World's loudest bicycle bell is noisier than Concorde

City cyclists who battle to get themselves noticed on the roads can now buy the ultimate deterrent against inattentive truck drivers: a bicycle equipped with a horn that is louder than Concorde.

At close quarters the Hornster bicycle emits 178 decibels; a level of sound so powerful that if used in anger it could deafen any motorist who veered too close.

The Hornster bicycle was developed by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) to highlight the dangers that cyclists face on city roads. Trucks are involved in over half of cyclist fatalities that occur in London.

The triple air horn fitted to the bicycle is an Airchime KH3A from an American locomotive, which has been adapted to run off a scuba diving cylinder. It is so powerful that at a distance of 100ft it is far louder than a standard truck horn and more than noisy enough for a cyclist to make themselves heard above the din of the urban jungle.

The Hornster is the brainchild of Yannick Read, whose previous work includes the flamethrower-equipped BOND bike and the world's smallest caravan (QTvan). He said: "The same quietness that makes bicycles such a civilised way of getting around makes them vulnerable to inattentive motorists - the Hornster is a wake-up call for drivers who don't pay attention to bikes."

The Hornster is on sale for £4,995.

Technical Info:
How loud is the Hornster?

  • Hornster: 178db (@3ft) and 140db (@50ft)
  • F-14 take off with re-heat: 130db (@50ft)
  • Concorde (landing): 119db
  • Typical lorry air horn: 110db (@100ft)
  • City traffic: 78db (central London)
  • Conversation in restaurant: 60db

How safe are the roads for cyclists?

  • Lorries account for only one in twenty vehicles, but are involved in about one in five of cyclist road deaths each year.
  • In London, over 50% of cyclists' fatalities are now due to collisions with lorries. Women account for a disproportionately high number of these victims.

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