Rider tags and corresponding vehicle sensors make unseen cyclists known
Aiming to reduce the number of hits and near-misses between cyclists and large vehicle drivers, the Cycle Alert system consists of a rider RFID tag, vehicle-mounted sensors, and an in-cab driver alert screen. When a Cycle Alert-equipped rider approaches a vehicle’s blind spots, the driver is alerted audibly and visibly of their presence.
The rider tags are compact and can be mounted to the bicycle, helmet, or commuter pack. The stormproof hardware has a twelve-to-eighteen month battery life thanks to electronics that sense motion- and shut down in its absence. On the HGV, wireless sensors are mounted every three-five metres along the sides, front, and rear of the vehicle. Those have a ten-year battery life and relay a cyclist’s presence to the in-cab driver display. It all works very much like this:
Not just for cyclists, Cycle Alert’s technology could potentially be applied to the construction and other heavy industries, equipping workers’ helmets or uniforms with tags that could reduce the liklihood of being run down at work. The company also suggests permanent mounting on hire bikes (such as London’s Boris Bikes) as an ideal application, helping to keep less-experienced riders out of harm’s way.
Cycle Alert’s inception occurred after Founder, Robert Cooper heard a radio interview with a HGV driver, following a collision with a cyclist that resulted in his death. He spoke to Co-Founder, Peter Le Masurier and It struck us that not one but two families are left broken in the aftermath of a cycling tragedy: that of the cyclist and the driver whose trauma at hitting a cyclist is devastating and irreparable. They thought there must surely be technology issued on large vehicles to be able to detect cyclists. We set about researching for an answer, but it didn’t exist: our findings showed that there was nothing on the market that was designed and built to detect cyclists and certainly nothing cyclist–specific. Compelled to combat the issues of road safety and awareness, they began laying the foundations of what would become Cycle Alert. Robert and Peter felt that their knowledge of technology as well as an understanding of the challenges HGV drivers face when sharing the road with cyclists gave them the perfect credentials to create a cycle detection system.
All in all, Cycle Alert seems like a reasonable step to easing HGV-cyclist tension and reducing the liklihood of cyclist injury (or worse). It’s not titanium or carbon fibre, but it could easily make more of a difference than anything made of either. Learn more at cyclealert.com.