Innovation That Matters

Smart bell

Cycling bell beams inside cars

Sport & Fitness

Insurance firm AXA has dreamt up a cycling bell that emits a regular bell warning, and taps into surrounding cars’ radios and comes out of the speakers.

On a busy, noisy road full of cars that have the windows rolled up and music playing inside, a cycle bell makes for a pitifully weak sound that hardly anyone can hear. But in Poland, insurance outfit AXA has come up with a new solution – the Smart Bell. Or rather, the company’s advertising arm in Poland has, as it doesn’t actually exist. Yet.

Like all cycle bells, it makes the traditional “drrrrring” (that’s almost always used to warn careless pedestrians staggering into the road), but this bell goes beyond that. Using RDS it travels into the radio systems of nearby cars so the driver can hear it over their speakers. It doesn’t matter if they’re listening to the radio, playing a CD or using Auxiliary to play MP3s – the ring will play over it. Which sounds like a good idea – but one that, if misused by a cyclist to rattle a motorist, could lead to some serious road rage. It’s placed under the saddle, and from here it also doubles up as a powerful rear light.

The device doesn’t exist yet – it’s part of AXA Poland’s marketing to sell cycle insurance, but the company is garnering public opinion on the concept so it could lead somewhere. Other new (and real) cycling innovations we’ve seen recently include the Dutch Flo system which guides cyclists on how to avoid red lights, and another Polish idea was solar-powered glow in the dark cycling lanes. Would you like to see the Smart Bell become a reality?



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