Garmin aims to improve rider safety

Garmin has been at the front of the queue for releasing new products this week, and today they’ve unveiled another – the launch of the Varia range of ‘smart’ cycling devices.

It has been a busy week for Garmin. First it unveiled the world’s smallest GPS and followed this up by announcing its collaboration with Strava. Now Garmin claims to have developed the first-of-its-kind rear view bike radar and ‘smart’ bike lights.

Safety is always a consideration for every cyclist. Garmin’s latest offering is intended to increase rider safety by warning a rider when a vehicle is approaching from behind and equally alerting the vehicle’s driver that they are coming up to a cyclist.

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Being visible is of paramount importance in the dark winter months

Varia Rearview Bike Radar

The Varia system includes a radar tail light transmitter and a radar display unit (or a compatible Garmin Edge computer). The rear transmitter detects when a vehicle is within 150m of the rider and the brightness of the tail light increases as the vehicle gets closer. If in flashing mode, the flashing increases in frequency.

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The radar display unit (or a compatible Garmin Edge computer) can track up to eight vehicles at a time with an increase in risk being shown on the display unit by a change in colour of the LED interface (or an overlay of the data screen on the Edge).

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Garmin’s innovative Varia rearview bike radar (Photo: Business Wire)

Varia Smart Bike Lights

In addition to linking up with the radar, the ‘smart’ bike lights have some impressive independent functions.

Using GPS data from a compatible Garmin Edge cycling computer, the Varia headlamp automatically adjusts the light-beam’s projection dependent on your speed. Further, the light is more focused on the road ahead rather than having a broader area of illumination. The theory being to light the road where you need it most.

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As with most light set-ups, the tail light has both continuous and flashing options. However, a clever trick is that the rate of flashing increases as you decelerate to warn any approaching traffic. Also, if you buy a second tail light you can use a compatible Garmin Edge or Varia remote to control turn signals.

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The Varia line is expected to be available in Q3. The Varia radar tail light will cost £159.99, or £239.99 bundled with the radar display unit. The Varia smart bike lights are available as a bundle including the Varia remote for £239.99, or separately for £159.99 (headlight) and £59.99 (tail light).

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