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High-tech tools for urban cyclists

New devices help bicyclists be seen and easily heard.

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Xfire Lighting System for bikes

Solent News/Rex Features/AP

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New York City's first automobile accident occurred in 1896 when a driver struck and injured a bicyclist. Cars and bikes have had an uneasy relationship ever since.

Jonathan Lansey, a bike commuter in Boston, says that just the other day a car traveling in the left lane started to swerve across his lane to make a right turn. "It was a classic right hook," he says. But Mr. Lansey came prepared.

He and a small team have designed a car horn for bikes. While the ring of a traditional bicycle bell often goes unnoticed amid the sounds of the city, this horn honks at the same volume as a sedan's and, like those in most cars, plays two tones simultaneously, making the beep easier to hear in a noisy environment.

 

"Without a way to get drivers' attention, you feel almost helpless," Lansey says. "But when that car started to cut in, I honked the horn. And they didn't just stop, they pulled back into their lane." Bicyclists can preorder the horn, called Loud Bicycle, online for $95. Lansey hopes to start sending out the final product by October.

Loud Bicycle arrives amid a flurry of new gadgets aimed at making cycling safer.

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