By Theresa Russell
While exploring the Blacklick Trail, a Columbus recreational trail apparently not designed with cyclists in mind, I was quickly reminded of the importance of some type of warning device for my bicycle. Nearly crushed by three oncoming mountain bikers on a hairpin curve not clearly marked as a hairpin, I dreaded passing through this spot again.
Enter the Hornit, a device that easily attaches to handlebars and one that emits a sound that when done intermittently sounds like a bird or when held down longer sounds like an emergency vehicle. The Hornit was simple to install; I attached mine so that I could conveniently brake and use my thumb to sound the horn. With this setup, I need not worry about changing hand positions to use either the shifter or the brakes.
Since using the Hornit, I have had no scary encounters with oncoming cyclists on blind curves. However, I find it interesting that when I give three quick signals that people don’t always pay attention or they start looking for birds. I asked one person who seemingly didn’t hear my signal why she didn’t respond and she told me that she thought it was a bird. People wearing earbuds are the worst offenders. It often takes several toots for some people to pay attention. This says something about how out-of-tune with their surroundings some people are.
My proudest moment using the Hornit was when I broke up a fight amongst a group of youths who were using the entire width of the path as their sparring field. Better to warn them through the Hornit rather than my own voice. It took out the personal element, keeping me from confrontation.