Mobycon Consultants surveyed a number of possible IT applications. A Swedish design bureau, for instance, has proposed the idea of an airbag for cyclists. The airbag is folded into a collar. When an abrupt movement occurs, it inflates into a protective ‘helmet’ around the head in 0.1 seconds. The Italian designer Giovanni Doci has developed a helmet that doubles as a direction indicator. This so-called ‘Blink’ is provided with four LED lights, two at the front and back and two at the sides. The lights at the sides may be switched on and off by a simple gesture, allowing the cyclist to indicate an intended change of direction.
The so-called ‘speed vest’ has been developed by Brady Clark. It is worn by the cyclists and indicates current speed in easy-to-read lighted digits on the back. This ensures increased visibility of the cyclist and awareness of his speed by motorists..
The examples stir the imagination, but do not appear to be very feasible, as opposed to for instance ‘Night View’, a system being developed by Toyota. This system is intended to be an addition to the regular car lights. By means of infrared light it is possible to distinguish objects in the dark. The resulting image is projected onto a screen in the car. The system is intended to improve motorists’ view in order to help prevent collisions with for instance cyclists.
Infrastructural measures appear to decrease the likelihood of an accident even more, for instance ‘Anticipating Traffic Lights’. The speed of a car is measured at a distance of approximately 100 metres in front of an intersection. If this speed exceeds a certain value, the waiting time for cyclists is prolonged and a potential accident is prevented.
IT may also play a significant role in the prevention of blind-spot accidents. Volvo Truck, for instance, is developing a system that detects cyclists and pedestrians when the truck is turning right. Lasers and ultrasonic sensors scan the area to the right of the vehicle and provide a warning when objects in the area are getting too close, thereby decreasing the risk of so-called blind-spot collisions between trucks and cyclists.