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Anti-'distracted driver' horn

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by mattb, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. G'day All.

    I fitted this the other night and thought I'd share it. I'll be trialing it over the coming weeks. It's for those situations where my motorcyclist's sixth sense tells me that the fool up ahead is about to pull a SMIDSY.

    This is a Thunder Horn, which can be got on eBay for about $15. It emits 115db.

    I travel everyday through one of Melbourne's worst streets when it comes to driver inattention and incompetence. The concept of this horn is to get the attention of a driver when I fear they may be about to pull a SMIDSY maneuver on me.

    A vehicle's horn is meant to be a signal to other road users, but often it has degenerated into an expression of aggression. When people perceive aggression they become defensive, which in turn translates into aggression for some. That's not good either, when you're vulnerable on a motorcycle and there are so many people out there with anger management issues.

    The purpose of this Thunder Horn is to get people's notice without any negative interpretation on their part. I just want them to see that I'm there, and so not pull a SMIDSY on me. Hence I searched for something possessing a different sound to a standard horn, but with no similarity to an emergency siren. My assumption in fitting this horn is that people will simply look in my direction, confused at what the sound is. And if in doing so they see me, then the horn's work is done.

    If the idea works then I'll eventually look at fitting it into the bike's electrical system - at the moment it runs on a 9V battery. One difficulty is that I can't fit the horn button to the switch block, which means I have to reach to a button on the bars. I have ordered a big button that I can stab at. And the horn will have to be used in advance enough that I can be back in position for an emergency maneuver. Which is fine - I still have my main horn; this secondary horn is simply for using in advance, where I perceive an inattentive driver and a potential hazard. But I'll look in time to positioning the button so I don't have to move my hand. Also I'm still playing with positions for the horn. I think it would be better if the speaker faced forward.
  2. that sounds like the reverse beeper on my truck.
    and people ignore that too
  3. Not at all what I was expecting. I think "thunder horn" is a bit of a misnomer.

    Unless it sounds a lot louder in life than on the video I susect it won't achieve much, but it will be interesting to see your reports.
  4. At 115db it's probably louder than my horn. Certainly it hurts the ear if you beep it without preparing for the volume. My hope is that in the hum of traffic - and the situation I particularly have in mind is my daily romp through a single lane road at 40-50kph, with traffic desperately wanting to enter, or mindlessly exiting, a parking space on the side or in the middle of the road - I think it should be nicely audible without being too loud.

    At the end of the day, there will be people who wouldn't notice my main horn either. Nothing is fool-proof. But I'm hoping this will add to my over-all survival, along with the headlight modulator I'm about to fit, and of course all the survival techniques that have kept me out of trouble so far. This is in response to that feeling I get when I have to pass a vehicle and I've done everything else I can but I suspect them and I know at the last minute they could still pull a u-turn in front of me. It is either this, or honking my way down the street, and I figure this will arouse less aggro. I'll report back on how it does; most of the time I won't know, but many of those who made me inclined to fit this display their distraction and attention by the way they wobble and swerve in their cars, or by the fact that I can see their face and they're not paying any attention as they start to pull out.
  5. Steeble Nautilus compact twin tone air horn
    139db of ear piercing joy
    I have one on each bike and have lost count of how many cagers it has saved me from.
    Even window up with music on they hear it.
    The best is coming home from work at night when the drunk teenagers are stumbling towards the edge of the road it wakes them up with a brown pants moment it sounds like a truck horn.
  6. Well I've been using this for a couple of weeks now and it definitely does work. I've only used it up to 60kph in city traffic on occassions where the movement of a car told me the driver was about to start drifting or changing into me, and despite the fact they had not yet done so, in every instance there was a clear counter-movement which I interpreted pretty clearly as a shocked reaction by somebody who thought nobody else was there. And in every case the tone of the horn has meant no hint of aggression - the driver and I have carried on with no communication but a few times after I've passed I've seen them move in behind me. I swear by this thing now. I just have to get the location of the button sorted out.

    I've got the Kisan Pathblazer headlight modulator running too, and while I haven't seen it from the perspective of a driver or pedestrian, it's clear from the reflection of my headlight on cars that it's very perspicuous. Almost annoying, but oh well, my safety matters more.

    I also purchased this, but will wait till the bike's warranty is over before I fit it.
  7. might annoy the neighbourhood dogs if nothing else
  8. Interesting - would be great if you managed to get some videos of these devices in action.
  9. At some point another project is to find a camera that I can fit permanently on the bike, which records whenever I ride, for the sake of evidence should some foul incident ever transpire. That might capture it, though probably not so well - the stuff we recognise and respond to, such that we avoid SMIDSY incidents even occuring, is pretty subtle as any experienced rider will know. We're alerted by the way the other vehicle is tracking; it's little shifts in speed; its slight, vague and apparently unwarranted braking; the way the driver's body language doesn't suggest commitment to the current task, etc.
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