The car safety is greatly improved over the last few years. So it’s about time for the bicycle to catch up with the times.
Obstacles like posts and parked cars along with other road users that ‘suddenly’ come up alongside are often the cause of falls and therefore injury, especially among older cyclists. With support from the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, TNO has been working with the Cyclists Association and Roessingh R&D to develop the smart bicycle.
The main ‘accessories’ of this bicycle are an obstacle detector and a rear view assistant, a camera in the rear mudguard, with the sensors and smart software that cars already have being specially adapted for use in the bicycle. Car drivers are normally warned either by an acoustic signal or a visual prompt like a lamp but for cyclists, vibrations are more suitable.
The handlebars vibrate whenever the radar of the obstacle detector detects a potentially hazardous obstacle in front of the bicycle, while the rear view assistant (a camera in the rear mudguard) triggers a vibration in the saddle if it detects the approach of a road user from behind. These innovations give the cyclist a greater sense of safety and more comfort whereby cycling is a more relaxed and self-assured activity that results in fewer falls and less injury.
Smart bicycle on the road
‘The smart bicycle looks like a normal electric bicycle, is easy to ride and weighs the same’, enthuses project leader Maurice Kwakkernaat. The goal is to work with industrial partners to get this innovative bicycle on the road. After all, the smart bicycle can only live up to its billing if there are also smart manufacturers and smart users.