If you regularly take off into the hinterlands on a motorbike, mountain bike or horse, there are no doubt times when you wonder, "What happens if I crash and hurt myself, and no one knows where I am?". You might be able to phone for help, although that wouldn't be the case if you were knocked unconscious. That's why British telecommunications engineer David Coleman developed the Ridersmate. If you fall off your bike/horse, it automatically sends a text message to let other people know that something's amiss.

Here's how the system works ...

The Ridersmate unit is clipped onto yourself using an included carabiner, while a curly cord attached to the other end of the device is clipped onto your bike/horse (or what Coleman refers to as your "ride"). Should you suddenly part company with that ride, the cord will pull loose from its plug in the Ridersmate, activating it to send a text message via GPRS (general packet radio service).

That message can go to up to three different people of your choice, advising them that you've been in an accident. In case they miss it the first time, it goes out again a minute later. So that they know where to send help, it includes your GPS coordinates and altitude, along with the time that the incident occurred and the speed at which you were traveling when it happened.

You can likewise send a call for help manually, by pressing the device's SOS button. On the other hand, should it all be a big misunderstanding (such as if you got off your ride and forgot to unclip), plugging the cord back in sends a second message that tells everyone to ignore the previous one.

Because it tracks GPS coordinates, altitude, heading and speed – and features Google Maps integration – the Ridersmate can also be used simply to log your various excursions. One charge of its battery should be good for about eight hours of use.

Coleman is currently raising production funds for the Ridersmate, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £199 (about US$300) will currently get you one, when and if they're ready to go. More information is available in the pitch video below.

Potential buyers might also want to check out the ICEdot Crash Sensor, which attaches to helmets and sends out an alert if it detects a hard impact.

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