14 December 2007

Intelligent Sensors and Diodes Save Cycling Lives

BikeLight (by [Zakkaliciousness])
Copenhagen is about to start testing a new system of diode lights aimed at reducing the danger of bike-vechicle collisions at four particularly dangerous intersections.

Blinking diodes [similar to the photo above on a Copenhagen bike lane] are placed in the asphalt on the final stretch towards the intersection and, when a cylists passes a sensor, the lights start to blink and warn motorists to the fact that a cycle is present.

There has been a problem with large trucks turning right and hitting cyclists (who have the right of way) continuing straight on. A study by consultancy company Trafictech shows that the cyclists are visible in the truck's mirrors, but the drivers often forget to check.

The combined cost of a serious accident involving a single cyclist is 1.7 million Danish kroner [€225,000]. It only costs 200,000 kroner [€26,000] to install these lights at an intersection.
In the Danish town of Grenaa they are testing another system for reducing the same kind of accidents.

300 bikes were installed with a tiny R-fid chip and a battery, placed on the handlebars.

When the bikes approach an intersection, the R-fid triggers a warning sign for cars and trucks. The animation above can explain it better than I can... :-)

Via: Ecoprofile.se


Paul Tay said...

ROFLMFAO! Dat looks pretty kewl, and totally USELESS. Why don't you just teach cyclists to move toward the MIDDLE of the lane, in front of traffic, where the truckers can see them?

More Rube Golberg rocket science from GENIUSES to needlessly CODDLE cyclists! Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

How about more Intelligent cyclists who know how to integrate with traffic?

Sounds like a better investment!

Zakkaliciousness said...

Absolutely. Cities without any real bike culture need to train their cyclists to integrate themselves.

I would say, however, that in Copenhagen it is different. Cycling IS integrated already. Bikes are equal with cars in the traffic. Initiatives like this one are merely aimed at saving lives.

mrben said...

This is a tricky issue - I certainly have sympathy with the "cyclists should really be in the 'primary' position" crowd, but I can understand that this could be a life saving piece of technology.

I guess there are 3 questions:
1. Would the lorry drivers actually pay attention to this?
2. Is there a way to have "belt and braces" by both having the new techology _and_ encouraging proper cyclecraft?
3. Would either the cyclists or the lorry drivers become too reliant on this technology, and not proper use of the roads?

The other objection is more of a technological one - there is potential for this type of technology to be used to invade someone's privacy. I realise it's "unlikely", but could it happen?

DeepBlueSea said...

All very well, but the truck driver had no neck.

Perhaps if he did, he'd be able to turn his head and see the poor cyclist.

Possibly cheaper than installing the software. Not sure actually.

Just my 2 øres worth.

(Sorry, am having one of my 'stirrer' days. Work is boring.)

Zakkaliciousness said...

mrben: thanks for commenting.
bikes in copenhagen are equal in the traffic. Traffic heading straight on has the right of way over traffic turning right, regardless of the number of wheels.

Lorry drivers know this, unfortunately there have been a number of incidents over the past couple of years. Therefore focus is increased on helping ease the problem.

If it is designed properly, truck drivers will notice it, yes.

Cyclists are constantly being reminded in various campaigns in Copenhagen. Reminded that they have the right of way, but to watch out for large vechicles with limited visibility.

The focus in these situations is on the lorry drivers. Better mirrors, the aforementioned Rfid system, etc.

Abuse of the technology? No idea. I don't even have the imagination to figure out how that would be possible.

Anonymous said...

@Paul Tay: It's just too bad that vehicular cycling advocacy is so dominated by middle aged washouts with an attitude problem. Lose the attitude and grow up, and people might start taking us seriously.

Oliver said...

How soon does it turn off after a bike passes? What happens if there is a second bike is behind the first bike and the truck driver starting moving after the first bike passes (thinking there's only one bike)?

taodas said...

Hi, I'm was very interested to read about the intelligent sensors being used in Copenhagen and only wish such an intelligent approach could be tried in London.
The number of cyclists killed in London is a real problem particularly as a result of lorries turning left and also at slow speed hitting bikes directly in front of them as a result of restricted vision and blind spots despite the new HGV mirror regulations that are supposed to prevent these sort of accidents.We are looking to campaign for all lorries to be fitted with close proximity sensors and understand that these are in use in Denmark / Netherlands can any of your bloggers point me in the direction of any studies / reports / statistics that illustrate the effectiveness of close proximity sensors systems in preventing or even limiting the damage cuased in HGV / bicycle collisions

Anonymous said...

great idea, but this has to work without RFID !!!! cyclists should stay anonymous and not identified with an RFID!!!

Lucy said...

If the Drivers "forget to look" for teh cylists, won't they "forget to look" for the fairy lights too?

Driversneed to be accopuntable adn take repsponsibility for their actions, not have everything dumbed down for them and rely on technology for something they should relaly be taking responsibility for themselves.
Similarly teh cyclist needs ot make themselves seen by not choosing to ride in the bliond spot of the driver.

In London the status of a person on a bike is much lower than that of the person in the car because the law does not protect them, even though they are the more vulnerable. Copenhagen's law is different, as is the layout ofthe roads, which reflect the status in law that vulnerable road users have.