A bike horn can run the gauntlet from a tiny honking squeak to a massive klaxon alarm, and picking the right type of horn or other noisemaking devices depends a lot of where you are biking and the amount of traffic in the area. The horn is designed to alert people and cars to the presence of a bike, even if they don’t see it.
Collision can be painful, embarrassing, and expensive for those involved, so if you can work to prevent it, then you need to do so, especially if you live in an area with crowded streets and lots of cars, where a bike can have trouble moving on both the sidewalk and the street.
If you are a child getting a bike and primarily pedaling on sidewalks, then a simple squeaker horn or bell will suffice to get pedestrians out of the way. Plus, bike horns can be a fun way to communicate with the other bike riding kids of the neighborhood.
For people living in low traffic neighborhoods or primarily biking on bike trails or parks, a slightly louder horn and some watchful eyes will prevent any accidents. The real trouble comes if you live in a very crowded area with a lot of ambient noise and other sounds. You’ll want an air horn level horn that can cut through the noise and signal that you are there.
While it won’t be something you are pressing often, having a horn that won’t be lost in the regular noise of the street is something that can be a good preventer of emergencies. Biking in crowded areas can be hazardous to bikers and those they share the road with, and if the bike horn sounds like a car horn, it will get everyone moving a little quicker.