The Future of Bicycle Safety

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Over the past few years, the evolution of automobile safety has been a hot topic, with more car manufacturers offering safety technology that intervenes before a crash to help minimize occupant injury and damage to a vehicle or even avoid an accident altogether. Through the use of sensors, cameras and onboard computers, these crash prevention systems warn the driver of a potential accident, better prepare the car and occupants for a collision and, in some cases, automatically apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t act in time to avoid a crash. Crash statistics show that these systems really do reduce car crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Recently, the Netherlands launched its first-ever intelligent bicycle that may do the same for bicycle safety that the vehicle crash avoidance technologies have done for automotive safety. Developed for the government by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the intelligent bicycle prototype sports forward-looking radar detection mounted below the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard, which are linked through an onboard computer with a vibrating warning system installed in the bicycle’s saddle and handlebars to alert cyclists to impending danger.

As stated in the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, 18 percent of the population age 16 or older, rode a bicycle at least once during the summer of 2012. The 2009 National Household Travel Survey estimates that 11.9 percent of all trips in this country are done by walking or bicycling, up from 9.5 percent in 2001. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 726 pedalcyclists (bicyclists and other cyclists include riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals) were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. The number of pedalcyclists killed in 2012 is 6 percent higher than the 682 pedalcyclists killed in 2011. Those statistics are set to grow as more and more people take to two-wheeled transport, leading to congestion and an increased risk of injury.

With a rising number of bicyclists on the road and the potential for an increase in bicycle related accidents, developing bicycle safety technology will become more and more important. Utilizing technology already at work in the automotive industry to fit bicycles with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the accident rate is a step towards making the roads safer for bicyclists.

LALLANDE LAW, PLC  handles bicycle accident cases in California. Please learn how we can help by contacting our office.