How Technology Has Transformed Bike Security and Safety in the 21st Century
Our society is in a constant evolution to become greener. We are frequently encouraged to recycle, to utilize reusable materials so that they don’t make their way to landfills, and use environmentally efficient transport. Some choose carpooling, others may take a bus or metro if they’re available, but many others have taken a more athletic route: biking. Biking has many positives, including no harmful emissions and the benefit of exercise when you may ordinarily not have time. However, some people shy away from biking because they feel that it’s an unsafe alternative to a car or public transport, or even that, unlike a car, someone could just pick it up and take it away. Luckily, technology companies are working to transform bike security and safety, so you have no excuse not to get out there and ride.
Security is highly important when it comes to biking. The last thing you want to do is walk out of work only to find that your bike is no longer parked out front. Innovators know the problems of biking, and have sought to invent new technology to keep you, and your bike, secure.
- Typically when you think of bike security, the first thing that comes to mind is either a U-lock or a large chain. While those may feel safer because they are hefty, in reality they may cause problems while you’re riding since they don’t mount to a bike very well, and the extra weight is something you always want to avoid. TiGr locks are a major breakthrough in bicycle security and theft prevention. They are simple and lightweight, and connect on the sides of your top tube so it doesn’t get in the way of your water bottle, pump, or hit your legs while pedaling. It comes in three sizes, and the two larger ones can attach to both wheels and the body of the bike without your having to detach one. It even dampens vibrations to eliminate any rattle and reduce wear.
Safety on a bike is important. Bikes don’t come with airbags like cars (yet) and some drivers just don’t pay the attention they need to when bikers are on the road. That being said, bike technology has improved over the years and offers us some new safety features that were previously unavailable. Some examples are:
- Protective gear
- When you think of biking when you were a kid, what often comes to mind is trying to pop a wheelie or ride with no hands, and all of that while arguing with your parents on whether or not you really needed to wear a helmet (sorry Mom). Obviously, helmets are not the most fashionable things in the world, they destroy any hairstyle you attempt, and they’re annoying to carry around with you all day. Luckily however, companies like Closca and Swedish designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin are here to help with that. Closca has designed a collapsible, trendy looking helmet. It collapses flat so that it can fit into your bag or other small spaces that traditional bike helmets can’t. However, even this helmet cannot save your hair. Cue Anna and Terese’s “invisible helmet.” You may feel like you’ve, all of a sudden, regressed to age six every time you click on a bike helmet. Anna and Terese are two design students that have made a helmet that looks like a fashionable winter collar. It senses the jerks that coincide with an accident and it deploys an airbag to prevent you from receiving any damage.
- When we think of bike lights, we may think of one in front and one in back. Maybe all you had in your head was the image of the singular square reflector under the back of the seat. Fear not; technology is stepping up in this area as well. Revolights have designed a lighting system that can be seen from 360 degrees, and includes turn signals. A product called Magnic Light iC has developed a light using eddy current technology, meaning that the light runs without batteries or cables, so you’ll never need to worry about your lights running out during a trip or needing any replacements. Getting even more complicated, the See.Sense lighting system senses your environment, and either brightens or dims your lights accordingly. It also comes with a microcontroller just in case you want to change the level of light for any reason.
While biking is much more popular overseas than in many areas of the U.S., there is an increasing number of people deciding on the biking route for their daily commutes. For those who have been hesitant in the past, this is just some of the technology available to make your ride quick and easy, so you really have no excuse.