Bloody Volvo drivers - now they're keeping cyclists safe
RENOWNED car safety experts Volvo could hold the key for protecting cyclists.
New technology showcases an automatic two-way connection between driver and rider - using the car's safety system and gadgets embedded in a cyclist's helmet.
The exact positions of the cyclist and the car are shared with Volvo cloud database. If a collision is predicted at any angle, the driver of the car will be alerted to the cyclist's presence via a head-up display alert.
The cyclist will also receive a visible warning through a helmet-mounted alert light.
Volvo has developed the technology with communications giant Ericsson and sports gear manufacturer POC.
Following Volvo's announcement, Jaguar Land Rover also took the wraps off its own system.
The British marque has revealed "Bike Sense" which taps the driver on the shoulder with an in-built air cushion and rings a bicycle bell inside the car to help prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes. Door handles will 'buzz' the driver's hand and light up to prevent doors being opened into the path of bikes.
If the driver ignores the warnings and presses the accelerator, Bike Sense will make the accelerator pedal vibrate or feel stiff, so the driver knows not to move the car forwards until the hazard has been avoided.
Cycling is surging in popularity, and last financial year more than 1.4 bikes were imported. Those sales again exceeded cars, which has been the case for over a decade.
But in 2014, 45 cyclists were killed in Australia. In 2013, 50 cyclists died.
"Unfortunately this has resulted in an increase in serious cycling accidents. It's an issue that Volvo Cars believes is unacceptable and requires an innovative and concerted effort to address.
"Volvo Cars' City Safety system - standard on the all-new XC90 - is a technology that can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists.
"It was the car industry's first step to seriously address cyclist safety, and it has paved the way for this latest advance in safety technology."
Australian cyclist Simon Gerrans has welcomed the new helmet technology concept.
The ORICA GreenEdge cyclist says one of his greatest fears is not being seen by a driver, and being knocked off his bike.
"As a professional cyclist I spend a lot of time training on the road, so there is always that fear in the back of your mind about accidents.
"Unfortunately it's an occupational hazard for professional cyclists like me, and increasingly for recreational cyclists too," he said.
"If this new Volvo technology can help reduce that risk it will potentially save lives and give cyclists like me greater peace of mind on the road."