World (traffic) dominance of the bike and the obstacles to overcome
Biking has never been so popular as today, but it is far from being the first choice for commuters in many cities across the globe.
Faster, more sustainable, healthier — biking is the best alternative of (not only) urban transportation. Numbers are increasing, but biking is far from being the first choice for commuting in many big cities across the globe. There are three main reasons: convenience, safety, cargo. So let’s collect some ideas on how these three obstacles could be overcome.
Undoubtedly, the bike is the best way of transportation if it is about urban mobility. In fact, the bike is the fastest muscle propelled vehicle in the world. And it has never been more popular than today. Nevertheless, the number of accidents increases proportionally to the number of bicycle riders and is on an equal maximum. To get this straight: Despite all available technology, there is no improvement in bike safety. Deriving from the mid of the 19th century, the invention of the bike was never crucially improved concerning our three points. On the other side, Infrastructure will not change that quickly towards more safety, since it always is a political question. Of course, there are cities like Copenhagen with bike highways and secure lanes, but most cities are far away from that level.
“Deriving from the mid of the 19th century, the invention of the bike was never crucially improved concerning our three points.”
Why not just connect the dots?
For more safety, we need active and preventive systems. Dear developers, I know, talk is cheap, it is about the implementation, but what about just connecting the dots which are already there? Cars are fully equipped with all sorts of technology. We have cameras, object tracking, lidar systems, radar, VtoX (vehicle to infrastructure) recognizing objects and deriving information from them as well as VtoV (vehicle to vehicle). Why not integrating the bikes and send forth and back? If people seemingly cannot take care and communicate well enough to avoid accidents, systems should be able to do so. Imagine a small and simple device on any bike. The signal is unspecific and recognizable for every car, which will warn the driver. A digital signal, sending VtoV & VtoX within a range of several meters. Smart information within a range of 20–30 meters, soft warnings within a range of 15–5 meters, loud warnings when hitting the safety zone.
“We have cameras, object tracking, lidar systems, radar, VtoX recognizing objects and deriving information from them as well as VtoV (vehicle to vehicle). Why not integrating the bikes and send forth and back?”
Accidents between bikes and cars happen because bikes are (comparably) fast and hard to see and cannot speak yet. A simple signal using existing technology can make them recognizable and make biking a lot safer as well as sensitize automotive vehicle drivers.