Walkie-talkies are widely used in numerous environments. Businesses, public safety, outdoor enthusiasts, and security services use them. But is it okay to use walkie-talkies when motorcycling? And as a rider, do you need them?
In this article, we will discuss this. Let’s dive in.
Benefits of Using Walkie-talkies When Motorcycling
You can enjoy several benefits by using walkie-talkies when motorcycling. They include:
Walkie-talkies help improve the safety of motorcyclists. Here are some of the ways they make you safer:
1. Reporting Accidents
When encountering or witnessing traffic accidents, getting immediate help can be crucial. Two-way radios enable you to send emergency messages and call for help. Using features like the SOS alarm button, you can transmit emergency information. Thus fellow riders or even emergency services can respond immediately.
Having a reliable communication tool helps speed up response time. Hence, medical aid can come quickly, and you may even save a life, especially in remote areas.
2. Coordinating Roadside Assistance
Breakdowns and mechanical issues could happen during motorcycle riding. In such situations, you can end up stranded on the road. But with a walkie-talkie, you can request help from fellow riders. Even in remote areas, you can still communicate with walkie-talkies.
3. Real-time Weather Updates
The weather can be unpredictable. Hence, riders could get caught up in bad weather. But you can avoid such unpredictable circumstances using walkie-talkies. Two-way radios with NOAA weather alerts allow you to listen to real-time weather updates.
Not all walkie-talkies have the NOAA weather. But you can still stay updated by communicating with other riders that may give you heads-up on the weather condition. Hence, you can find shelter in time or reroute to stay safe.
4. Monitoring Riders Locations
Walkie-talkies allow the group to stay updated on each other’s location. Hence, the group leader can ensure no one gets left behind. Also, two-way radios with GPS trackers can further enhance group monitoring. So, if a member gets lost while riding, they can easily find their way back to the group.
5. Safety Alerts
A rider can seamlessly contact other riders to warn them of road hazards. Thus, everyone can stay alert, improving safety and preventing road accidents.
Staying Connected in Remote Areas
Here’s a significant area where walkie-talkies outperform smartphones – remote communication. Motorcycling in remote areas where there’s no mobile coverage can be challenging.
But with two-way radios, you can stay connected anywhere as long as you are within line of sight. Some walkie-talkies offer up to 50 miles range, allowing riders to communicate over longer distances.
Coordination of Group Rides
Walkie-talkies make it easier to coordinate group rides. They help in:
1. Establishing Meeting Points
Walkie-talkies make it easier for motorcycling groups to communicate meeting points while riding. Riders can easily discuss how to meet up or regroup over the radio. Thus, organizing and coordinating group rides becomes less stressful.
2. Discussing Changes
The day’s plan may change along the way, probably because of weather changes or traffic. Thus, the group may change routes or cancel the day’s plan. Walkie-talkies enable riding groups to discuss changes while on the go. Doing so saves time and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Enhancing Group Interaction
Two-way radios enhance group interaction. Riders often journey in groups because it is more fun. Communicating during group rides enhances the riding experience and strengthens bonds among riders.
Group riders can chat during the journey and share their observations and experiences. Walkie-talkies are also a great option because they are cost-effective.
Walkie-talkies vs. Smartphones
Smartphones may allow you to listen to music and talk while riding, but are they better than walkie-talkies?
You can use walkie-talkies and smartphones hands-free when riding. But the considerable advantage walkie-talkies have over smartphones is network coverage. In some areas, especially remote areas, there may be no mobile coverage. Hence, you won’t be able to communicate with your phone.
Conversely, walkie-talkies communicate with each other directly without needing the network. Hence, they provide better coverage in challenging environments. So, motorcyclists can usually communicate as long as they are within the communication range.
Also, making group calls on smartphones may be expensive. But walkie-talkies are inexpensive and don’t require subscription fees. For license-free walkie-talkies, you only have to pay an upfront fee to buy them. And the cost of walkie-talkies isn’t as high as smartphones. Hence, they are a very inexpensive way for motorcyclists to communicate in groups.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Walkie-talkies for Motorcycling
When purchasing a walkie-talkie for motorcycling, it’s essential to choose one suitable for it. Below are the crucial factors to consider when making a choice:
The range determines how far you can communicate using a walkie-talkie. It’s essential because the distance between each rider can be significant. The communication distance can even increase when one rider is stuck in traffic. Hence, it’s best to opt for walkie-talkies that offer over 10 miles of coverage to ensure every rider communicates clearly.
