By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Cities
A clever warning device has the potential to prevent a majority of bicycle-related collisions.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, the prospect of such a scenario was raised this last week by a short viral video titled "Three Way Street," that provides viewers with a bird's eye view of the day-to-day near hazards of an intersection in New York City. The video was created by Ron Gabriel as part of his master's thesis project at the School of Visual Arts.
Check out the video:
As you can see from the video, bicyclists are particularly vulnerable since a fair number of them frequently attempt to navigate streets and intersections by cutting across moving traffic and weaving through swarms of pedestrians. To make commuting safer for both cyclists and drivers, a British student at the University of Brighton has come up with a device that alerts drivers of the presence of a rapidly approaching bicycle by projecting a bright green laser image of a bike on to the road ahead.
Invented by Emily Brooke, BLAZE is a fine example of addressing a widespread problem using cheap and simple technology. It's battery powered and can be easily attached to the handlebars of a bicycle. The laser-generated bicycle logo can be seen several feet ahead in the evenings and during the daytime. It can also be kept on or set on flashing mode.
The warning system has the potential to prevent a majority of bicycle-related collisions since eighty percent of cycle accidents occur when bicycles travel straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them. It's particularly useful in instances where the rider is moving alongside a vehicle but so happens to be in the driver's blind spot.
“The most common contributory factor is ‘failed to look properly’ on the part of a vehicle driver, says Brooke. “Even when lit up like a Christmas tree, a bicycle in a bus’s blind spot is still invisible."
Brooke collaborated with road safety experts, Brighton City officials, a local bus company and driving psychologists to develop her idea. After finishing her research, she concluded that "the evidence shows the bike simply is not seen on city streets."
It remains to be seen if Brooke's invention will ever make it to market, but at least her school is doing their part to make it happen. They've arranged for the young inventor to enroll in a course at Babson College in Massachusetts where she can further develop the device.
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Jun 13, 2011
As a rider of a bike, 700+ pounds of bike, I know what its like to consider everyone else as my enemy on the road. I constantly watch out for everything and have been known, at red lights, to give a motorist some gentle words after they lane changed in front of me. However I have the horsepower to keep up with traffic and do not split traffic or ride between cars and curbs. I follow the rules as they generally work. I have also had times driving my van where I have to slow and go around a slow cyclist. I get to the next light and they ride along the curb up to the front and we do that dance block after block. Dangerous block after block. One time I placed my van within 12 inches of the curb. That rider when he got to my van came around on my left side, crossed in front of me and as he was heading to the curb to sneak to the front he let out a stream of profanity as though it was his god given right to put everyone in danger, repeatedly, by doing this over and over. Either give them a bike lane or fine them out of existance for not obeying traffic laws WHICH THEY ARE SUBJECT TO.
Americans don't know what democracy is !!!! Let me give you all a definition we can live by and all be on the same page, A democratic society gives each member of that society the FREEDOM TO MAKE RESPONSIBLE CHOICES WITHIN THAT SOCIETY. It is not just the freedom to vote for a government. Or the freedom to do as you like regardless of others. Parents must teach their offspring that they must be responsible members of society. That means being responsible for your own thoughts, feelings & actions No one else can know another's thoughts & feelings from moment to moment. Only the individual can and must be responsible for his/her choices. As an example; If I respect your freedom to make responsible choices & you respect mine. There is no conflict. If people cannot take the responsibility of parenthood and society they shouldn't bring other people into the world to suffer for their selfishness. Bringing children into the world is NOT a right. It is an enormous responsibility!!!! That is what democracy is all about
Roundabouts cut junction accidents by 50-100%. They are cost effective and low maintenance. They also keep the traffic moving and are not wasteful like traffic lights. They save fuel from being wasted by stationary vehicles waiting to go.
