Air horns for bikes

Has anyone had one, used one or heard one? I'm getting annoyed with people who walk out in front of me when i'm cycling. They're usually on their stupid mobile phones or walking a dog on a 20ft long lead.:angry: I've tried bells but they're a bit timid and do they look good on a road bike?, maybe not!
I've seen these http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q=air+horns+for+bikes&hl=en&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=800&bih=449&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=14930632603457790300&sa=X&ei=auQFUNquBYzEtAbw0bSFBw&ved=0CFoQ8wIwAA and they look like they might wake the dozy phone checkers and dog walkers up before they step into my path!:bravo: Any thoughts?:thumbsup:
 

HovR

Über Member
Location
Plymouth
Horns are for use against cars, not pedestrians (in my opinion) - And even with cars I am yet to come across a situation where a horn would be more effective in helping to avoid a collision than using my brakes.
 

d87francis

Well-Known Member
Location
Oxford
I used to use an airzound and found it very helpful to an extent. I used to cycle past a university every morning and could guarantee most mornings someone would step out into the road without looking on their way to lectures. I felt I was providing a useful service as without my horn making them jump out of their skin they would have no doubt been asleep for most of their first lecture. :laugh:

It really depends upon how your handlebars are set up, as whilst it provides a satisfying means of venting frustration at drivers who have put you in danger, it takes practice and a lot of moving bits about to get it in a position where you can brake safely and sound the horn; otherwise it's one or the other and I know which I would rather do.

I purchased mine as I was experiencing a very high number of drivers pulling out on me, especially around a particular roundabout; I think it may be that many drivers in Oxford are used to more sedate cyclists and don't quite judge the speed I'm doing correctly. Ultimately, however, I had stopped using it as most of it's use was from mates d*cking around with it and I started to feel a bit of prat using it. I now prefer to make eye contact with drivers in side roads that I think are likely to pull out, and have found that by easing off a bit at potential situations, although I agree I shouldn't have to, I have found my commuting experience far less stressful. Although the wing bars I use now, would not have taken the version of Airzound I previously used, the one occasion I do miss it is for the large groups of tourists blocking entire roads that after much bell ringing will still not move out of the way.
 

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
Has anyone had one, used one or heard one? I'm getting annoyed with people who walk out in front of me when i'm cycling. They're usually on their stupid mobile phones or walking a dog on a 20ft long lead.:angry: I've tried bells but they're a bit timid and do they look good on a road bike?, maybe not!
I would never use an air horn against a pedestrian. They are for use against motorists, because motorists can't hear through the metal and glass around them. Using one on a pedestrian is, in my view, abusive. If you want to warn pedestrians, a bell is good enough.

I had an Airzound air horn for a few months a year or two ago. I thought it would help in the occasional scary situation, but I didn't realize how rare those situations are. I never used it and found that all I was doing was refilling it with air for nothing. And as HovR says, the air horn is simply useless in any dangerous situation, as it's far more important to be using your brakes. Given that, an air horn's only real use is as a way to yell at motorists after they are no longer a threat.

After my experience with one, I figure that people who use them are either making bad situations for themselves, or they just like to scare other road users.

Mostly, I think the folks who use them are not good at judging the road in front of them and/or they ride too close to the kerb and invite close passes. If you're good at analyzing the road and seeing potential threats before they develop, and if you ride far enough out into the road to force traffic to change lanes to pass, you're never going to need an air horn.
 
Horns are for use against cars, not pedestrians (in my opinion) - And even with cars I am yet to come across a situation where a horn would be more effective in helping to avoid a collision than using my brakes.
You misunderstand their use.

The idea that you are sounding a horn instead of braking is a motoring idea where the horn is used as an expression of displeasure.

The idea of a horn is that it is a reminder of your presence and in those terms it work well.


The car is about to pull out, and the audible reminder simply says "I am here" and in this case works brilliantly
It also takes any idea of "SMIDSY" out of an incident.

In the case of one prat who pulled out of a junction in a SMIDGAF the Police opinion was that whilst he could possibly claim that he had not seen me, there was no excuse as he could not have failed to notice the horn.... he was cautioned.


The AirZound is preemptive.
 

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
If you can see a motorist who obviously hasn't seen you, it's far better to slow down than to use a horn. The motorist might not hear the horn and may continue, and you'd be dead or injured. Speeding into a situation and relying on a horn is, in my view, suicidal.

Relying on a horn rather than on brakes is false security.
 

sidevalve

Über Member
If you can see a motorist who obviously hasn't seen you, it's far better to slow down than to use a horn. The motorist might not hear the horn and may continue, and you'd be dead or injured. Speeding into a situation and relying on a horn is, in my view, suicidal.

Relying on a horn rather than on brakes is false security.
+100% on the mark. As for pedestrians, slowing down is the simplest option. Ringing a bell doesn't sound too threatening and might get you a "sorry mate" using an airhorn will just make people angry.
 

PJ79LIZARD

Über Member
Location
WEST MIDLANDS
Personally I use an air zound, I don't use it much, but I deffinately wouldnt remove it from my bike. Only last night I used it to alert a car of my presence as it pulled out from the side of the road into my path. Obviously anyone with any brains isn't going to use a horn instead of your brakes to avoid a car! But I'm not one for shouting my gob off, I prefer the air zound be my voice, when used correctly there are situations where they are invaluable.
 

glasgowcyclist

Charming but somewhat feckless
Location
Scotland
Most handlebar layouts make it a choice between braking effectively or horning. Now, if I could come up with a suitable Airzound button mount for my arse then the automatic buttock-clenching motion in times of imminent danger would activate it while leaving both hands free to steer and brake. I'm off to the shed to get fettling...

GC
 

Arjimlad

Tights of Cydonia
Location
South Glos
As a lad, I used to deliver medicines for the local pharmacy on my bike. I had a proper air horn in my bottle holder because of the number of dozy drivers I encountered.

It must be remembered that I was delivering morphine, laxatives, muscle sprays and suchlike to frail retired persons on a whole bungalow estate of over 300 properties packed full of frail retired persons.

Thus, there was a larger than average proportion of cap-wearing, throttle-thrashing, clutch-slipping myopic pensioners whose idea of a cyclist was Miss Marple - and the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple at that. You can imagine the hazards as the weepy-eyed old codgers tried to reverse out of their drives, or edge out of the side roads into my legs and my bike. At least they all had travelling blankets in the Austin Allegro to put over my lifeless form if one ever managed to take me out good & proper.

The air horn came in very handy once when I was stationary in the middle of the road, signalling and waiting to turn right.

A Mini was coming straight across out of the road I was wanting to turn into. The driver looked left & right but did not look directly ahead at all, and surged towards me. I gave a mighty blast of the air horn and the car performed an emergency stop right out in the carriageway. The button on the air horn actually jammed on and I needed to pull the horn off the gas canister to get it to stop.

It was also entertaining to use on close passes because it was so damn loud it would shake the car doors, and the driver would usually ease out to give more room.

Nowadays I just shout though. Normally rude words. And avoid bungalow developments like the plague..
 

Arjimlad

Tights of Cydonia
Location
South Glos
As for pedestrians, I have never needed more than the bell, or a polite "excuse me" or "bike on the left" or something.. I'd not use the air horn on them unless they were my mates, in which case I would sneak quietly up behind and give them a brief toot to ginger them up.
 
If you can see a motorist who obviously hasn't seen you, it's far better to slow down than to use a horn. The motorist might not hear the horn and may continue, and you'd be dead or injured. Speeding into a situation and relying on a horn is, in my view, suicidal.

Relying on a horn rather than on brakes is false security.
Which isn't the case at all, you are making a very wild and incorrect assumption.

What happens in the video shows this exactly.

Approach junction, fully aware of surroundings, see hazard, cover brakes and give audible warning - car stops so you can carry on. If the car doesn't hear and hasn't stopped then you slow down and stop - simples.

Its a bit like approaching a junction, you read the junction as you approach and then accelerate through r stop as is appropriate.

The bizarre claim that this is in any way dangerous, reckless, or suicidal simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
 
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