Cycling in Melbourne Australia
I purchased one of the Air Zound horns about 12 months ago and thought it was about time I added a review.
As a regular commuter in traffic, I've had to use it 3 times so far and there's no doubt that it will advise motorists of your presence. On two of those occasions, it actually helped drivers reconsider their intentions while they were merging into a bike lane without doing a head check.
I've also found that giving it a gentle tap is enough to give a pedestrian a non threatening warning at a reasonable distance ie. 20+ metres, which gives them plenty of time to look around without making them jump (shared paths of course!).
- They are pretty expensive... I think I ended up paying about 60 bucks for it.
- Being made of plastic, they are a little flimsy and I can't imagine the mounting bracket lasting too long
- I have already punctured the plastic bottle once and I didn't realise until I needed the horn... so give the horn a little bleep before you ride. (It's a simple matter of substituting virtually any generic water bottle as they have the same sized lid).
I have a hobby of collecting underused terms of abuse, for loudly hurling at the assorted drongos, lollygaggers, dunces, geese, blockheads, trucktards, etc. out there. You lose points for swearing, you get extra points for loudness and obscurity.
A more wordy version is reserved for people who walk their dogs off the lead on shared paths. You get extra points if there is a moment before the insult registers, like: "nah, you're right, leads are just for people who aren't selfish".
The bell is just for telling people I'm passing them on a bike path (at which point they will invariably do the dance where those on the left side of the path move to the right, and those on the right move to the left).
Sort of good for keeping one alert but the reality is...
a) Sociopaths with the sort of dysfunctional upbringing to make them murderous are thankfully very, very, very rare and,
b) A sociopath with the inclination to kill cyclists will get the target, not on the road, but on quiet cycleways, where nobody will see them at work.
They know right from wrong, they just place satisfaction of their base urge higher than empathy for their victim. A sociopath probably wouldn't like using their car as a weapon because of paint damage issues.
It's simple human ignorance that turns a driver into a menace. Be visible and vigilant, but be positive. What keeps 99.99% of us safe is the paint on their cars, even if they're driving old bombs.
Also, can't stress enough, ride a straight line, people. So many Melbournians weave in and out of parked cars. It's so now-you-see-me-now-you-don't and more deadly than any car dooring or lack of a horn.
Great summary - a bit worrying though. At least I now know who to avoid on quiet cycleways: "where nobody will see YOU at work". Steve.
I like the idea of paint keeping us alive - though there are a lot of white vans and old volvos that make me pause for thought - those car owners are probably not so concerned about their paint jobs...