New cycle safety technology has been launched to reduce the growing number of cyclist collisions and casualties across the country involving large commercial vehicles.
The CycleEye technology, developed by Bristol engineering company Fusion Processing Ltd,uses radar and camera sensors to identify when the risk for the cyclist is increased due to being alongside or immediately in front of the vehicle, and gives an audible alert to the driver's cab.
The unit, which can operate in all weather conditions, as well during night and day, is fitted to the side of the commercial vehicle and is unique in the way it only audibly alerts drivers when there is a real danger of a collision with the cyclist. The intelligent system is programmed to ignore other nearby objects such as bollards, railings or cars so they are not mistaken for bikes, thereby cutting out false alerts which have been an issue with other cycle safety technologies. It also reduces cognitive overload on the driver – a condition where too much information is being dealt with simultaneously by an individual – allowing them to respond faster to potentially critical situations.
It was road tested for the first time this week by the bus industry when it was fitted to three buses by First in Bristol as part of an ongoing trial funded by the West of England local authorities and also including Wessex Bus.
A preliminary trial in London, has also seen the system achieve a staggering 98.5 per cent success rate in identifying cyclists.
Earlier this year a study by the AA showed that more than 90% of motorists admit it can be hard to see cyclists whilst driving. The Association has launched a campaign 'Think once, think twice, think bikes'.
Over 3,000 cyclists were seriously injured on British roads in 2012, the highest number for over a decade, according to the Department for Transport. Fatalities rose by 10% to 118.
Cycling has grown considerably across the UK due to rising fuel costs, health benefits and cycle hire schemes.
Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing Ltd, commented: "Our technology is a game changer in the logistics industry when it comes to the safety of cyclists on Britain's roads. One hundred and eighteen cyclists lost their lives in 2012 alone, a five year high since 2007, and incidents with large vehicles are increasing.
"Our technology can either be specified by vehicle manufacturers or retrofitted to an existing fleet. Above all it will allow logistics companies to show a responsible approach to cyclists and help reduce any insurance and legal costs associated with collisions."