BluesCat is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who originally returned to bicycling in 2002 in order to help his son get the Boy Scout Cycling merit badge. His bikes sat idle until the summer of 2008 when gas prices spiked at over $4.00 per gallon. Since then, he has become active cycling, day-touring, commuting by bike, blogging (azbluescat.blogspot.com) and giving grief to the forum editors in the on-line cycling community.
Signaling turns while bike commuting is a real Catch-22. You need to do it because it’s the safe thing to do, but doing it isn’t the safest thing to do. Having one hand off the bars when you’re in the middle of traffic is an invitation for some quality hospital time.
Enter a product called the Signal Pod V2.0 from a company called Electrostar. The Signal Pod is a wireless turn signal/hazard light system. It comes in two parts: a three-button control module attached to the handlebars, and a big, curved display that attaches to the bike seat post.
The control unit can be located close enough to the brifter levers on a mountain bike handlebar to be able to reach all three buttons by just stretching the index finger over to them. On my Trekking handlebars I could get it close enough to use the raised knuckle of my index finger. I simply took the two bolts out of the tube clamp bracket for the control module mounting bracket, placed it where I wanted it on the bars, fed the bolts back in and cinched them down.
Mounting the display was just as simple. Here again I just removed the two bolts from the tube clamp mounting bracket, located it where I wanted it on the saddle stem, put the bolts back in and cinched them down.
The display module has an arrow on it, marked “UP” to help me make sure I did put it right-side-up; if I had put it on upside-down, a safety feature in the display will not allow it work.
My only complaint about installing the display module is there is no provision for mounting it anywhere else but the seat post. This means if I want to mount my rack-top bag on my rear rack it would block the display and make the Signal Pod useless. And since my recumbent doesn’t have a “seat post,” there is no way I could use it on that bike.
Ah well, anyway, the Signal Pod has batteries installed at the factory, so once I had it in place, I pressed a button on the display to turn it on and then I pressed one of the three buttons on the control module to test…
Dude! I’m stoked!
It has sequential turn signals! The last time I saw that was on a buddy’s ’68 Mercury Cougar! Looked just like this ’67 Cougar.
So with Signal Pod, I’m gonna have an ’01 Giant Yukon Hod Rod!
♪ … She’s so fine my 409 … ♫
Ur…excuse me… Got carried way.
Yes, the Signal Pod has a pair of large chevrons for the left signal, and a pair for the right signal. The inside chevron lights first and then the outside chevron lights.
This neato-keeno factor makes the $49.95 USD price totally worth it, even if you don’t figure in the safety aspect!!
♬ … Listen to her why-ee-eye-ine … ♩
What was I talkin’ about? Oh, yeah. When you press the center button both sets of signal chevrons blink together for a hazard signal.
The real question I had was whether drivers could actually see the Signal Pod.
That was answered when I was riding home and I encountered one of my most hated traffic situations. I was stopped at a stop sign, taking the lane and waiting for the traffic to clear so I could cross the busy road. A big white full-sized truck pulled up behind me and stopped. Before I looked, I could just sense the driver fidgeting and tapping on his steering wheel, so I punched the center button and heard the steady “beep … beep” of the hazard light.
Looking in my helmet mirror, I saw the driver point at the rear of my bike and say something. And then his passenger looked, smiled, nodded and said something back. The Signal Pod did get their attention and, more importantly, diverted their thoughts away from being impatient about waiting behind a bicycle at a stop sign!
Is that too kool for skool or what!?!
♪ … Well, she blows ‘em outta … ♫
Dang! Don’t ya just really miss that music? Boy, I do, I could listen to it all… What? Oops.
See, the truck occupants saw the Signal Pod when they were right up on top of me. How far away, on a sunny day, would drivers be able able to see it?
A pretty fair distance, as it turns out; farther than four or five car lengths, as this video shows (you may have to turn up the sound to hear the three distinctive beeping sequences for each of the three modes):
The Signal Pod Rocks!
I don’t think there is any doubt that drivers can see the Signal Pod, and have no excuse for not slowing down behind you!
♬ … You’re gonna shut’em down …
… Shut ‘em down …
… Shut ‘em down …♪
UPDATE (4/5/12): Dr. M wanted to see the Signal Pod at night. BluesCat complies: