A recent thread on Sport-Touring.net described a member’s accident while on a solo ride in remote Colorado.
After separating from his bike and tumbling down a small hillside, the forum member remained unseen with a severely broken leg for five hours. Finally, two German tourists saw some accident detritus and stopped to look over the hillside and the rider was transported to a hospital. He was finally seen by a doctor eight and a half hours after the accident.
The accident report got me thinking once again about Personal Locator Beacons (PLB).
The “Pros” of PLBs are pretty obvious:
- Could save my life in the most dramatic case
- Could greatly speed up search and rescue in the case of any solo accident in a remote area
- Works in areas where cell phones don’t (rural Colorado, for example)
However, there are also some cons to PLBs, which is where the risk/reward analysis comes in.
- Must be manually activated, thus rendering it useless if I were unconscious
- They’re pretty big — the smallest one is 10oz and is 5.85 x 2.21 x 1.4 inches
- Would need to be carried on me (in a jacket), since it’s likely I would be separated from the bike. This is a significant risk given the dimensions above — I’m MUCH more likely to break a rib from landing on the PLB in a minor accident than I am to have a severe enough accident to use the PLB in the first place.
So that’s my brain dump on PLBs for the day. Anyone have any thoughts or experience with them?