Raven Rock Ramble Article

A new way to stay safe

by David Cole

I’ve been claiming for years that using a mirror is your only defense against being hit from the rear, because, face it, you just can’t keep a constant eye over your shoulder. I have to amend that claim now because I’ve had a chance to use the Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar Taillight. Quite simply, it alerts you to traffic coming up behind with both an audible alarm and visible indication when paired with a compatible Garmin head unit. In practice, I’ve found the radar tells me when I need to pay attention to my mirror and even sees cars that I can’t, such as when there are other riders behind me. Moreover, the taillight flashes more quickly as a car approaches, notifying other riders as well.

I won’t try to offer a full-featured review here, because there’s already an excellent review on the DC Rainmaker site. I encourage you to check that out.

Now, I’ll admit the hardware isn’t cheap. The taillight itself is $200, and a Garmin head unit can run as much as $700 for the top-end Edge 1030 bundle. But, you might consider all this as cheap insurance against potential injury and hospital expense. In addition, though, there’s a peace of mind that comes from knowing someone (or in this case, some thing) is literally watching your back.

It’s not my intent to be writing marketing material on Garmin’s behalf, but when a product comes along that can legitimately make you safer, it’s worth noting.