I ride the ferry every day to get to work. I usually see at least three or four cyclists who take the boat from Staten Island to Manhattan on each boat. Today, I was looking at their bikes to see what kind of bike accessories they had. It was interesting to me that while some of them had bicycle taillights and some had baskets and panniers, ALL of them had bells or horns of some kind.
I thought about this and it makes absolute sense. New York drivers are not exactly known for paying the closest of attention to what’s going on around them (actually, this extends to all New Yorkers, but I digress…) so it sometimes unfortunately falls to the cyclist to make sure that cars on the road don’t hit them. This is where the horns come in.
Bells and horns are used to make others around you aware of your presence. It can mean, “I’m getting close to you so please get out of my lane, pedestrians,” or “Car, you are swerving into my lane and I happen to be in your blind spot.” It can also be helpful when you are pulling out of a street onto a main road or in conditions of poor visibility. Regardless of how you use it, it is an important tool in a bicyclists arsenal of safety tools.