Garmin launches bike light with radar and camera that will record unsafe drivers

New ‘Varia’ system will detect an incident and save footage for sharing with police or others

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 18 May 2022 12:31
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Garmin has launched a new bike light with a built-in camera for recording dangerous drivers.

The light has a radar, built-in incident detection and a camera. Between them, they are able to sense approaching drivers, record video of them, and store it away if a cyclist is knocked off their bike.

Cyclists will then be able to use the video in police reports of unsafe drivers or other problems. Police have already used similar Garmin products, in partnership with Sarah Storey, to catch drivers who were coming dangerously close to cyclists.

Even with such work, fatalities among cyclists have increased considerably. Between 2004 and 2020, fatalities increased by 5 per cent to 141 and serious injuries rose by 26 per cent.

Garmin already had a number of devices in its radar bike light line-up, which it calls Varia. They are able to scan the environment for approaching vehicles and alert riders, using sound and light on their bike computer.

But the addition of a built-in camera, which can record up to 1080p and 30 frames per second, will mean any of those drivers who approach unsafely will also be recorded.

When an incident is detected, the video footage from before, during and after the incident will be saved away. It can then be accessed through a devoted app.

“For years, cyclists around the world have trusted our Varia rearview radars to enhance their awareness of approaching vehicles during a ride, and we are thrilled to add the new RCT715 to the lineup of ‘must-have’ cycling safety products,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales, in a statement.

“Now, cyclists can head out for a ride knowing the Varia RCT715 rearview radar activated tail light will notify oncoming cars to the presence of a rider, and the built-in camera will continuously record their surroundings and provide video evidence of an incident, should they ever need it.”

The radar can be paired with Gamin bike computers or smartwatches, as well as Garmin’s own and third-party apps.

It has up to four hours of battery when its radar and full lights are used, or six hours with their day mode. In both modes, the camera will be constantly recording.

The new Varia costs £349.99 and is available now.

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