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Spring has sprung, and if you feel like hitting the road on your bicycle, there's a host of new gadgets, to help keep you safe on the street. But, can technology increase safety or could relying on gadgets mean pedaling your way into problems?
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 favorites? Glasses with a rearview mirror. "It's really nice when it comes to seeing traffic behind you." Now, Celia's 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 bikers like Celia safe. "In the past, we've had one maybe two tipping point new innovations. This year we're seeing upwards of 10," says Bicycle Times Magazine editor Gary Boulanger.
He says tech is trending. "Some very smart technology that we're seeing is related to crashing." One innovative 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," says Boulanger.
GPS products are getting more sophisticated. At least one new product 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."
New products meant to prevent accidents are hitting the market too, like the "Loud Bicycle Horn" that sounds like a car horn. "We're starting to see a combination of LED lights with horns."
Cycling expert Traci Brown 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."
Another concern when it comes to gadgets and biking? 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."
Celia agrees and encourages fellow riders to exercise caution. "You have to be responsible in using any electronic gadget, whether it be on a bicycle or in a car." Many of these new gadgets are hitting the market this spring or summer.
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 push on those tough hills.
Some gadgets that are set to hit the market this spring or summer: