Being hit from behind is the single biggest cause of cycling deaths in the US. It’s a global problem, as the founders of Backtracker discovered when they met a man in their native Stellenbosch, South Africa, who chose to cycle in the face of oncoming traffic, rather than take the risk of being hit unawares from behind.
The solution they came up with? Radar!
Backtracker uses military grade radar to detect and track vehicles coming from behind. The front unit clips onto your bicycle handlebars, and shows you traffic information using various LEDs. Each LED indicates a set distance behind you, going back as far as 150 yards. In short, the front unit gives you intuitive data about what’s going on behind you. This extra awareness lets you make the best decisions for your environment.
The back unit houses the micro-radar, and clips onto your seat-post. It also has an intelligent backlight that warns motorists when getting closer to you. If there are no cars, it works like a normal backlight. The moment it picks up a car, it starts to get brighter and progressively flickers faster as the vehicle comes closer. This gives the driver a very intuitive sense of closing distance.
“We found that nobody would ever put the same amount of passion into taking our product to market as we would ourselves”, says Backtracker CEO Franz Struwig, describing his company’s search for a manufacturing partner. So they decided to crowdfund it!
In today’s podcast (18:54; 11MB; MP3) you can hear Franz tell the story of Backtracker, including how its developers use theatrical improvisation to open the creative pores! You can pre-order as part of their crowdfunding campaign at crowd.backtracker.io.