Bicycles and cars may share the same rules and responsibilities when driving in traffic, but it’s no surprise that cyclists are the ones who are the most likely to suffer injuries in the event of an accident. What’s more, is while accidents can be the result of operator error by both motorists and cyclists, 60% of adult bicycle crashes are caused by the motorist, not the cyclists error.
Professor Rajesh Rajamani of the University of Minnesota’s engineering department hopes to create safer roads for bike-riders and potentially save lives with the development of a new “smart” bicycle.
How do the bikes work?
Much like smart cars, Rajamani’s smart bikes come equipped with specialized sensors and microprocessors that scan and detect their surroundings. The bikes then determine the cyclist is in danger. If the car moves into the path of the bike, the technology senses the threat and sounds a loud alarm – similar to a car horn.
Essentially, the bike protects itself by notifying other drivers of its presence. This could be incredibly beneficial for helping motorists and cyclists to see each other on the road and avoid dangerous collisions.
The bike prototypes are expected to undergo six weeks of field testing in April. If they pass, Rajamani hopes to license the technology to bike manufacturers and start making roads safer for all.
Don’t just rely on technology
Until smart bikes become available to consumers, you can help ensure your safety as a cyclist by following these tips from the National Safety Council:
- Check your equipment before riding
- Use flashing lights or wear bright clothing
- Always wear a helmet
- Follow traffic rules
Smart bikes could help make roads safer in the future, but motorists and cyclists alike can help prevent accidents now by following the rules and staying alert.