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Anyone use a car horn??

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Anyone use a car horn??

Old 11-07-05, 01:49 PM
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yds
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Anyone use a car horn??

I've been commuting to work daily for about 4 years now. I've had my share of close calls with autos cutting me off at corners. For a while, I had an AirZounds air horn on my bike for those times when I needed to remind those such drivers that I was there. On my new bike, I couldn't fit the air cannister, so I left it off. I always found it awkward to use anyway because it required a fair bit of pressure on the button and it could never be located convenient enough to my right thumb to be useful as I was reefing on both brakes while trying to avoid smashing into the side of the ignorant motorist.

Today, I got cut off twice on my way to work, and my bell was totally ineffective (either as a deterrant or as a after-close-call-stress-reducer). So I marched off to my local electronics surplus store and picked up a used car horn and rechargable 12V battery. I plan on affixing these to my bike and picking up a small waterproof motorcycle button that I can mount close to my right thumb.

Just wondering if there are any other commuters (or others) out there that have done something similar? I know the horn will be loud, but it seems the only way to get the attention of drivers these days. Don't plan on using it to alert people on bike paths as I approach from behind.
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Old 11-07-05, 02:11 PM
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I have considered a similar idea, and in fact want a horn button on each side, just to be sure one is always in reach. I was however planning on using a motorcycle horn.

What specific horn did you use? How is it as far as size/weight.

What battery/charger are you using? I have considered a pack that uses 8 AA cells and/or a 12 volt battery from a power tool, along with other possibilities.
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Old 11-07-05, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by yds
I've had my share of close calls with autos cutting me off at corners...Today, I got cut off twice on my way to work, and my bell was totally ineffective...So I marched off to my local electronics surplus store and picked up a used car horn and rechargable 12V battery. I plan on affixing these to my bike and picking up a small waterproof motorcycle button that I can mount close to my right thumb.

Just wondering if there are any other commuters (or others) out there that have done something similar?
Yes, and it works. If you don't already have a good lighting system, and if you get a large enough 12V battery (5 amp/hrs), you can also rig some bright front and rear lights. Just remember to use the horn sparingly, it can cut back on the run time of your lights.

I run a 20W energy-saver light on my front (this energy-saver produces the equivalent of a 35W beam,) and a 100,000 candlepower yellow xenon strobe on my rear. I use only a 3.4 amp/hr battery, but it runs both lights for about 70 minutes.

The neat thing is that I was highly visible from the rear this morning, even with the fog, and I could actually see what was in front of me on the road. (I don't use the car horn anymore, but it's easy to rig. I just use a whistle.)
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Old 11-07-05, 03:29 PM
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Another thing to look at is the AirZound horn. It's air powered and PAINFULLY loud (something like 120db).
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Old 11-07-05, 03:31 PM
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^The original poster HAD an AirZound horn.
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Old 11-07-05, 04:27 PM
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Use a 9V and an old Smoke detector horn. It's small, loud and lasts forever.
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Old 11-07-05, 06:21 PM
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whistles are illegal in most states, fwiw.
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Old 11-07-05, 06:22 PM
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Whistles are illegal? Thats sad. What a law can do to products used for protection...
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Old 11-07-05, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pleaseassist
Whistles are illegal? Thats sad. What a law can do to products used for protection...
Cops use to use whistles so the laws were passed to make them illegal on the street. Impersonating a cop etc etc. Old law mostly unenforced.
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Old 11-07-05, 09:18 PM
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Instead of a motorcycle horn, try an old VW 6v horn. When they're hooked up to a 12v source they sound like a nuclear blast. And they're only about $10.

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Old 11-08-05, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by djbrod
Use a 9V and an old Smoke detector horn. It's small, loud and lasts forever.
I love this idea.

Originally Posted by lws
whistles are illegal in most states, fwiw.
I know, they are illegal in mine, too. I wrestled with that one, but I ended up deciding a ticket would be better than a hospital bill.

One benefit of the whistle is that your hands are free.
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Old 11-08-05, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by djbrod
Use a 9V and an old Smoke detector horn. It's small, loud and lasts forever.
Got a schematic for that? Or a place to get the horns? I really don't feel like tearing apart a detector and getting radiation all over the place.
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Old 11-08-05, 09:01 AM
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I have been using car horns on my family's bikes for more than a year and a half. I had a Air Zound, but realized that drivers don't recognize the sound as another vehicle. A car horn is heard by drivers as another car, as in "OMG, a car is blowing its horn at me!". My geek light system uses a 5 Ah SLA battery; I used a add-on horn switch from Wally World and a new horn from an auto store. Highly recommended.
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Old 11-08-05, 09:22 AM
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I'm worried that I'd be unable to restrain myself.
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Old 11-08-05, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by DCCommuter
I'm worried that I'd be unable to restrain myself.
It can be addicting...

A funny thing happened to me once. I blew my car horn and the button got stuck.

There I was, pulled over to the side trying to fix the problem, with my car horn blaring continuously for about 20 seconds.

