Vision Techniques

3 ways technology is making it safer to cycle

With Britain’s professional cyclists having a great 2012 and summer finally poking it’s head through the clouds this year, the British public are taking to the streets on two wheels in ever increasing numbers.

But as the number of people cycling increases, unfortunately the number cyclists getting injured is as well.

It’s not that cycling is inherently dangerous – it isn’t! The health benefits far outweigh any risks. But it’s inevitable that as the number of cyclists increases on the poorly designed roads, the potential for points of conflict with motorists also increases.

The ultimate solution is better road planning that takes into account the needs of all road users, but that will take time to come to fruition.

In the meantime, technology can help cyclists be safer on the roads.

There are a selection of route planners and cycle maps out there on the web, but the Levenes Cycle Injury Accident Map shows where injuries to cyclists have occurred on the roads of the UK.

With a quick glance at your route to work or weekend ride route and the feature rich map shows you where the potential accident hotspots are so you can avoid them.

Even if you don’t want to change your route, you’ll naturally approach a junction more defensively if you know there have been high numbers of injuries to cyclists there.

The next bit of tech is not actually used by cyclists, but by the larger vehicles of the road. There was a staggering 14 cyclists killed in London accidents last year, with lorries causing over half of all cyclist deaths, despite them making up a small amount of the total traffic.

Now there are vehicle camera systems, sensors, audible and visual warning systems and much more that are designed to fit on HGVs and other large vehicles to make them safer when interacting with vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

The final piece of technology being adopted by cyclists is the headcam. Potentially a bit of a contentious one the rise of the headcam has been in the news a fair bit and some drivers associate headcams as a catalyst behind the media hyped war of motorists verses cyclists.

But before the headcam, in the most extreme cases if a cyclist suffered a hit and run, they’d have little to no chance of catching the culprit. Now it’s no longer one word against the other, collisions are recorded and justice can be done.

Even in the event that a cyclist is not injured, there are plenty of videos of dangerous driving that can educate cyclists and motorists alike. In some police forces, such as in London, you can even submit this footage to the police, who will, if necessary take action against dangerous drivers.

Whether you agree with them or not, they are helping to highlight the popular issue of cycle safety. A famous American judge once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

By shedding light on how the minority of bad drivers drive, cyclists have a chance to disinfect our roads. This can only be a good thing.