New cycling safety tools hitting the market
Cyclist Celia Conti loves to hit the road on her bike on a nice day. She's a fan of gadgets that help increase her awareness of cars around her. One of her old favorites is a pair of glasses with a rear-view mirror.
"It's really nice when it comes to seeing traffic behind you," she said.
Now, Conti is interested in new high tech gear hitting the market. As more and more people are pushing the pedals, a host of tools are designed to keep cyclists, like Conti, safe.
"In the past we've had one maybe two tipping point new innovations. This year we're seeing upwards of ten," said Gary Boulanger, Editor of Bicycle Times Magazine.
Boulanger says tech is really trending.
"Some very smart technology that we're seeing is related to crashing," he explained.
The ICEdot Crash Sensor pairs with your smartphone and can detect impact and motion. If it senses a crash, it sends a signal to contact 911.
"You can set the amount of time it takes for the message to be sent to 911. All the information is stored in the sensor and all the information is stored in the cloud," said Boulanger.
GPS products are getting more sophisticated, too. For example, the one by BikeSpike is designed to let you keep track of friends and family on the road, and alert you if someone goes off course or has an accident.
"We're starting to see Bluetooth activated tracking devices for bicycles, whether it's some sort of a beacon that's on the water bottle cage, or actually built into a lock, or built into an apparatus on the handlebars," Boulanger explained.
And new products meant to prevent accidents are hitting the market as well. For example, the horn by Loud Bicycle actually sounds like a car horn. (These are available for pre-order.)
"We're starting to see a combination of LED lights with horns," added cycling expert Traci Brown.
She says a good light is important, but she believes there's no substitute for common sense and knowing the rules of the road.
"People rely on gadgets and maybe get a false sense of the safety that they create. Nothing is going to save you more than your own gut reactions, your own quick reactions on a bike," Brown said.
Another concern when it comes to gadgets and biking is distraction. Boulanger says it's important to treat cycling like driving.
"Too many times when I'm out riding I see people using their smartphones. We have to remind ourselves that we have to obey the same rules of the road as motorists," he said.
Conti agrees and encourages fellow cyclists to exercise caution.
"You have to be responsible in using any electronic gadget, whether it be on a bicycle or in a car," she said.
Many of these new gadgets have just hit the market or will be available soon. Also, some bikes are incorporating new technology, too, like electronic shifting that can help make steering and slowing your bike easier, or electric assist for extra an push on those tough hills.
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