Re: Yeah... Right
A bell is a polite, "i'm here by the way". Unfortunately the pedestrian reaction tends to vary from nothing at all (which is fine), to suddenly darting 'out of the way' (without bothering to look, so more likely darting into the way) - with the occasional person looking over their shoulder and stepping to one side or sometimes a torrent of abuse.
I tend not to not use my bell when passing pedestrians, as their reaction is too variable. When I need to pass a pedestrian, I will give them a wide berth or if I can't, I'll slow to a suitable speed (often their speed - or a stop if they are approaching), and pass when able to do so safely.
I'll reserve my bell for things such as blind bends (together with an appropriate speed).
> Bells are just a lazy way to say "Get the fuck out of my way, scum." and pedestrians should respond appropriately.
90% of the time, when pedestrians are in the way, it is because they are inconsiderately walking:
* slap bang in the middle of the path
* side by side, but 18"-2' from the person they are walking with
* along side but 30"-3' from a stranger they aren't with
* in a wide group
* with a dog on a long (often invisible) lead
* on the cycle side of a segregated path
There's no requirement for pedestrians to be considerate - and I don't expect it (though most people are considerate) - but if you are in the way, it is very likely because you are inconsiderate.
(the above of course relates to shared and segregated cycle/footpaths)