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Staying safe on your bicycle

CREATED Sep 1, 2014

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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," Celia says.

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.

Gary Boulanger is Editor of Bicycle Times Magazine. He adds, "In the past we've had one, maybe two tipping point new innovations. This year we're seeing upwards of ten."

Another item--a sensor that 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," Boulanger says.

GPS products are getting more sophisticated. Another one 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. Boulanger says, "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 a loud bicycle horn that sounds like a car horn.

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."

Celia encourages fellow riders to always exercise caution. She urges, "You have to be responsible in using any electronic gadget, whether it be on a bicycle or in a car."

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.