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Bike Safety Gadgets

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In a widely viewed YouTube video, a cyclist named Casey Neistat, deliberately takes tumble after tumble while trying to navigate obstructed bike lanes in New York City. The video is funny — it even includes a crash into a parked police car — but it also has struck a chord with bike commuters around the country facing a seemingly endless array of road hazards.

In urban areas, many riders have reason to be nervous, and that in itself is part of a vicious cycle.

“The most common mistake new cyclists make is not riding predictably,” said Ken Podziba, chief executive of Bike New York, a nonprofit group that promotes cycling. “For example, people who are afraid of getting hit from behind by a car will often do things like ride on the sidewalk or ride against traffic, which actually increases the danger that they will get hit by a motorist who doesn’t see them. Fear is a cyclist’s worst enemy.”

Driven in part by riders’ demands for a greater sense of comfort and safety on the road, new apps and gadgets are promising to do for the bicycle what air bags and satellite navigation did for the family car. What used to be a simple, healthful mode of transport is fast becoming a tech festival on wheels.

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