I rode a bicycle from about 10 years old on public roads about 50 years ago in london then progressed to motorbike( 100,000 miles in 25 years) & car. I always obeyed the rules of the road never rode on pavement (sidewalk) If people riding bicycles today rode according to the highway code & remembered that it hurts to be run over by a car,the driver does not see you at night only the movement from your lights even in brightly lit street use them always at night! no use to say he should be looking out for you as maybe tired or distracted or drunk! He has a fraction of a second to decide what to do if you swerve in front of him without signaling while wearing headphones to decide if he is going to hit you or other people or cars to avoid you. If you are unlucky then there are going to be loads of innocent people around so he has nowhere to go & may have a car full of children so a little bump going over you through your own fault maybe his only way out without killing somebody else. remember 2 ton car verses bicycle normaly has only one outcome. If witnesses say it was your fault & you survive his insurance wont even pay for your wheelchair! You life is your responsibility & you only have one, even if it was not your fault so LOOK OUT.
...as a pedestrian, cyclist and motorist around Brighton (coincidentally) is that drivers and cyclists are generally very considerate. Pedestrians who don't look before crossing the road are far more common than any of the driving / riding shown in the video. I've certainly never seen cyclists do some of the crazy things shown above. Having said that, the few situations I've been in where someone's safety has been in danger, the perpetrator was behind the wheel of a car. My wife's currently recovering from a broken wrist sustained when knocked off our scooter by a van.
So, bicyclists ignore traffic laws and good sense, causing collisions with cars, and the solution is to warn the motorists that bicyclists are approaching.
What the video shows is that, yes, lots of cyclists are ignoring rules and sometimes doing seriously dangerous maneouvres, but it also shows that plenty of pedestrians are doing the same. BUT overwhelmingly what it reveals is that the streetscape is still dominated by cars and trucks, and that plenty of them are also disregarding rules (the giant articulated truck doing a U-turn takes the cake), and of course that this is what leads to nasty consequences. Note that almost all the cyclists are moving quite slowly and especially when weaving thru pedestrians. There is no contact between cyclists or pedestrians in this vid (and if there were no one would be hurt seriously) and a couple of close calls with cars--all of which are avoided by the cyclist's action, not the vehicles' action. So, since when has it made sense to give over 90% of the earth's surface shown in this video to one form of transport that probably accounts for maybe 10% of the people movement shown in the video? There is often not even enough width of the ped crossing for the number of pedestrians so that they are forced to stray out of the zone. There is one clear lesson from the video: the intersection is poorly designed for the majority of actual people using it: there needs to be dedicated bike lanes (with segregation from traffic, not just painted white lines). Traffic planners and many drivers shriek that there would be catastrophic gridlock and congestion yet it doesn't happen where it has been tried. We need to redesign our city streets and get over this aberrant 50 year slice of history in which we will look back and be amazed that we gave over so much of our precious public space to motorized transport catering for a small minority.
I drive on a lot of winding 2 lane roads with bike lanes on both sides and constantly see vehicles driving on the edge of the bike lane or taking curves too fast and sliding completely into the bike lane. I am constantly wondering if I am going to see a driver lean into the bike lane and clip a cyclist from behind.
Why to idiots on bikes think they do not have to follow the law? You will notice that I did not say all bicyclists are idiots. We have rules of the road..they need to follow them. That will prevent 99% of all bike accidents. Then license bike riders and license the bikes to pay for the roads. Next best thing is to do what many European and Far East countries have done: form a separate bike lane that ONLY has bikes. And that is the ONLY place they can be ridden. Then take off the liability of hitting one of the idiots. If you get hit on a bike when breaking the law, you are at fault, not the car. Kill a few and the rest will soon learn. Sorry if you are offended, but Darwin was right: take the idiots out of the gene pool...maybe you are offended if you are guilty?
The video show plenty of bad examples where cyclists aren't driving safely. However a safe cyclist is still at risk from motorists who don't see a cyclist or do & miscalculate the cyclists speed of approach. Many cyclists are hit by a motorist who opens the door to their car. This invention may be a source of cutting that aspect down.
The idea is simple and effective. Brilliant! This device should be put into production ASAP. It will save lives. I will absolutely buy one when they are available. This is an IBM web site. Maybe they will invest?
