Two brothers are developing a horn that enables cyclists to be heard, if not seen, on their bicycles.
Called Loud Bicycle, the small horn is activated by a button on the handlebars and blares with the same loudness and pitch of a car horn.
Says Loud Bicycle developer Jonathan Landsey:
“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.”
Jonathan Landsey, a Boston-based engineer, had the idea and is being helped by his brother, Andrew, an aerospace and mechanical engineer who lives in New Jersey. More than a dozen friends also are involved in different aspects of the project.
The bicycle horn undertaking was launched in December at Kickstarter.com. It should be available by mid-summer 2013.
This is a popular project, if its success at Kickstarter is any indication. The Loud Bicycle team has already met its goal to raise $43,000 with six days remaining in the campaign. As I write this, 496 people have contributed.
The 23-ounce horn is powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries that last 1 or 2 months. It is weather resistant and clips onto the frame; the button attaches to the handlebar. The emits a 112-decibel blast, comparable to a car horn.
The Landseys emphasize that the Loud Bicycle horn is not a toy and don’t expect it to add greatly to the problem of noise pollution in cities. They expect users to “honk responsibly.”
Although it would be tempting, I hope that bicyclists continue to rely on chiming bike bells to warn pedestrians walking on multi-use paths; a car horn could cause some serious surprises.