Intellectual property patent status

Vehicles overtaking too close and fast is the top safety concern for road cyclists, to the extent that it deters the adoption of road cycling. A new highly visible bike gadget records and measures overtaking vehicles so that cyclists can easily provide evidence when they feel their safety has been compromised by other road users, deterring this behaviour.

Vulnerable road user the background

Background

Regular cyclists encounter dangerous near misses at least once a week on the road (according to research conducted by The Near Miss Project), with two thirds of people in England believing the roads are too dangerous to cycle on. This not only poses a significant threat to life and the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users, but also means there are fewer cyclists and more cars on the roads – increasing noise and air pollution, greenhouse emissions, traffic accidents, and undermines environmental progress towards net zero.

With continually increasing traffic volume and vehicle size, it is unfeasible to redesign roads or add enough cycle paths to prevent close passes. In addition, the safety equipment available on the market for cyclists has very limited effect on drivers’ behaviour.

Whilst there are key police-run safety schemes in place to help with this issue, such as the ‘close pass cycling initiative’, it remains critical for more to be done to protect cyclists’ lives on the roads.

The solution

A highly visible monitoring and recording solution has been developed, and is offered by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to help overcome this threat to safety. This innovation protects cyclists by capturing evidence about dangerous close passes by motor vehicles, which can then be uploaded to a police portal.

The gadget is attached behind the bike saddle, and records the distance and speed of the overtaking vehicles. There is a red flashing logo on the device to ensure drivers both see it and recognise it – encouraging them to overtake in a safer fashion. The cyclist or vulnerable road user is also able to access a user interface (either via an app or the cloud), to see dangerous overtakes by motor vehicles with indisputable evidence of how closely and quickly they passed, ready to submit to the police.

This innovation has the potential to help save a significant number of lives each year, both of cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Over time, this can also encourage a higher degree of safety on the roads, meaning fewer accidents and more people feeling safe to cycle, lowering the UK’s pollution levels.

Key benefits

  • This device provides the only real solution to mitigating close passes by motor vehicles, which is widely acknowledged as the number one safety concern of road cyclists.
  • There is currently no product like this commercially available in the cycling sector.
  • This innovation encourages safer road use, decreasing the risk to vulnerable road users. This promotes greater uptake of road cycling which can lead to lower fossil fuel consumption.
  • There is also additional potential to gather data on a mass scale on the safety of users, providing value to cyclists, road planners, and the car insurance industry.
Vulnerable road user Wide landscape

Potential applications

Vulnerable road user Potential applications image

Cyclists and vulnerable road users

This innovation can be used to increase the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users, such as horse riders, scooters, and mobility vehicles, and would be useful for both adults and children.

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