Posted On: July 10, 2009 by Christopher T. Hurley

An emergency device for motorcyclists

As a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, I favor most anything that increases personal safety. Fortunately, the following story has a happy ending as a result of a relatively new GPS device, the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger. Especially in locations where cell service is inadequate, this emergency tracking device may prove to be critical for survival.

The New York Times (Furchgott, 7/8) covered a story on a motorcycle crash that occurred on a winding mountain road in West Virginia. The crash escalated from shock to horror when the other four riders in the group checked their cell phones to call for help only to see that none of them worked. Fortunately, one rider returned to his motorcycle and pressed the “911 button” on his Spot Messenger. The riders were able to signal for help because “unlike mobile phones or systems like OnStar, which require a cell tower to relay an emergency call, the Spot Messenger sends a call directly to a satellite with GPS position of the call.”

The Spot Messenger was introduced to consumer markets about 18 months ago. Since that time approximately 100,000 have sold mostly to campers, boaters, pilots, and motorcyclists. The messenger is only about the size of a bar of soap and costs $150. Basic service is $100/year, which includes the 911 function, an “I’m okay” message button, and two other pre-typed messages that can be sent to up to 10 people who have been previously specified.

Hundreds of successful emergency calls have been attributed to the Spot Messenger in the past 18 months. For anyone who is planning on partaking in activities in areas without adequate cell coverage, the Spot Messenger may be a worthwhile purchase.

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