Garmin Edge 1030 safety concerns with rider to rider messaging
The Garmin Edge 1030 has been released and following a number of reviews and hands-on videos, the new rider to ride to messaging feature has been showcased a fair bit. Whilst I have a Garmin Edge 1030 to review, I have not personally tried out the rider to ride messaging, just because I don’t have a 2nd Edge 1030 to test it with, however, my initial thoughts turn to cycling safety and the implications of such a feature have on this.
Garmin take cycling safety seriously
When developing the Edge 1030, Garmin must be taken cycling safety seriously and this is demonstrated by the Varia product line that really focuses on cycling safety, in particular, the Garmin Varia radar light that I use on each ride and has been an amazing step in cycling safety. When I spoke to a Garmin rep at a recent hands-on event in London, I spoke briefly about this and the rep said he could see the issues that messaging could present whilst riding and he believed that most cyclists would make an intelligent judgment on how they use the feature. I did in part agree with this and related it to the smart notifications already found on Edge devices when linked to a smartphone.
Cyclist safety must be key
Whilst I have been doing my research into the rider to rider messaging feature on Edge 1030 I have looked at a number of hands-on review and YouTube videos, namely the DCrainmaker video, he demonstrates the messaging feature and what surprised me was it being used during a ride at a reasonable speed. My personal view and a view I would say 99% of cyclists have is that safety on the road is key when cycling and you need to be actively aware of the surroundings, people vehicles, and other cyclists and that any distraction takes you away from this. I know personally from using other Edge devices that sliding through screen views or receiving a smart notification takes my attention away and this could be fairly impactful if a vehicle appeared from a side road or I hit an unexpected pothole on the road. The biggest observation I have made is the amount of interaction with the device it takes to choose a response from the list and then actually respond and during this time your attention is taken away from the road and other events happening on the road and this is the point you could run into trouble.
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Mobile phone vs Edge 1030 messaging
I do appreciate that a number of people would say mobile phones have to message and are used in cars, well my argument back to that is mobile phones are not designed as a device to be used in cars. A mobile phone is designed as a mobile communication device and a car is one placed it is used. A cycling computer such as an Edge 1030 is primarily designed for cycling and to measure cycling metrics such as speed, distance, elevation to name a few. The new feature rider to ride messaging is a new feature added with a view to enhance the overall experience, but my concern is using this whilst moving on the bike and you would not do this with a mobile phone, well I would not.
Suggested improvements to the Edge 1030
Whilst I do see the feature being useful for cyclists that want to get a quick message out to other riders, I do think it needs to be used with caution in the same way you would with a mobile when driving or even when cycling. In my view the biggest change that Garmin could make is whilst still leaving the ability to receive messages whilst moving, Garmin should enable the new feature to not allow responding to messages until the Edge 1030 has detected a stationary position. This would in my view give cyclists the option to still use the feature, but still, allow them to keep focused on the ride and if the message received really needed a response then as you would with a mobile phone you would have the option of stopping and responding.
Do you have a view? Leave it in the comments below?