MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Summer in South Florida.
If you feel like hitting the road on two wheels, instead of four, there’s a host of new gadgets to help keep you safe.
Cyclist Celia Conti loves to hit the rroad on her bike. She’s the administrative director of the South Broward Wheelers cycling club. Conti said she’s a fan of gadgets that help increase her awareness of the cars around her. One of her favorites are glasses with a rearview mirror.
“It’s really nice when it comes to seeing traffic behind you,” she said.
Now Conti is getting interested in new, high tech gear hitting the market. As more and more people take to pumping the pedals, a host of new tools have been designed to keep them 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 Bicycling Times magazine.
Boulanger said tech for the cycling world is trending.
“Some very smart technology that we’re seeing is related to crashing,” said Boulanger.
One device has sensors which can detect motion and impact. It pairs with a smart phone. If it senses a crash, it sends a signal to contact 9-1-1.
“You can set the amount of time it takes for the message to be sent to 9-1-1. All the information is stored in the sensor and all the information is stored in the cloud,” said Boulanger.
GPS products for cyclists are getting more sophisticated. One hitting the market this year lets you keep track of family and friends on the road and sends out an alert 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,” said Boulanger.
Other new products are meant to prevent accidents. For example, there’s a ‘loud’ bicycle horn that sounds like a car horn.
“We’re starting to see a combination of LED lights with horns,” said Boulanger.
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,” said Brown. “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 cycling is distraction.
“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,” said Boulanger.
“You have to be responsible in using any electronic gadget, whether it be on a bicycle or in a car,” she said.
Many of the new gadgets will be hitting the market this summer. Some new tech on the bikes themselves include electronic shifting, which can make steering and slowing the bike easier, and an electric assist for an extra push on tough hills.