Number one issue is the lack of respect by bicyclist for the rules of the road. As a long time cyclist, it frustrates me when others run stop signs / red lights, ride the wrong way etc. Many of the issues would go away if cyclists would use common sense, realize that it is not a sin to put one's foot down and stop or wait your place in line.
So then, by your lights, a person should apply for a license which proves he/she has the necessary brains to raise a child responsibly, and never mind the pressure in his/her loins. Tell that to the people who have more than one child in today's society. You think there aren't enough jobs now? Wait 20 years or so when the 7-billionth person just born reaches employable age and finds out his/her job was taken over by robots ten to twelve years before he/she reached said employable age. That is if he/she reaches said age, because by then the population will have added another 2 billion to its numbers. and where's the agricultural land needed to sustain all these people going to come from?
keep traffic moving for the most part. However it can get one sided during rush hour and some entering lanes cannot get a space to enter the circle. I was brought up driving these things and today, sadly, I think that many of the drivers are not smart enough to drive these things. I know that one city squared their circle(s) and put traffic lights on them.
They should be banned worldwide as the worst idea for roads. These things are where way too many accidents (and lethal ones) happen. They've been banned in many parts of the world for this very reason. If you think a stopped vehicle is wasting fuel, then redesign the engine so it stops wasting fuel at a stop.
@rhodez Who pays for those roads in the form of gasoline taxes, tire taxes, road taxes, licenses fees, etc? Or more importantly, who *doesn't* pay for them? Bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicycles are not subject to license fees, tire taxes, or gasoline taxes, and yet we spend millions of dollars building bike lanes for cyclists who ignore not only the trafiic laws, but ignore good sense. Then, when the cyclists, get into trouble, the solution is to make motorists pay for another safety device, to warn them when a bicycle is nearby - most likely being ridden by someone who thinks that traffic laws don't apply to them.
The Netherlands assumes the fault is on the part of the motor vehicle operator, automatically. Of course if you have to wear 2000 lbs of armor with the help of oil, you should have the decency to not steal right of way from legitimate road users. Cyclists should be subsidized since the proportion of damage to the roads, in combination with the taxes that actually are used for road maintenance (within the context of the US tax structure) are much higher for cyclists.
I'm one of the law-abiding riders, but I'm still invisible to drivers. And, as a driver too, I know why - I'm just not primed to look for bicycles even though I often ride one! Weird.... My favorite near-death experience is the driver who makes a right turn while I'm alongside on his right, thereby pinching me between his car and the curb. I've perfected the technique of swinging my left leg out of the way, landing trotting, and watching my handlebar and left pedal put nice creases down the left side of the offending car. Most of the time all I have to do afterwards is quickly straighten my handlebar to my front wheel, jump on and peddle away. I'm not sticking around for a fistfight. Yelling and screaming do no good - the driver has his windows rolled up and the A/C on. Many don't even seem to know they've hit me. A visual warning might work much better. I'd be willing to buy and try such a warning device. Then all I'd need is something to discourage the thugs who try to yoke me off my bike!
Actually road maintenance is not covered by all the various taxes you cite- they may cover up to 80% of road maintenance. So the rest of the maintenance comes from property taxes, which everybody pays. Also, those "millions" country wide you speak of is a pittance compared to the billions spent around the country on interstates, which are for the most part not available to the classes you've specified. Furthermore, everybody is a pedestrian at some point in their daily journal. Damage is based on the mass of the vehicle. Compare the weights, and suddenly it's understandable why gas taxes make sense. There's also a moral right to transport by human power- a right which can not be abridged. Driving licenses can be revoked, as they should be- the amount of death + property damage that can occur from negligence is much higher when behind the wheel than when I'm walking. Even if you amputate limbs, you can not revoke fundamental human rights to transport myself via human power. Rights precede taxes.
An excellent reason to put sliding doors on cars. Another one is those huge shopping center parking lots with barely enough space to squeeze your car into a parking space, but not enough to open the door without hitting the car on either side.