Listening For The Cha-Ching

You could wear headphones on your walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but I really would advise against it.  If you wore headphones, you’d be eliminating the effect of one key safety device that might otherwise protect against a catastrophic bike-pedestrian collision.

IMG_3207It’s that little metal bike bell with the lever that you push to make the shrill cha-ching sound.

The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is great, but you are sharing the narrow walkway with other walkers, joggers, people pushing baby carriages, people taking photos, and cyclists.  And the cyclists are usually in a hurry to get to work or to get home.  They labor up one side of the path to and then across the bridge, but when they hit the downslopes they really take off — and if you stray from the walker side of the road you risk getting run over.

This is where using your ears comes in.  On the wooden part of the walkway, the approaching cyclists make staccato thundering sound as they charge across the planks.  But on the asphalt sections they’re like a whisper in the wind — which is why the little cha-ching bells are so important.  On several occasions I heard cyclists use the bell to warn people to move over as the bikes came rolling past.

I don’t think I’d ever heard bicyclist use the little metal bells before, but every bike in New York and Brooklyn seems to have them.  And thank goodness they do!