a vehicle otherwise.

It is also required by law to wear a helmet. This makes sense as it will reduce chances of brain injury if you fall off or are hit, or some tragedy strikes.

You are also required to have a bell on your bike.

A few years ago there was a crackdown on bell-law flaunting bicyclists by the Ottawa police - rumoured to be something to do with dissapointing returns from parking fees and fines for the city. This was just after a crackdown on in-line skaters.

This bylaw caught many cyclists by suprise, as often when cycling and having to draw attention it is very safe to politely ask someone if you can pass, or yell if it is appropriate. This will allow you to maintain full control of the bike rather than manipulating a dinky little bell that goes "bink bink".

The only way most found out was an announcement in the paper that you will likely get caught unless you have a proper bell on your bike. I and many others ruched off to the bike shop to buy a bell. This was a sudden boon for the bike shops, there was a brisk and competitive trade in little aluminium bells that go "bink bink" and meet the police spec.

Apparently the fine for not having a bell is about $100. The fine for driving through a red light, quite customary in Ottawa, is also about the same (or at the time it was). This strikes me as perverse - would some dopey moron in a minvan hurtling through a red light suddenly slam on the brakes hearing "bink bink" from the cyclist observing the traffic laws and going through on a green light? Is driving against the traffic signals equally heinous as not having a bell on your bike?

A bell is required for your bike

Post 2


I had to learn some rules how to bike here in the Netherlands. No rules about assecoires, condition, etc., anything that has two wheels, and is able to carry you is called a bike. This is tricky for foreigners, because they buy a seemingly good bike without a technical knowledge, and they discover the problems in the middle of the traffic...and no bells are required, because Dutch people do not hesitate to instruct loudly you what to do....
There are no rules anyway for bikers, only be on the road where the sign shows, and do not cause inconvenience to others.
So, even the lack of regulation can be annoying sometimes.

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A bell is required for your bike

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