York to introduce cycle detection system to increase road safety

York to introduce cycle detection system to increase road safety
York to introduce cycle detection system to increase road safety

This is news that will interest cyclists as it announces a world’s first. From 10th of October this year, York will become the world’s first city to introduce cycle detection system on roads to enhance the safety of the cyclists.

The buses plying the roads of the city will be fitted with these tags that will alert the drivers to cyclists that might come in proximity with the bus. Often cyclists come into a blind spot and get hit inadvertently by the buses. The tags will be made available to students from the Union shop while other cyclists will get them from getcycling.org.uk.

Cycle Alert, the market-leading, cycle safety innovation is launching in partnership with The University of York,City of York Council and Transdev Unibus. Working in conjunction with City of York Council and Transdev Unibus, The University of York is to become the first to introduce the revolutionary Cycle Alert System on it’s network of Unibuses and with York University Students. York is a city renowned for its progressive approach to city planning and sustainable transportation. They have worked to create better cycling networks over the years having replaced train-tracks with Sustran cycle routes and providing both an extensive network of off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes. The hard work has paid off with York being able to boast some of the best cycling infrastructure in Britain.

One particular demographic has fully embraced cycling as their primary means of transport around the town – The Student, and The University of York has been paramount in encouraging them to do so. So it came as no surprise when Fiona Macey, Travel Plan Coordinator at the University of York was introduced to Cycle Alert she was eager to become one of the first cities to implement the system on their network of Unibuses and encourage students to use the Cycle Alert transmitters on their bikes.

Fiona Macey, Travel Plan co-ordinator, University of York, said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Transdev Unibus and the City of York Council to be the first UK city to pioneer the use of Cycle Alert on our University bus fleet. The University is committed to promoting sustainable modes of travel and Cycle Alert will be a huge benefit to our cyclists and city wide.”

Cycle Alert has been designed to address the issue of increased incidents between cyclists and vehicles on the road. Primarily, the disproportionate amount of accidents and deaths to cyclists whilst traveling through busy junctions and when they come into contact with Heavy Good Vehicles. Cycle Alert encourages drivers and cyclists to take responsibility for making the road a safer place. And unlike other sensor and video systems in circulation, Cycle Alert is a cyclist specific system, tracking only cyclists up to two metres in proximity. Cycle Alert also evades the ‘white noise’ issue of existing systems indicating the presence of any object in the vicinity. The Cycle Alert system does not just alert drivers to a potential risk in areas frequented by cyclists – it facilitates a direct warning from a cyclist straight to the vehicle driver.

About Cycle Alert:The system has three elements: a tag that is fitted to the bicycle (or worn by a cyclist on their person or helmet), sensors that are fitted to the HGV or other vehicle, and a cab-mounted device to alert the driver. The three units work in sync to form a communication network between all parties, alerting the driver – with maximum advance notice

– of a cyclist in proximity. The in-cab receiver is designed to create minimal distraction for the driver, with a simple and audible ‘cyclist’ warning and a flashing light that indicates where the cyclist or cyclists are positioned near or around the vehicle. This allows the driver to react instantly and actively avoid any potential collisions.

Cycle Alert’s co-founder and the system’s innovator, Peter Le Masurier, came up with the idea after learning about the considerable impact of truck-cycle road accidents: both for the vulnerable cyclist and also the hard-hitting consequences for truck drivers.

Peter explains:“There are currently no systems on the market that can tell an HGV driver whether a cyclist is close to their vehicle. This is where Cycle Alert comes in. Everybody needs to take responsibility for their own safety on the road. Cycle Alert empowers cyclists to make themselves more obvious to HGV drivers. I was inspired to develop this technology when I listened to an interview with a truck driver who have been involved with an accident with a cyclist – I recognised then that not one, but two families are left devastated by such incidents.”

Cycle Alert understands that drivers and cyclists will need to engage with the product to have a real impact on road safety. The system has also received approval from two of the leading names in the haulage industry: Eddie Stobart and Keltbray are both early supporters of the scheme and the Met Police have demonstrated Cycle Alert in all its recent ‘exchanging places events’ as part of its cyclist road safety programme.

Although designed initially with HGVs in mind, it should be noted that Cycle Alert can be used by all vehicle users, with a view to making the roads a safer place. A unique, inexpensive technology, Cycle Alert is an indispensable product for both cyclists and drivers.

Cycle Alert will be active on York’s Unibuses from 10th October 2013. Cycle Alert cyclist tags will be available to purchase from the Students Union Store and getcycling.org.uk. Whilst launching in York, plans are in place for a natural roll out in the forthcoming months.

Technical insights in Cycle Alert-

Cycle Alert operates as a type of active RFID (radio frequency identification) system, where the RFID tags are on the bicycles and the readers are on motor vehicles. (Note that identification serves to indicate presence and not specific attributes of the bicycle or user). Each cycle unit is mounted on a bicycle. Whenever moving, the cycle unit advertises its presence regularly so that a vehicle can sense its presence. When the bicycle is stationary for a while, the advertising transmissions stop. Vehicles are fitted with Side Units and Cab Units. Together, they form a sensing system that allows the driver to know that a bicycle is near. The general operation is:

– The Side Units report to the Cab Unit the received signal strength from a bicycle

– If the signal strength reports from the side units received by the Cab Unit pass a threshold level, then an audible alert is sounded and the cab display shows the approximate location of the bicycle.

– The Side Units co-operate with the Cab unit to maintain very low battery use for the Side Units.

Cycle Alert active RFID has the advantage that the sensors on vehicles can be low-powered, low cost units with no wiring required and which give a highly reliable detection. This is in contrast to passive RFID systems which will require significantly larger, more costly and wired installation. Cycle Alert bicycle-mounted units operate for years on low-cost batteries which are easily checked and replaced during scheduled maintenance periods.

For more information please visit www.cyclealert.com.