Bike radar


Active Member
Do you think a bike radar provides any element of safety that a mirror doesn’t? Ed
I posted some thoughts here about my Garmin radar:

My bottom line: I wouldn’t only use a radar; for me, it’s a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, a mirror. But I also much prefer to use both rather than just a mirror.
right you still need the mirror. if cars are moving the same speed as you or are side by side it can miss them or a bus in the way. I love it for getting in the left turn lane I dont have to look in the mirror till the garmin says its clear.
I love the Garmin radar. It even shows multiple cars approaching from the rear, and has a different color for fast approaching ones. I also like that gives you a visual alert on your cell phone screen, a sound alert, and a vibration. Still, I agree with @fooferdoggie. Mirrors are still essential in my opinion. I have one on my handlebar (Mircycle mountain bike mirror) and a large helmet mirror (EVT Safe Zone). The latter takes getting used to vis-a-vis adjustment, but the reflected image is excellent. I find myself using all three while riding.
I just bought the little Garmin was on sale for $99 and my new bike pairs with the Garmin direct to the bike's TCU. I decided to give it a try.
I have always used a bar-end mirror and I continue to do so.

I really didn't know what to expect, however, I have found the Garmin Varia to be an EXCELLENT and HIGHLY ACCURATE safety tool.
On one bike it pairs with the TCU and the beeps come from the TCU. On my other bike I use the Varia phone app via bluetooth and the beeps can be heard through my Shokz bone conduction headphones.

First the damn thing is near always accurate. It allows me to use more of the road because it alerts me when a car is finally approaching me from a HUGE distance back....then I move on over to the more precarious curb's edge.
Second...It doesn't take the place of my mirror....but it is most definitely an enhancement.
Third....even when things get busy and I jump up to a sidewalk for a quick cut-through....It still tells me how many cars are approaching and how many I can more easily judge when it is safe to move back or cross the street.
Fourth it won't bother me when there is a car behind me that is traveling slower than I am. This happens often on suburban side streets where a glance at the mirror tells me that a car is present and I assume it is readying to pass my by. If that car is traveling slowly readying to turn or the driver is searching slowly for an address....The Varia indicates as such.

Are they still on sale? To me it was $99 well spent and I'd do it again if I lost it.
After 2 1/2 years of riding the local trails and itching to do more exploring, I finally got a Garmin radar. I absolutely love it. Still have a mirror, but the radar is an extra sense of security. Even on the bike trails, if a rider comes up fast behind me, I get an alert. The way I use it to get alerts in my headset is connecting it to ridewithgps. I have the full version of rwgps and it will allow the connection to my phone and hearing the alerts in the headset instead of relying on the Garmin head units beeping.

If you do not ride much on the road and are strictly multi use paths, the radar may be overkill. But if you are riding in traffic, the radar can see as good if not better than a mirror when it comes to distance of the incoming vehicle.

There is also a Garmin plugin that will do a vehicle count and other metrics that you can look at on a map that is outside of the Garmin environment.
The other cool thing about the Varia is the light will remain solid but flash specifically at the cars it detects. So even if you're not paying attention to screen, or the sound alerts it's still helping. Next time you're in the car, try to look for Varias.
I found this comparison between Trek CarBack and the Garmin Varia RCT715. I am looking at these but not ready to take the plunge.
that is interesting. sounds like some of the bugs the Garmin has are not in the trek. but it has way too long and wide. Garmin is really bad about the wide going off while on bike paths and such the trek would be worse. and the stance back is plenty on the Garmin . sometimes too far.