RAC Cars News


Jaguar Land Rover Leading The Way On Cyclist Safety

By raccars Published

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JLR has unveiled its new 'Bike Sense' cyclist safety system, which will alert motorists to approaching cyclists and brake automatically if necessary. JLR hopes the system will help to reduce the high number of road deaths and injuries suffered by cyclists and the amount of collisions between bikes and cars.

JLR is planning to install Bike Sense into its new cars within the next two years. When a cyclist is coming close to a car, the system can produce a series of alerts to warn drivers, who do not always find it easy to see approaching cyclists. An audible alert in the form of the traditional 'ring ring' bicycle bell will sound from the same direction as the approaching cyclist, while the driver also receives a virtual 'tap on the shoulder' from a device fitted to the seat, which causes it to inflate and contract. The idea is to prompt the driver to look behind at whichever side has been tapped to see the approaching cyclist. In order to prevent motorists opening their doors onto cyclists approaching alongside, the car's door handles will buzz, as will the accelerator pedal, if an accident is likely to be caused by moving the car.

The same system can distinguish between bicycles and motorbikes and will use a separate audible alert in the form of a motorcycle horn sound, to alert drivers to their presence. Jaguar Land Rover claims the system is not there to replace drivers' natural instincts but to help them. By using sounds and other alerts that drivers automatically associate with the approaching hazard, whether it's a motorbike or a bicycle, drivers should react more quickly than if a generic warning symbol were issued, which the brain takes more time to process.

Every year there are about 19,000 road deaths and injuries to cyclists on British roads, and numerous angry confrontations, legal disputes and personal injury claims, as car drivers and bike riders seem unable to share the roads amicably.

As a result, there is a growing trend for cyclists to wear cameras mounted in their helmets, which can be used as evidence should a collision occur. Similarly, motorists are using dashboard mounted cameras to back up their side of a dispute. However, the cyclist almost inevitably comes off worse physically in the event of a collision with a car, no matter who is at fault. The system is supported by British Cycling.

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