Giving Cyclists Eyes In the Backs of Their Heads

Bike-mounted radar unit warns cyclists of approaching cars

Backtracker, a rear-mounted radar detector for bikes, might keep cyclists safe from distracted drivers. (Photo: Courtesy of iKubu)
backtracker ikubu radar detector bike safety outside outside magazine outside online cycling safety bicyclist cyclist cycling fatalities danger safety security warning lights

A recent Bike League report found that 40 percent of cycling fatalities occur from rear-impact collisions. With help from electronics design firm iKubu, cyclists might soon be able to outsource their fear of being sideswiped to radar Backtracker.

Backtracker’s rear-mounted sensor, which has a range of 153 yards, monitors how close cyclists are to cars in their rearview, as well as how quickly those cars are approaching. That information is conveyed wirelessly to a handlebar unit that notifies the rider through light pulses: Slowly blinking lights mean cars are approaching, while frantic pulses mean you might soon see bright lights from inside a dashboard.

The South African team behind iKubu (composed of hobby cyclists with high-tech day jobs) is looking to raise $226,000 through crowdfunding and manufacturing startup Dragon Innovation and hopes to ship Backtrackers as soon as December. The first 92 funders can get their setup for $149, after which point the Backtracker costs $199.

If it works, the Backtracker is well worth being able to keep your eyes on the prize instead of behind you. However, endurance cyclists should take note of Backtracker’s eight-hour battery life. Ask if they'll give you a discount for buying three.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News
Lead Photo: Courtesy of iKubu
More Adventure