7 ways technology is improving cyclist safety
December 16th 2020
Guest Writer Harold Whitford
Enforcing bike safety has never been about discouraging cyclists from entering into the cycling scene, although some people assume so.
In our eyes, it’s about making sure every cyclist gets the best riding experience without putting their lives and those of other road users at risk.
And let’s be honest: Technology has played a big role in enforcing and improving the safety of entry-level and professional roadies.
In fact, there has been a ton of sophisticated and impressive accessory inventions, from headgears to wearable, which, besides boosting a rider’s cycling experience, plays a role in ensuring their wellness on every bike ride.
And it’s only getting better.
So the question is, how exactly has technology contributed to the safety of cyclists so far?
To answer this question properly, let’s take a look at some of the latest cycling gadgets invention and improvements that have actually played a role in ensuring that budding cycling enthusiasts, like you, are safe when riding their bikes.
Safety Technology Advancements
1. Introduction of MIPS Technology to Bike Helmets
Bike helmets are a must-have, and for a good reason. When you fall by accident, you don’t know what part of your body will land on the ground, and the worst-case scenario will be if you hit your head with a thud.
However, if you have a bike helmet, you can worry less about head injuries and get on your feet just fine in case you ever fall.
Modern bike helmets feature MIPS, or Multi Directional Impact Protection Systems, that offer maximum head protection from any point of contact with the ground. Studies, like this one by the Guardian, show that wearing helmet with MIPS can reduce brain and head injuries by up to 70%.
To be clear, the MIPS technology absorbs as much impact as possible and they’re 10% more powerful at handling rotational impact than non-MIPS helmets. In the end, the amount of force that gets into contact with your head is far much less, hence your overall safety.
Bike helmets also play the role of making you easily visible, so they’ll be helpful in low light conditions. More often than not, bright colored helmets are the best options to consider. That’s because they can make you easily visible in traffic, lowering the chances of getting into a road accident. You can also add some reflective tape to the helmet for more visibility.
In addition to proving head protection and enhancing visibility in low light conditions, bike helmets also feature visors that protect your face from elements. Not only can they whisk away rainfall, they can also protect your eyes from the harsh sunlight, allowing you to maneuver your bike better in all conditions.
2. Latest Cycling Goggles Offer Maximum Protection to Enhance Focus Even Under Extreme UV
To ride safely and get the most out of every bike ride, even your eyes have to be in their healthiest condition possible. And what’s a better way to ensure your eyes are safe than to use the best cycling sunglasses?
Remember, lights change constantly depending on the trail and the time of the day. Add to this the debris from dirt trails and cycling without eyewear can be challenging, if no dangerous. But when you have the right cycling goggles, that’s when you can focus while keeping your eyes’ health in check.
Take Liv Cycling, for example. It’s a lightweight eyewear with an ergonomic design and adjustable shades that feel comfortable and right in all light conditions. With their lenses made just right for roadies of all kinds, these glasses guarantee clear visibility no matter the twist and turn you make, or the bumpy and rugged roads you ride your bike on.
The lenses used in eyewear these days have also improve so much that they easily control glare. Their ability to tear through and clear visual noise to improve contrast and clarity, while preserving object clarity at the same time, make them ideal in providing sufficient eye protection even in areas with harsh lighting.
3. Bike Computers with Heart Rate Monitors Keep Your Pulse Level in Check
On the surface, cycling computers for recording bike rides seems to only record cycling performance, and they’re very good at that. In fact, responsive models, such as the Garmin Edge 130, feature on-board GPS systems are quite handy in tracking distance, measuring elevation, estimating speeds and cadence, and reading total time spent cycling.
But there’s more to these devices than just their ability to keep count of the usual metrics. They also go as far as monitoring and displaying your heart rate on the big screen.
By keeping your pulse in check, these sensors will go a long way to help you keep your heart in good condition all the time by optimizing the intensity of cycling workout.
At the end of the day, you do want to burn as much calories as possible, while mapping your route for a more fun riding, but you don’t want to stress your heart more than you really should. A bike computer with a heart rate monitor therefore helps keep your pulse rate in check, hence enhanced safety for a better road trip.
4. LED Light Signal Gloves Offer More than Just Hand Protection
Regular cycling gloves are great. Like bike helmets that shield your head from brain injuries, these gloves protect your palm and fingers from bruises in case you fall from your bike.
