How obtained: sample from company
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: several city rides
Weight: 53 grams
A Simple Device That Could Keep You Safer
It may seem like a strange segue, but publisher John Marsh’s column a couple weeks ago that described his getting shot by a pellet gun while riding made me think it was time to review the Safety Wing. It’s sold here in the USA, by Cantitoe Road. It says on the package that it’s made in Finland by a company called Herrmans, so it may be available elsewhere in Europe.
Rant: To blow off a little steam, something’s completely ack basswards with our legal system if a cyclist gets shot and nobody gives a hoot. Yet, if someone draws a bead on a car, it’s enough to bring the FBI in to find the jerk. Shooting at someone on the road should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law regardless of what type of vehicle the person is in, shouldn’t it? And a pellet could just as easily kill a cyclist as a bullet. Even if the shot wasn’t deadly, it could surely cause a rider to crash and get run over.
Back to the Safety Wing, it’s not like this EU-approved 13-inch-long (33cm) plastic arm with reflectors on the end (red rear and white front), is going to stop bullets. But it does seem to get drivers’ attention and get them to pass you more cautiously, too.
It also acts as kind of a friendly wave that might defuse some of the animosity certain drivers have toward riders. To see how it works on the road, watch the final 30 seconds of Cantitoe Road’s video. Notice how the passing cars swing wider than they likely would around a cyclist without a Safety Wing. This is what I’ve experienced, too.
You can attach the Safety Wing to a chainstay or seatstay with the included mount in only a few minutes. Different thickness rubber shims are included to adapt the mount to various tube diameters. The arm rotates inside the mount so that you can align the reflectors to be perpendicular and most visible.
When not in use, or for putting your bicycle in a car or storing it, the Wing folds back and flat against the bike (it locks in place, too, so it stays where you put it). It’s also made of a tough and flexible plastic so if you bend it or run it into something, it won’t break — at least easily (I bent it into a U and it snapped back straight).
I’ve seen safety devices like this before, and they remind me of the little arms that popped out of the sides of some cars in the 1950s to signal turns, and the ones on old-time traffic lights that said Stop and Go. So, the Safety Wing isn’t a new idea.
Yet, because it’s so effective, nicely made and affordable, I consider it a great accessory for anyone riding in traffic.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.