Smart bikes warn cyclists of oncoming obstacles
A new intelligent bicycle has been developed in the Netherlands to help reduce the accident rate among elderly cyclists and curb accidents in general. The electric bike features a forward-facing radar on the front below the handlebars and a camera mounted in the rear that monitor oncoming cyclists or cars as well as obstacles in the way.
The radar and camera are connected to an on-board camera that activates a vibrating warning system in the handlebars and saddle when obstacles or other cyclists are approaching. The handlebars vibrate when the danger is ahead, while the saddle vibrates when the danger is coming from behind.
"Accidents often happen when cyclists look behind them or get a fright when they are passed at high speed," said Maurice Kwakkernaat, one of the research scientists for the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the organization that created the bike.
In the Netherlands, bikes outnumber people and the elderly are making up a growing proportion of the cyclists in the country. Greater congestion leads to more accidents and, unfortunately, elderly riders accounted for 124 out of the 184 cycling deaths in the country last year. This type of technology could help them to cycle without accident so that they can keep riding their bikes for longer.
The current prototype can reach up to 16 mph with the electric motor and weighs 55 pounds, but the researchers are working on making it lighter. It is expected to be on the market in the next two years for about $1,800 (3,200 euros).