New ordinance aims to make fixed-gear bicycles noisier, safer
A new ordinance at USU dictates that all riders of fixed-gear bicycles wear bells “like cats.” The ordinance was proposed to help reduce bicycle-pedestrian accidents, said University Sidewalk Department Safety Commissioner Chuck Hanford. According to Hanford, fixed gear bicycles — sometimes referred to as “fixies” — are too quiet because they don’t have a freewheel.
“If your cat is too quiet, are you going to wait until it trips you at the top of the stairs and you die, or will you put a bell on it so it can’t sneak up on you?” Hanford said. “Same concept here.”
Fixed gear bikes don’t traditionally have brakes because the chain connects the pedals directly to the rear wheel. To slow down or stop, riders put backward pressure on the pedals. Hanford said most riders can’t control a bike well with this method.
“Most of the skinny little hipsters you see zipping around can’t handle it,” Hanford said. “Their leg muscles get stunted by skinny jeans and they’re not strong enough.”
D. Ziggy Rutherford, the only fixed-gear bike rider to respond to our “mainstream” reporter, said he likes wearing the bell.
“It’s cool. I know some indie try-hards that don’t like it because it makes them sound like Christmas,” Rutherford said. “But I like it because it’s such a stupid rule. Intentionally liking a stupid rule is the ultimate irony.”
By Steve Kent