Car manufacturers are beginning to get concerned about the number of bicyclists injured and killed in collisions with vehicles every year. One company, in particular, has decided to try to do something about the problem. Volvo recently announced that it has formed a partnership with POC, a safety brand, to research bicycle accidents.
Together, the companies will perform never-before-seen “car-bike helmet crash tests.” The results of these research efforts will help Volvo to develop new technology and safety features for its vehicles. The hope is that these new features will help to substantially reduce the number of car-bicycle collisions on the road.
New Study Has New Focus
Wearing a helmet while riding a bike significantly reduces the risk of injury or death in an accident. However, it may be surprising to learn that no safety or impact studies have looked at the impact of collisions between cars and bicycles. Helmets have only ever been studied by dropping them on the ground from a stationary position. The new Volvo/POC study changes things.
Volvo will strap Crash test dummies wearing a POC bike helmet to the hood of one of its cars. The dummy head will be “thrown at different angles and speeds to gather any necessary and essential data.”
This will allow both companies to better understand what happens when a bicyclist collides with a car. Volvo can design and implement safety features for its new cars, and POC can design a safer bicycle helmet. Together, these initiatives should help to significantly reduce the number of injury-causing and fatal bike accidents in the coming years.
New Safety Features Are Necessary as Fatal Bike Crashes Rise
There are two interesting facts about bike accidents in the United States. Over the past few years, the average number of bicycle accidents across the country has declined. Some states have seen an increase in crashes, but for the most part bike accident have happened less frequently.
At the same time, however, the number of fatal bicycle accidents has increased by 12%. Accidents might be declining, but the accidents that are happening are much more violent.
Volvo hopes to change this trend with its new vehicle safety features. According to the company, it is using its research to develop a Cyclist Detection system. The new technology will use a camera and radar to:
- Detect bike riders
- Warn drivers of a potential collision with a cyclist, and
- Stop the car before a crash can occur, if necessary.
The company hopes that’s safety technologies like these become standard in vehicles in the near future.
New Technology Won’t Be a Complete Solution For the Country’s Bike Accident Problem
Safer helmets and new car technology should certainly do a lot to reduce the number of fatal bike accidents across the country. However, studies have shown that driver and bicyclist behavior are huge contributing factors in accidents.
Many cities still lack dedicated bicycle infrastructure. Vehicles and bicycles are sharing the same lanes. Drivers are in a hurry to get to their intended destination. They forget to remember that they’re sharing the road with bicyclists, who are much more likely to sustain severe injuries in a collision.
At the same time, bicycle riders are increasingly distracted by technology. Rather than keeping an eye on the road and traffic around them, cyclists are texting and checking social media. This may be due to the fact that many young people are choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a car.
Statistics show that bike accidents caused by careless or distracted operators have increased by 40% in recent years. While technology can play a role in cutting down on fatal bike crashes, cyclists and drivers will have to make real changes to the way they share the road. Only then will we see a significant decline in devastating collisions between bicycles and cars across the country. Visit Advocacy Advance often for more information.