A new phone that can be programmed to send out a distress signal in case of a fall could be a lifesaver for riders.

The Sonim XP3 Sentinel is designed for people in dangerous environments outdoors and is marketed by lone worker safety specialists Peoplesafe.

Sales manager Sim Lister said: “Our products tend to be used by people working in dangerous situations, like construction or on a farm, but translate well to use by riders.”

The phone has a panic button which connects the user to Peoplesafe’s 24/7 monitoring centre; a “man down” alarm, activated by immobilisation or impact; a built in GPS system so the phone’s position can be tracked; and a service that can be set to check up on you if you have not called in within a certain time.

The Sonim XP3 Sentinel is dust-, water- and shock-proof, with a long battery life and clear menus.

It costs £315 plus your network rate, and monitoring costs an extra £15 a month.

Peoplesafe also offers a number of these facilities as an add-on to any mobile phone.

Long distance rider Jenni Miller of Corwen, North Wales, said: “I fell and broke my leg in 2007 while riding the Jack Mytton Way in Shropshire.

“I had a friend with me who was carrying a phone, but it made me consider all the issues surrounding a fall out riding — you could lie waiting to be discovered for days. I think a phone like this is a good idea.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (5 August, ’10)