Are you a bicycle enthusiast? More and more people are biking these days: for health, for recreation, or for reduced commuting costs. With bike lanes and, in certain cities, bike-sharing programs, it’s growing easier to use bikes as an alternative to cars. Bikes are cheaper, too. But riding a bike carries risks that driving a car doesn’t have, mostly because you have no big metal shell around you. Happily, in our gadget-mad times, technology has come to the rescue with safety devices that can make your ride much less dangerous.
Many accidents happen simply because the automobile driver doesn’t see the cyclist, opening doors (which the cyclist runs into), or turning right and hitting the cyclist. Not being seen tops the grievance list of most bike riders.
- The Sense bike light monitors light and motion and responds to sudden changes in light, such as from headlights at night or when you enter a tunnel. The LEDs the light uses helps a cyclist be seen, especially at dawn and dusk, when the risk of not being noticed by others on the road is highest.
- The BikeLane light by Xfire shoots light from two high-visibility red lasers that project onto the roadway, providing an instant bike lane for vehicular drivers to see. According to Xfire, the red-lighted lane is visible up to a mile away.
The days of little ding-a-ling bike bells are over. If you want to be heard for safety’s sake, you must be loud and proud.
- Motorists are conditioned to react to the sound of another car’s horn, so the Loud Bicycle Horn was designed to mimic one. It plays two notes, making it easier for a driver to perceive, and research shows that drivers react to it immediately. At 112 decibels, the horn is just as loud as many on cars, and you can honk it for a full two minutes before it runs out of power.
- If you are looking for something truly ear-piercing, the Hornit bills itself as “the world’s loudest cycle horn.” One model blasts at 140 decibels. Just for perspective, that’s as loud as a jet engine from 100 feet away. Ear pain begins at 125 decibels, so you might prefer the Mini-Hornit, which also comes equipped with green and white safety lights.
Be… an Airbag?
The Hovding, from Sweden, is an inflatable bike helmet that works a lot like the air bag in your car. It is worn around the neck and inflates immediately upon sensing impact, creating an “instant helmet” that protects more of the cyclist’s head when compared to the helmets we now wear. Hovding has been in development for seven years and has been found to provide three times better shock absorption than traditional helmets.
One of the most important things a cyclist can do is to remain aware of their surroundings, and ride defensively. This means obeying traffic laws, not wearing headphones, and not riding erratically, so that others can avoid them. “The most common mistake new cyclists make is not riding predictably,” said Ken Podziba, chief executive of Bike New York, a nonprofit group that promotes cycling. “You can have your bike outfitted with all the latest technology, which is great. But you have to remember that you’re sharing the road with drivers, and other cyclists, who are used to certain behavior.”
Discipline. Diligence. Dedication.
At the Louthian Law Firm, we’re bicycle enthusiasts. We’re advocates of laws which can make two-wheeled transportation both more enjoyable and safer. We’re also advocates for South Carolinians who have been injured in bicycle accidents and for those who have lost a loved one due to a driver’s negligence. Call us at (803) 454-1200 if you have any questions about bicycle accidents and the possibility of collecting damages from careless drivers. Louthian Law Firm: securing justice for hardworking people and families since 1959.