I can think of few things that would make a hothead driver go from zero to pissed, than a cyclist blowing a loud horn at him for 30 seconds straight, the maximum duration of the "Loud Bicycle" prototype. But if used sparingly, this strident horn could help prevent a few unnecessary injuries and deaths. That the angle that the device's inventors, Jonathan and Andrew Lansey, are playing up in their Kickstarter campaign to get "Loud Bicycle" off the ground.
Jonathan, a research engineer who commutes to Boston, was inspired to
build "Loud Bicycle" after a friend got drilled by a car. She made it
out of the hospital in one piece, but Jonathan began to think the crash
wouldn't have happened if she just could've announced her presence in a
trumpeting way. He couldn't find the equivalent of a car horn for a bicycle
on the market, so he went to the worktable and banged out this acoustic
assault weapon – unofficial motto, "I let cars share the road."
Bicycling in traffic "can be frightening, and sometimes dangerous,"
Jonathan explains on his website. "Drivers often feel like
bikes come flying out of nowhere.... The fear of cars, a helpless
feeling, it actually stops a lot of people from biking in their cities."
The "Loud Bicycle" is meant to give cyclists an edge in hazardous
streets by both stopping drivers on a dime and teaching them (as per the
device's website) that "their driving habits can be dangerous for cyclists."
What's this hulked-up horn sound like? Much like the beeeep! of a compact car, with both high and low notes at a decibel level equivalent to a loud rock concert.
Bikers can activate the 1.4-pound device by pressing a button on the
handlebars, which is connected with a wire to "Loud Bicycle" mounted on
the lower frame.
The Lanseys are hoping to raise $43,000 to fund their project by
January. While it in fact is not the only car-sounding bike horn out
there – one U.K. company sells an even-louder "Hornet," and another vends a honker that a satisfied customer says
works "marvelously on stationary groups of chatting ladies with leashed
dogs blocking the entire path" – it could possibly find a place in
America, where bicycling fatalities are on the rise.