Safety while riding is and always should be a major concern. Bright flashing headlites and taillights are quite important as are highly visible safety flags. They help us to be seen. But what about being heard when that is needed? Horns and bells to the rescue. When it comes to horns is just being loud all that is needed? My response to that is most definitely no. I have a loud horn, but all too often it is like no one hears it. I get no reaction out of them. They just seem to ignore it. That’s not good. I have asked people … “Didn’t you hear my horn?” Their response was “Yes, but we didn’t know what it was so we didn’t pay any attention to it”. That is disappointing and a concern as my life as well as the welfare of others may depend upon it.
I personally have a MegaHorn which is supposedly 105 decibels. Like I said, I am not impressed with it for the reason I stated above. (I stopped using it and removed it.)
Did you ever notice that most people seem to hear and react to car horns? (Click HERE if you want to listen to different car horns.) Actually a typical car horn is not all that loud decibel-wise. They are usually anywhere between 90 to 110 decibels. There are bicycle horns around that are rated at 130 to 140 decibels which I will cover further on in this article. Does the idea of having a loud horn that sounds like a car horn appeal to you? It does me.
There is a new product which fills the bill. This rascal isn’t cheap to buy ($95), but it is loud and it does sound like a car horn. Interestingly the name of this horn is “LOUD BICYCLE HORN“.
Water resistant, you can use it in rain and snow
Loudness and pitch: just like a typical car horn
Honk duration: up to 30 seconds straight, but please be respectful
Batteries: Mini USB rechargeable, lithium batteries that will last 1-2 months on a charge
Dimensions: 6×4.5×4 inches at its widest extent
Weight: 1.5 lb
Here is what the manufacturer says about their product:
“We want biking on roads to be safer. Cycling on roads can be frightening and dangerous. This horn prevents accidents by alerting motorists with a familiar sound, and gives more people the confidence to travel by bike. Why does it work? Drivers react to car horns before they even look. A driver that gets beeped at while backing out of a driveway, or entering traffic will immediately brake. These kinds of reflexive reactions are perfect to keep cyclists safe. Some motorists don’t realize that their driving habits can be dangerous for cyclists. Drivers will learn to be more aware of cyclists after a Loud Bicycle horn is honked at them.”
$95 seems like an outrageous price, but then I have to ask myself … which is better and more sensible … to buy a loud horn for $25 to $40 that people ignore or spend $95 for a horn that people react to?
I am not sure what one would be up against mounting it on a trike as it is designed to mount on bicycles. I assume something satisfactory could be figured out though. I definitely think that of all the bicycle horns out there this one would get the best results.
There are other horns on the market. Some are difinitely loud. Two that are rated at 140 decibels are the AirZound and the Hornit.
As for the Hornit, normally I am not much of a fan of the “electronic” chirping sound, but perhaps since it is quite loud it might be okay. The AirZound is popular. The main thing I have against the AirZound is the fact that it has to be pumped up with air. And having the extra compressed air bottle to mount and run the air tube between it and the actual horn … well, neither of these appeal to me. Comparing the two of them I think I prefer the Hornit.
For what it is worth I bought an AirZound horn and installed it. I was quite unimpressed with it. Quality wise I equate it with something one would find in a box of Cracker Jack caramel corn. I removed it and threw it away … a total waste of my money.
Other bicycle horns may not be as loud, but have other features such as a strobe light along with the horn. If people were looking in your general direction having a bright strobe light that lights up when the horn is sounded would be okay, but often times they are not looking your way and that is why you are honking your horn. If they were looking your way, hopefully they would see your flashing strobe light you have on while riding. And they might even see your safety flags. I have had people tell me that they saw my flags before they saw my flashing lights even though the lights are quite bright and really get their attention. Anyway, here is one such horn … the Orp Smart Horn:
When I compare the sounds these different horns make I think the one that sounds like a car horn is most effective. I readily admit that it is just my opinion, but I fully agree with the manufacturer that people do pay attention to a car horn and immediately react either by braking, turning, moving over or at least looking.
But if you really want to be heard …
HERE is a lesser version (cheaper too).
Of course, I have been talking here about dealing with motorists for the most part. When it comes to dealing with pedestrians I try not to use a loud horn unless I find it necessary. Instead I use a squeeze bulb horn which is plenty loud and people notice it. Actually the volume level is easily adjustable … dependent upon how hard and forcibly you squeeze the bulb. It is actually a “kiddie horn” from Walmart which cost $5. I could not be happier with it. I sawed it off to shorten it which didn’t effect the sound or volume any. I enjoy using it on the trails and such especially where children are around as they like hearing it since it is a kiddie horn. I get lots of smiles from children and their parents. (If you want to hear this horn honk click HERE. It is heard at the beginning and at the end of this video.)
I like bells also but I no longer use them as I always have trouble with them ringing by themselves when I hit bumps. And it doesn’t take much of a bump to ring them. Even my expensive “ding dong” bell sounds off on bumps … just money wasted.
Update: I found a small size bell which works great. It is quite loud for such a little thing and doesn’t ring when hitting bumps. And it was inexpensive … less that $10.
And for the bell lovers out there …
In parting I just want to say that even if people on foot or roller skates, etc. are not following the rules and staying over to the side it doesn’t give us the right to run them over on our cycles. We need to check our attitude. Be kind to one another out there. It truly will pay off and help us to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
A FREE GIFT awaits you!