Bicycle Indiana recently learned that tucked away on page 269, of an omnibus bill from the 2016 session, was the deletion of the legal requirement for a bell on a bicycle.
The Indiana Code that required this is 9-21-11-8. All that remains of the code is:
A bicycle may not be equipped with and a person may not use upon a bicycle a siren or whistle.
I have no idea why this was changed. Bicycle Indiana wasn’t consulted about this change, nor do I personally know of anyone who this was discussed with.
When I first starting riding road bicycles, it was taboo to put such a hideous piece of equipment on your bicycle, along with the safety reflectors that came with the bicycle – those MUST be removed. 🙂
As I’ve grown in my bicycling lifestyle, I appreciate having a bell on my bike. It is a good way to signal your presence on the trail and on the road. My voice is not as consistent as my bell.
The big question is; do we think this is a good change in our state law? Will it make a difference to anyone? I don’t think that people put bells on the bike to follow the letter of the law. I think they put them on as part of their safety. Should bells be a recommended piece of equipment from the bike shop? Will bell sales decline because they are no longer required by law? Do bells really matter?
I for one, will continue to use my bell, as a gentle signal to other bicyclists, pedestrians, etc. that I am also on the road/trail with them.
–Nancy Tibbett, executive director, Bicycle Indiana