2. Battery Life
Riding all day makes it impossible to charge your walkie-talkie. And pull over your ride to charge can cause delays. Thus, it’s advisable to purchase a radio with excellent battery life that can support you throughout your ride. Your two-way radio should be able to last up to 17 hours.
Also, you can carry a battery pack to replace the battery when it goes off. Getting a battery pack can be very useful when riding for days.
3. Audio Quality
One huge problem when communicating on the road is noise. Background noise can make it challenging to hear transmissions over the radio. Two-way radios with advanced features for eliminating noise and correcting signal errors can lessen this problem. These features help improve audio quality. Hence, you can communicate better in noisy environments.
Radios with rugged structures can withstand falls. More fragile devices can break when they fall or become faulty. Also, consider walkie-talkies with an IP rating of at least IP65. Such radios will be able to withstand water and dust. Without an IP rating, they wouldn’t be able to withstand the elements.
5. Voice Operated Exchange (VOX)
Holding your walkie-talkie can be distracting when riding. Hence, it’s not advisable to use the walkie-talkie’s PTT button to respond to transmissions. So, it’s advisable to buy radios with the VOX function. This feature activates the device with your voice. Thus, you can communicate hands-free without touching your walkie-talkie.
6. Support Bluetooth Connection
You need to pay full attention to the road while riding. So, your eyes will be on the road, and both hands on the handlebars. At the same time, you need to communicate, which explains the need for headsets.
A radio headset enables you to use your radio hands-free. Some even come with a PTT button to fit on the handlebar. When selecting a walkie-talkie, opt for those that support headset use. But you should be careful as headsets may distract you and prevent you from hearing vehicle noises, which can be dangerous.
7. Access to NOAA Weather Channels
Motorcyclists sometimes get exposed to the terrors of weather. But you can avoid unforeseen weather changes by keeping track of the weather situation.
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is a government agency that broadcasts real-time weather reports. And walkie-talkies that integrate NOAA channels can enhance safety while riding. Hence, consider this feature when choosing a suitable walkie-talkie.
Recommended Walkie-talkie Models
Below is a list of walkie-talkies that are great for motorcycling:
HB3 Bluetooth-Ready Walkie-Talkie: Herda’s HB3 walkie-talkie comes with Bluetooth 5.2 module for seamless connectivity. This feature allows you to connect the Bluetooth headset or earpiece that comes with it. The Bluetooth headset makes communication easy and hands-free use possible. With the wireless PTT button and VOX function, you can enjoy a better experience.
HB3 has a lightweight design, so you can easily carry it around. It also supports up to 40 hours of talk time, making it suitable for all-day communication. Other features include battery save mode, Time-out Timer (TOT), Busy channel lockout, and CTCSS/DCS codes.
Motorola T600 H2O Talkabout Radio: The Motorola T600 has an IP67 rating, meaning it’s dust and waterproof. It offers a communication range of up to 35 miles in an ideal environment. It also integrates NOAA weather channels for weather safety. Other features include VOX, keypad lock, and emergency alerts.
RT47: Retevis’ RT47 walkie-talkie is an easy-to-use radio. It has an IP67 rating, which means it can fully withstand dust and water. There’s also a belt clip to attach to your belt while riding.
Other features include battery save function, VOX, monitor function, Busy channel lock, squelch function, and TOT.
Walkie-talkie use while motorcycling is very beneficial. They help riders call for help during emergencies and get real-time weather updates. Walkie-talkies also enhance group coordination, as riding groups can constantly communicate. They can coordinate meeting points, discuss route changes, and even gist, enhancing their riding experience.
In conclusion, walkie-talkies make communication between riding groups easy. Motorcycling in groups becomes more fun when riders can talk to each other. While smartphones may achieve the same purpose, mobile signals are unreliable because they can go out of coverage.