Bicycle use makes for cleaner, quieter cities filled with healthier and more productive people, but the perceived dangers stop many people from cycling. People have told me, "I love biking, but I'm too afraid of traffic to bike in Boston." In response to this, we designed the Loud Bicycle horn that sounds just like a car horn, so it grabs a driver’s attention and forces them to unwittingly yield to bicycles. The safety benefits of the horn give more people the confidence to travel by bike.
I had the idea for the horn when a car that was making a left-hand turn hit my friend. A blaring radio distracted the driver and he didn’t hear my friend screaming before the collision. She was lucky and was not seriously injured, but no one should have to rely on luck when faced with a life-threatening situation.
Drivers recognize car horns, and instinctively stop when they hear them, so it makes sense to have that same kind of horn for bicycles. My team and I designed and built several prototypes, and I tested them on my 8 1/2 mile commute. The car horn was so effective at alerting drivers that I really wanted to give more cyclists the opportunity to use one. We are now raising money on Kickstarter to cover the manufacturing costs and start mass production of the horn as soon as possible.
We have high hopes that our horn will have an impact on safety extending beyond the riders who actually have the horn. A few months ago I was almost hit by a minivan turning to enter a busy parking lot. I braked hard while beeping my horn to avoid a collision. All the nearby cars slowed as heads snapped toward the sound of the horn. The minivan driver flashed me an apologetic look, and I resumed my commute. The incident left an impression on everyone; a man standing in the bike lane near the lot actually apologized to me as I passed.