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Old 11-08-05, 01:13 PM
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why do you feel a car horn on a bicycle is a good idea ??
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Old 11-08-05, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian McDonough
why do you feel a car horn on a bicycle is a good idea ??
I am not the original poster, but I can think of two key reasons directly related to safety.

1) To be heard by car drivers

2) To be taken seriously when heard by car drivers

and one silly reason...

3) Just because I cycle instead of driving with a ton of metal around me doesn't mean I can't pick and choose some items to use just because it makes me feel good.
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Old 11-09-05, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian McDonough
why do you feel a car horn on a bicycle is a good idea ??
Like dgregory, my main reason is so that I can be heard. My bell just doesn't do the trick when I'm about to be cut-off. I'm riding on downtown Toronto streets and there's way too much background noise already - I'm afraid even a car horn won't get me noticed (perhaps I should be considering an air horn from a semi-trailer?!?!)

But I like dgregory's third reason too!!
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Old 11-09-05, 08:01 PM
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Another reason would be that to a driver a car horn is a highly recognizable sound that he expects to hear, and has certain behaviors that it triggers. A bell, whistle, air-horn are not what a driver expects to hear, so it causes a delayed response while they try and figure out 'What is that?' and 'How do I react to it?' They hear "Car Horn", they think "CAR" and instinctivly move back, expecting a car to be there.

Simple pavlovian conditioning.

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Old 11-25-05, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by yds
I've been commuting to work daily for about 4 years now. I've had my share of close calls with autos cutting me off at corners. For a while, I had an AirZounds air horn on my bike for those times when I needed to remind those such drivers that I was there. On my new bike, I couldn't fit the air cannister, so I left it off. I always found it awkward to use anyway because it required a fair bit of pressure on the button and it could never be located convenient enough to my right thumb to be useful as I was reefing on both brakes while trying to avoid smashing into the side of the ignorant motorist.

Today, I got cut off twice on my way to work, and my bell was totally ineffective (either as a deterrant or as a after-close-call-stress-reducer). So I marched off to my local electronics surplus store and picked up a used car horn and rechargable 12V battery. I plan on affixing these to my bike and picking up a small waterproof motorcycle button that I can mount close to my right thumb.

Just wondering if there are any other commuters (or others) out there that have done something similar? I know the horn will be loud, but it seems the only way to get the attention of drivers these days. Don't plan on using it to alert people on bike paths as I approach from behind.

I use a Bobby's whistle, the kind used in London and Hong Kong, etc. Its distinct, high pitch, and not obtrusive. A coach's whistle would be a little too much. On the bike path, there are all kinds of people on it. Some recreational bike riders don't know to stay on the right, and the whistle really helps.
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Old 11-27-05, 06:04 AM
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In traffic I use a very bright flashing LED headlight. I also use a flashing taillight. Rechargeable batteries keeps the cost down. That about eliminated people turning left in front of me. Some driver's (mostly women) now wait to turn that really had plenty of time to turn ahead of me.

I have used a small version of a recreational boat air horn (small air canister) taped to my stem. That did cause some to stop after they started to cut me off, but it was so loud that it would startle even me.

I think most of the problem is that cyclists don't really register on a drivers brain like other cars and they have difficulty judging a cyclists speed. The attention getting light seems to mitigate both problems. You have the same problem motorcycling.

When I rode motor cycles, I used a device that flashed my headlight. In some 50,000 miles of touring and local riding only one person attempted to cut me off by turning left in front of me or pulling out from a cross street. yet, most motorcycle accidents come from almost dead ahead.

Getting noticed by drivers is more difficult now because of cell phones. I think the lights just makes you stand out more, even to the semiconscious cell phone user.

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Old 11-27-05, 07:55 AM
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Wow, you guys are really looking for a solution you all already have: it's called shouting. Why carry an additional horn? As an added bonus, when you use your mouth, you have a range of messages and volumes you can use that go from a soft "''scuse me ma'am", a louder "on your left!" when you pass, to big FUs to cars that dont respect your right to the road. I find that motorists are actually more startled (and ashamed) by a few choice words shouted out loud in the middle of the street by a cyclist because it draws the attention of everybody around, unlike a horn blast.
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Old 11-27-05, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Cuddles
Got a schematic for that? Or a place to get the horns? I really don't feel like tearing apart a detector and getting radiation all over the place.
A schematic for hooking a buzzer to a battery? Red-to-red, black-to-black. There, done.

Radio Shack sells piezo alerts. The loud ones (used to be called "sonalerts") are at least as loud as smoke detector alarms.

I don't personally think this is a good idea, for the same reason as the original poster. It's not enough that the drivers hear it. They need to instantly perceive the noise as a threat. Only a car horn qualifies in that regard.

They hear a 6000 hz beep, they start wondering, "Wonder what that weird noise is?" They hear a car horn, they immediately think "Oh crap, something bad may be about to happen" and immediately prepare for slowing/stopping/evasive maneuvers.
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