For all the fun it offers, biking can be dangerous. In 2012 some 49,000 cyclists in the United States were injured in traffic accidents, and cyclist deaths from automobile crashes increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012. But it doesn’t have to be that way. New road gear can help riders avoid injuries–and crashes–altogether.
1. Helios Handlebar
Helios has created handlebars–which are available in bullhorn, drop, and flat–with a built-in 500-lumen LED headlight and two taillights. The latter double as blinkers, which allows a rider to indicate a lane change or a turn without taking a hand off the bars. Using Bluetooth Smart, the bars can connect to a smartphone, and rider-facing lights will pulse with turn-by-turn directions to keep eyes on the road, not a GPS device. During those long night hauls, the glow won’t fade because the system’s USB-rechargeable batteries run for up to 15 hours with lights on high. $280
2. Scott RC Protec
A typical Lycra riding suit might be sleek and lightweight, but it shreds in a crash–along with your flesh. With help from Swiss textile maker Schoeller, Scott developed high-strength, break-resistant carbon yarn. The material is woven into cycling jerseys and bibs where they’re most likely to tear–the shoulders and hips–and then coated with ceramic. The fabric feels like Lycra, but the ceramic coating helps it slide across pavement, not stick to it, and the carbon prevents the fabric from tearing. Call it the road-rash killer. $125 (bib); $145 (jersey)
3. Giro Synthe MIPS
Giro married aerodynamics with advanced safety technology in its new helmet–and it’s still light enough for top racers. The company covered the side air vents with perforated plastic to eliminate drag and to force wind to stream past while maintaining ventilation. Between the shell and the foam liner is the MIPS (multidirectional impact protection system)low-friction layer. In the event of a crash, the layer can slide on the head independently from the helmet’s shell, which reduces rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts. $270
This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Armor For Road Warriors.”