Manufacturers have gotten even smarter with cycling glove design these days, going as far as to add LED lights to modern design to increase visibility in low light.
However, you need not forget one thing:
While LED light gloves are great for visibility in low light, they’re only effective for letting people you’re approaching them. At the moment, they aren’t bright enough to use as headlights.
Zackees LED signal cycling gloves is an example of a pair that has been making waves lately. They appear to be well designed, with small arrow shaped LED light bulbs attached to the leather palm. Based on several testing, the gloves are bright and comfortable, although the design could be better as to include waterproofing and enough padding to make them last hundreds, if not thousands, of miles.
Apparently, the Zackees are the most popular LED signal gloves in the market, and they’ve attracted a huge audience for their near perfect quality. You can use them to let other commuters and pedestrians know you’re approaching so they can make way for you.
LED signal gloves like Zackees are powered by rechargeable batteries and they’re even machine washable. They’re, however, not waterproof. They may stand up to a few splashes, but we doubt they’ll be effective in heavy downpour.
5. Nightrider LED Cycling Jackets for Easy Visibility at Night
Wearing signal gloves or having bike lights on your two-wheeler is great. But there’s another way to ensure your visibility in low light, before dark, and in total darkness. It’s about wearing a LED Cycling jacket, the Nightrider in particular.
Made of breathable and water resistant polyester and featuring high neon yellow and white LEDs on the forearms and red LEDs on the lower back, this jacket has enough reflective details, which make it easy for other roads users to see you in the dark.
Powered by a small rechargeable battery housed inside a pocket. LED jacket features 3 modes, flash , fast flash, and constant, all which you can alter from outside Let you customize your visibility, allowing you to ride your bike in style while keeping yourself safe.
Every light mode of the Nightrider LED Cycling jacket is bright enough to provide clear visibility in low light conditions and dark spots. So the risk of being hit by drivers, motorists, and other cyclist is extremely low
6. Modern Bike Bells Loud Enough from a Distance Increases Road User’s Awareness
There’s no denying that bike bells have improved over the years. And these days, they’ve become the most important tech inventions created to enable every cyclists to be seen and heard on time. More often than not, we’ve seen these bells being effective on paths used by cyclists and pedestrians.
Roadies first started with the old-fashioned dome shaped bell that first appeared in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, John Richard Dedicaot’s invention wasn’t up to part. While the bell helped, it was heavy, clunky, and somewhat hard to use.
While the Birmingham bell isn’t as popular today, at least it led to the invention of the latest bells, which come in all shapes and sizes. Not to mention a higher number of decibels, which make them loud enough for you to be heard from a distance.
The law today doesn’t require that you fit a bell on your bike, which means you won’t get a ticket if you don’t have it on your bike. However, since this gizmo plays the role of keeping you and other road users safe, you should consider it as a must-have.
7. Full-size Folding Bikes Transport Easier to Safe Cycling Locations
Let’s face it. Road systems were designed for cars, not bicycles. And in some places, riding on those roads with cars around you, especially on hilly, narrow, or high-speed roads, is extremely dangerous.
Until recently, the only ways around this dilemma with a full-size bike were either to drive a vehicle big enough to hold a bike, or to attach your bike somehow to the outside of your car using a bolted-on or-strapped-on rack. Both options require a vehicle to be the default “bike car.” If that’s in use elsewhere, you’re riding dangerously.
A full-size folding bike, such as those from Flatbike, changes everything. It rides like a normal bike, because it is one, with 27.5” wheels for mountain bikes or standard 700c wheels for road bikes. But because it also folds in half, it can fit in any car trunk or back seat to transport to safe riding areas. Suddenly, every car is the bike car, and there’s no reason to cycle on unsafe roads.
In fact, some people even keep a full-size folding bike in the trunk for safety. Not only is it available for spontaneous adventure if you drive by some interesting trails, but it’s a form of accessible backup transportation if your car ever breaks down and you need to get help.
Ready to ride more safely?
You can start right now. Whether your interest is protecting your head, your heart, your eyes, or your whole body, today’s technology shown here can make a huge difference. Interestingly, three of these inventions are about protecting yourself from cars, making it more safe than ever to venture out on a bike, day or night.
Have an adventure, and ride safe.
Flatbike guest writer