Nearly all UK towns and cities have keen and active cycling communities, but too often, priority is given to the motorist. This can leave cyclists facing an obstacle course of dangers, hazards and inconveniences to carry out their daily commute, never mind cycling for pleasure or fitness or training for a cycling event. Being much more vulnerable than motorists, cyclists must do all they can to protect themselves. Experience and knowledge, of course, go a long way, as does defensive riding.
However, not all cyclists realise that tech could help protect them on the roads and that just a couple of essential pieces of kit could deter dangerous drivers and keep themselves and their bikes safe.
Body-Worn Cameras to deter dangerous drivers
As all road cyclists will know, cycling on busy roads and highways alongside fast-moving vehicles can be a hair-raising and occasionally terrifying experience. Cyclists are disadvantaged and often feel unsafe on the roads, fearing collisions, accidents, and confrontations with impatient and angry drivers. A visible body-worn camera can help cyclists feel safer on the road and act as a visible deterrent to dangerous drivers. Although they should always take extra care when passing or manoeuvring around cyclists, knowing that their driving is being recorded can prompt motorists to be safer and more responsible.
The presence of your camera is a strong deterrent against passing too close or other reckless acts that could endanger a cyclist. No one wants to be caught on film breaking the law, especially when the cyclist would be within their rights to pass the footage on to the police. Many specially designed cameras for cyclists fit onto the helmet or the bike's handlebars. However, other surveillance cameras may also be useful, depending on how compact and suitable they are for use on the move.
Keeping your bike safe at home
As well as keeping drivers in line with body-worn cameras on the roads and keeping your bike safe when it's not in use. If you cant keep your bike behind closed doors, outdoor surveillance cameras can keep a close eye on it when it's locked up outside your property. You can check in on it using your smartphone whenever you like or choose motion-activated cameras which send you an alert when motion is detected.
This kind of protection may seem excessive, but good quality bikes are far from cheap, and those with a collection of branded, vintage or specialist bikes and no space to store them indoors will want to do all they can to keep their bikes safe.
Tracking a stolen bike
Another key piece of kit you may want to invest in as a cyclist and a surveillance camera is a GPS tracking device. One of the biggest benefits of fitting a bicycle with a GPS tracker is that you can quickly and easily locate the bike if someone tries to steal it. True, GPS trackers can be removed with much effort, but they can also be cleverly hidden or securely fixed to the bike.
Something like a mini car tracker (if you aren't buying a specialist bike tracking device) can be bolted to the underneath of the bike frame to look subtle and discreet and is also reasonably tough to remove. A thief may eventually manage to remove it, but not before you've received an alert on your smartphone and informed the police of your bikes current location. Many bike thieves are opportunists and usually go for an easy steal. If your bike looks like it has a tracker on it, which they'll need both tools and time to remove, a potential thief may not consider it worth the risk and move on.
Parental peace of mind
Knowing where a bike is at any given time can also be good news for parents. The ability to check in to ensure your child hasn't strayed too far on a bike ride, or see that they're on the way home when the curfew is approaching, can be hugely reassuring.
Improving cycling performance with GPS Tracking Devices
GPS trackers also have another useful application for improving cyclist performance. GPS trackers can prove invaluable if you're serious about cycling or fitness or are training for an event. GPS trackers can give you real-time information on routes you've taken; distance travelled, and speed. You can keep up with this information on the move or use it to analyse your performance post-ride. Over time, you can build up a picture of the distance travelled.
So, if you're trying to reach an ambitious goal, ready for a race or a long-distance cycling event, you can track your progress after every ride. Again, you can use many specialist cyclist tracking devices, but even a mini car GPS tracker can help you get a good idea of the distance you've travelled and your speed at each part of the journey. You can even generate reports across a week, month or longer if you want to analyse your performance or progress in-depth.
Compactable, a GPS tracker can be bolted onto your bike frame without adding unnecessary weight or bulk to slow you down or get in your way. You may even be able to use your GPS tracker daily, for example, to reduce the time it takes to cycle to work each morning by finding a more efficient, quicker route.