The Orp: A "Smart" Bike Horn and Light in One - Kickstarter

"Can you hear me now?" This bike horn almost guarantees it.

What is it?

The Orp is a "smart" bike horn that allows cyclists to be seen as well as heard because it's also a bright headlight that straps to your handlebars. The so-called "smorn" (smart horn) produces a very audible, 96dB blast of sound when the operator activates it. It's sure to get attention, which is exactly the point.

The light normally puts out 87 lumens with 4 modes: Slow/Fast Strobe and Steady On. However, when activating the horn, the light goes into a Fast Strobe and brightens to 92 lumens. The whole thing operates on a battery that can be recharged through the micro USB port.

orp kickstarter decibel chart loud volume bicycle horn
How loud is the Orp? At 96dB, this is where the Orp falls in comparison to other noisemakers.

This Kickstarter project is currently sitting at $100,269, well above the $90,000 goal, with 1,326 backers ready to make it a reality. The project will be funded on February 11, 2013, so you still have a little time to jump in and pledge money to get one for less than retail.

For $45, backers will get an Orp of their own, but if you go for the $55 package, you get a special "glow-in-the-dark" Orp. Of course, the more money you pledge, the more goodies that are included.

The Orp is expected to retail for $49.95.

Why I Think This is a Great Idea

You can buy a loud bike horn and still not have a good light. Or, you can buy a bright light, but it's not going to make a sound (unless you drop it, maybe.) The Orp, however, is both. And the best part is, because it's one unit, that means more room on your handlebars for... your hands.

Why I Think This is a Bad Idea

To be completely honest, I don't think this is a bad idea, at all. It's about on par with a motorbike/scooter horn, and the shrill tone should easily cut through the sound of noisy engines and loud music in headphones (a lot of cyclists ride with headphones on, making it difficult for them to hear a bell or a, "Hey! Passing on your left!") I really don't have anything to complain about.

Would I Buy One/Fund This?

I'm not reaching for my wallet just this minute, but I am very interested in buying an Orp.

As mentioned, I think it's a great idea. Although I already have a very bright light (several, in fact, that are much brighter than the Orp) I don't have a single bell/horn/whatever. I do have a loud mouth, though, and while I can usually get attention when I need it, why strain myself when a quick double-tap on the Orp's "wail tail" will do? Shut up and take my money!

Full Disclosure

I don't contribute money to every Kickstarter project that I feature. In fact, there are some I'd only write about as a warning to avoid. Some of these projects never see funding and fade into obscurity, while others look like great ideas, get funding and are things I might actually purchase. In any case, don't see these posts as a full-on endorsement. Unless otherwise specified, I have not received payment in any form to write about these products, they just happen to catch my eye and I think they warrant some attention.

Of course, if you are starting up a new project or have a product you'd like me to test and write about, contact me with details and we'll talk.
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New Mexico Man Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison for Killing Schuylkill County Cyclist

Gilbert Waconda was sentenced to six months in prison for killing 19-year-old John Anczarski of Ringtown, PA, in June 2010. Anczarski was riding his bike in New Mexico on a cross-country trip to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The story about Waconda's sentencing originally comes from WNEP, along with this video clip.

This is a travesty on many levels. You have Waconda, who clearly shows NO remorse, and whose behavior towards the surviving family members is utterly disgusting. Then you have the charge of "negligent homicide," which provides a maximum penalty of only six months imprisonment.

I don't know the full details, so I can't really judge by anything other than what I see, but what I've seen in the clip above seems to show a sick man who admits to what he has done and who doesn't seem to feel anything other than regret that he got caught. Is he mentally ill? And if so, he clearly shows danger to the public. Why not lock him away for much longer? Was this legitimately a case of negligence or did Waconda purposefully strike and kill Anczarski?

I'd be willing to assume some fault on John Anczarski's behalf if it weren't obvious that the young man seemed to know what he was doing. This wasn't just some guy riding his bike around and not taking extra precaution, he looked to be well-prepared and capable of riding to the best of his abilities. The questions I'd like to know the answer to are, was he alone on the road, that day? Was he clearly visible in the lane? Was he riding safely and obeying traffic laws? Was there some sort of confrontation that precipitated the incident? Again, I'd like to know, was this just an accident, or did Waconda purposefully run Anczarski down?

As someone who entertains the thought of doing his own cross-country ride someday, things like this certainly weigh heavily on my mind. I don't believe justice was done. I believe that there are more people like Waconda out there who might now feel emboldened; who might feel they can drive recklessly and/or kill someone with their vehicle and get nothing more than a few months in jail for it. That sets a terrible precedent for others who might be mentally unstable and willing to commit murder for kicks. But, until I know more, this is all I can say.

My deepest sympathies go out to the Anczarksi family. As a fellow cyclist from NEPA, my thoughts are with them, this evening.
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"The Bike Ride" - short movie created using Ptch on iPhone

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