A few months ago we told you about a Kickstarter project named Helios Bars--handlebars for your bike with built in head and taillights, speedometer and GPS. With these features, the hope was to make the road a safer place for cyclists. The idea took off and the project raised almost twice its pledged goal.
Unfortunately, even with advancements like these in bicycle safety technology, the number of accidents involving cyclists is still incredibly high. In New York City alone, the number of accidents involving cyclists topped 6,000 in 2010, with 36 of those resulting in death, according to CNN. The number of criminal charges any of these drivers faced? Zero.
Fortunately for the cyclists out there, a few solutions may be in the works. For this edition of Crowdfunding Combat, we take a look at two very different devices for your bike, both of which aim to help you stay safe while cruising on two wheels. Rideye Black Box Camera
Rideye (pronounced ride-eye) is a combination black box and dashboard cam for your bike. Equipped with a wide-angle HD camera, Rideye records your ride on a continuous, hour-long loop, which you can save to your computer by connecting the device via USB. In the unfortunate event of a collision, Rideye has sensors that will detect the crash and save the video files automatically.
Los Angeles-based cyclist and engineer Cedric Bosch came up with the idea after his best friend was involved in a hit and run accident, leaving him with memory loss and no way to track down the car that hit him.
"I really wanted to come up with a solution for this hit and run problem which is really becoming an epidemic," explained Bosch in a newscast posted on the Rideye Kickstarter page.
Much like the black box on an airplane, Rideye is built to survive nearly any collision. "Rideye is made from strong aircraft grade aluminum with beautiful, bullet-proof Lexan inlays to be functional and tough- it needs to outlast the bicycle in any event," stated Bosch in a press release.
The camera records high definition video at 720p with a wide angle of 120 degrees, allowing the Rideye to see pretty much everything in front of the bike. The storage capacity of the camera is two and a half hours. Once that storage is used up, the camera automatically deletes the oldest clips. Sample footage from the Rideye can be viewed below.
Compared to other bike-mountable wide-angle style cameras like the GoPro Hero 3, the Rideye is incredibly easy to use, though much more limited. With a push of a button, it turns on and begins recording. Pressing that same button will stop it. A simple USB cable allows the user to charge the device.
While Rideye is designed to document potential accidents, the hope is that an increase in bicycle cameras will cause drivers to think twice when maneuvering around cyclists, possibly reducing the number of accidents altogether.
Rideye will have an suggested retail price of $149 but early backers can get the camera system for a discounted price of $119.
So far the idea has caught on. At the time of this post, Rideye has already surpassed its pledged goal of $32,000, with nearly a month left to spare.
Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ SMART Bike Computer
It seems that nearly every new car these days has the ability to connect to your smartphone, but what about your bicycle? Imagine you're peddling along and come across a song you'd like to skip on your playlist. You either have to stop, deal with it for a few minutes (unless it's a Meatloaf ballad, in which case it could take four times as long), or reach into your back pocket and change the song while riding. Not exactly the safest option.
That's exactly the problem the people at Wahoo Fitness are hoping to solve with the RFLKT+ SMART bike computer.
The RFLKT acts as a reflection (hence the name) of your phone. Before your planned ride, open up the Wahoo Fitness app on your iPhone and turn on your RFLKT. Once the two pair wirelessly using Bluetooth 4.0, the RFLKT can be used to control your iPhone, and with a press of a button will change your song without you having to reach into your back pocket.
The RFLKT also keeps track of ANT+ data, which, for those unfamiliar, is the standard wireless signal transmitted by heart rate straps, cycling speed sensors and power meters. So, instead of buying a $300 device that you then have to plug into your computer to keep track of the data, the RFLKT allows you to do it all on your phone.
One of the best features of the RFLKT is its open-source platform. That means if you already have a favorite cycling app on your phone, there is no need to switch to the Wahoo Fitness app. In fact, with a bit of development, RFLKT will soon be compatible with multiple apps, allowing you to control whichever app you choose from the RFLKT unit. For now, the Wahoo Fitness app has the ability to wirelessly upload your data to most popular fitness apps.
As of the time of this posting, the RFLKT has surpassed its $100,000 goal with less than two days to go. A donation of $135 will get you a RFLKT+ bike computer through the Kickstarter page, with the retail price of the RFLKT+ being set around the $150 mark. Currently, the RFLKT is only compatible with iOS devices.