Despite a proliferation of bike lanes and other urban design interventions aimed at increasing bike safety, bicyclists face more danger on the roads than drivers by design: they’re more exposed to traffic, they lack seat-belts and airbags, and they’re harder to see. So you’d think that their horns--that last resort for vehicles entering dangerous situations (or impatient taxi drivers) to alert others of their presence-- would be easier, not harder, than a car horn to hear, since they’re even more essential for a biker’s safety. Sadly, the tinny tinkle of the average bike bell, for anyone who’s ever heard it, is not exactly ear-shattering and would maybe only succeed at stopping traffic on some rural thoroughfare, unpolluted by noise.
But a bluntly named Kickstarter project Loud Bicycle aims to give bikers a horn that makes a more urgent sounding din. The device delivers warning to cars, pedestrians, and other bicycles alike in a 112-decibel honk that sounds startlingly like a car. As the project’s founder Jonathan Lansey explains on his Kickstarter page:
Drivers react to car horns before they even know where the sound is coming from. A driver that gets beeped at while backing out of a driveway for example, will immediately brake. These kinds of reflexive reactions are perfect to keep cyclists safe. Some motorists don’t realize that their driving habits can be dangerous for cyclists. Drivers will learn to be more aware of cyclists after a Loud Bicycle horn is honked at them.
The 23-ounce horn--created by Jonathan Lansey, a research engineer and an Awesome Foundation trustee, and engineer Andrew Lansey--easily snaps onto the handlebars, is activated with a button, runs on rechargebale batteries and remains undeterred by wet or cold weather.
In his Kickstarter video, Jonathan calls the fear of cars "a helpless feeling. It actually stops a lot of people from biking in their cities." If biking more in 2013 is a New Year’s resolution, perhaps the Loud Bicycle horn could be the piece of gear you need to help you stick to your goal.