I usually use my bell first and if I get no reaction I call out with my voice. The key is to give plenty of notice. In my experience, when I yell "passing on your left" the pedestrian usually hops to their left then turns around, sees me coming, then hops to the right!!
I don't always yell "on your left" I keep an eye on the pedestrians on the bike path and if they are staying on the pedestrian part of the path and there are no cyclists coming towards me (so I have room to move over to the left) I sometimes don't yell or ring my bell.
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I no longer use a bell as most pedestrians are either talking to each other, their dogs, on their phones, or plugged into headphones and can't hear anything except that before stated bullhorn. I try to ride the shared trails at less busy times, personally, but realize that doesn't work of a lot of people. I don't have a solution... and many pedestrians these days seem particularly oblivious to me.
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Good question. I use nothing but my vocal chords. But a recent cyclist / pedestrian collision in our community has the unpleasant backlash of a 10 mph speed limit on all local trails / walking paths. I always take great care around pedestrians, especially when they have a dog on a leash which might cross my path. But when the path is free & clear, I like to pump it up! I love seeing folks using the trails and like using them myself as a break from dealing with traffic. I like to believe we can co-exist without too much fracas.
One thing I HAVE noticed, especially during the darker days or mornings, is that the flashing light on my helmet seems to gain attention from pedestrians ahead of me and they'll often glance back and step further to the side.
With all the mp3 players plugged in I'm not sure that we can get their attention via sound unless with a bull-horn loud device that may frighten them right into our lane.
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What kind of bell/whistle/horn do you use? Here is the situation. About half of my commute is a very nice and "safe" combination walking/riding trail. That also creates a challenge because you have to be careful about pedestrians and joggers. I have a nice loud bell that I ring as I approach them from behind and call out on which side I will pass them (making sure I slow down ... just in case). About half the people acknowledge and thank me for warning them. The other half are either totally oblivious because they can't hear anything through their ipod or they look to the sky (expecting angels maybe?), reach for their phone, look to the ground as if they dropped something, etc. Most of the regulars have gotten used to me but there are always a few new people on the trail, especially as the weather gets cooler. Any recommendations?
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