Commuters, road cyclists and even off-road cyclists riding out of the city, encounter vehicles with every ride. When the news breaks that another cyclist has been killed or seriously injured by a car most cyclists do a mental check, and consider what they could be doing to increase their safety on the road. Although the behaviour of drivers is unpredictable, for many, a rearview radar, such as the Garmin Varia, offers an additional layer of protection.
The Garmin Varia RVR315 and RTL515 are rearview radars that alert riders of approaching vehicles. Although previous models of the Varia required a Garmin GPS unit to function, both new devices work with the new Varia app, allowing cyclists to use their phone as a primary or backup display while riding. When paired with the Varia app, a Garmin GPS unit, or a dedicated radar display unit, cyclists receive visible and audible alerts warning them of vehicles approaching from behind, up to 153 yards away.
Sounds and vibrations, paired with colour-coded alerts from the app notify users of oncoming vehicles. Green means everything is OK, amber means a vehicle is coming and red means a car is approaching at high speed. The Varia integrates with apps like Ride with GPS, letting cyclists overlay their maps with rearview radar alerts.
In addition to rearview radar functions, the RTL515 also works as a tail light. During the daytime it be seen up to a mile away. It also includes ‘peloton mode’, providing a low-intensity flash that is easier on other cyclists’ eyes while riding in a group. The Varia RTL515 can last up to 16 hours on ‘day flash mode’ and 6 hours on ‘night flash’ or ‘solid’ mode.
“Our previous generation rearview radar with tail light quickly became a staple for cyclists around the world, providing peace of mind during any ride, day or night,” says Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “With the new RVR315, RTL515 and Varia app, we’re bringing those state-of-the-art safety features to even more riders, helping to ease some of the anxiety they can experience when on the road.”