Thursday, October 17News For London

Cyclists’ safety first: intelligent bike helmets warn of accidents

Twelve cyclists crash with motor vehicles in London each day, a new study reveals. Can smart bike helmets as developed by Volvo help to keep cyclists safe? 

Reporter: Danae Diz
Sub-editor: Hussein Abdel Fattah

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 15.54.57
World-first technology by Volvo and protective gravity sports gear manufacturer POC connects cycle helmets with cars. Credit: Volvo

 

A new helmet for cyclists, revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, is designed to make cycling a much more safer experience.

The helmet spots imminent crashes through a sensor, which informs the cyclist when they are in the blind spot of a car, prompting them to move aside to avoid a collision. 50% of the cyclist deaths in London happen because of car driver’s blind spots, a new major study by insurer Aviva has revealed.

The new Volvo helmet Credit: Volvo
The new Volvo safety helmet Credit: Volvo

The prototype was designed and developed by car maker Volvo and works with a popular fitness monitoring app that calculates the trajectory of both vehicle and cyclist sending the information to Volvo car drivers.

This will allow the driver to track the location and speed of upcoming cyclists. The signal will be transmitted through the display of the car for the driver and through a light on the helmet for the cyclist.

In the UK, 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured every year in reported road accidents, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reported in 2014. Volvo has announced that the helmet’s ability to detect possible collision could help save many cyclists lives.

Nicolas Payne-Baader, a Londoner who cycles daily said: “It would be a great idea, if people actually took it seriously and wore them.” The 23-year-old avid cyclist continued: “No one wears helmets. How many people do you actually see with one on? Anyway its other cyclists who are more dangerous I think.”

Nicolas was recently involved in a severe accident. He collided with another cyclist in Trafalgar Square. “The guy just drove straight into me, knocked me completely off by bike. I flew into the side of a moving car,” he said. While he believes cyclists on the road pose a danger, too, the development of intelligent helmets could save lives when it comes to vehicles. See the new helmet in action here:

Along with the new helmets, Volvo has also designed pedals with a built in sensor useful when a bicycle has been stolen as it signals its whereabouts.

Transport for London has reported that 20,000 bicycles are stolen in London alone each year.

Soon secured with a sensor: Bikes like these in Harrow
To be secured by intelligent sensors: bikes like these in Harrow

Ena Breslin, a law student living in London said: “My bike has been stolen twice in the last four years.”

The 24-year-old Irish student used to leave her bike parked outside her work.

“I don’t really like public transport,” she said, “so I cycle – it saves money and I get some exercise.”

However, having her £150 bike stolen twice has changed things: “I’m afraid to take it out now,” she said. “I’ve spent £300 on bikes and £80 on two good locks, which have both been broken in the last two years.”

Here, smart cycling technology as developed by Volvo may soon encourage disillusioned cyclists to return to the road. But there is more to those new developments. They could help to save lives and keep cyclists safer. Twelve cycling accidents a day involving motor vehicles is twelve too many.