Obnoxious honking is no longer a luxury reserved strictly for those behind the wheel of a car or SUV. Beginning Monday, cyclists will also be able to lay on the horn, and ward off vehicles that accidentally swerve into their lane, cutting them off.
Jonathan Lansey, inventor of the “Loud Bicycle” horn, is getting ready to send out his first batch of the devices, an invention he concocted in 2012 that straps to the front of a bike and lets riders emit a loud honk to warn drivers that they are cruising close by.
“It’s been a long time, but it’s unbelievable that we are now sending them out [to customers],” said Lansey, a mechanical engineer and former Boston University student. “It sounds really great. I’m really excited to see what happens when we get all of these people out there with horns on their bikes, and see what the public reaction is.”
Two years ago, Lansey launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to pay for the production and design costs of the horns. He managed to raise more than $50,000 to support the endeavor, and anticipated sending out the horns to cyclists six months after he raised enough funding.
But after some production setbacks, and a slight change in the product’s design, Lansey wasn’t able to finalize the project until recently, with Monday marking the first time that users will get to test out the horns.
“We were able to find a solution that worked, and it turned out to be a better design for various reasons,” Lansey said of the alterations he made to the product, with the help of a dedicated team of freelance engineers, designers, and manufacturers. “On the outside it looks the same, but on the inside it’s much better, and louder.”
The horn, which has two speakers that blast the honking sound, reaching a decibel level that is equal to that of a car’s horn, comes with a user’s manual and a handy guide to show cyclists some typical situations where the loud sound could help save their lives while riding. The device runs on a rechargeable battery that lasts about two months before it needs more juice.
“Right now, there’s no accountability when someone is cutting off a cyclist,” said Lansey. “Sometimes they don’t even know they did it. Now, with a lot of people out there biking with car horns, you now have this knowledge and understanding of what’s happening. The drivers will know it, and everyone around them will know it.”
Cyclists often have to rely on tapping the side of a car, while remaining vigilant, or screaming loudly when a driver crosses into a bike lane. Lansey said he hopes as more and more people begin to fasten the Loud Bicycle horn to their rides, that scenario will diminish.
“I hope the reaction will be to take people on bikes more seriously. I hope the reaction will be to judge the speed and direction of cyclists better, and offer them the same respect they would any other vehicle on the road,” said Lansey.
Lansey and his team are gearing up for a second round of production, with a goal of delivering a new set of horns to customers by March. People can pre-order the horn on the company’s website.
“When we put it out there initially it was just a crazy idea, and it wasn’t really a thing. But now we have a customer base and pretty big presence, and a lot of people are real excited and waiting on it,” he said.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2014/12/05/the-loud-bicycle-horn-ships-first-batch/
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