Staff from cycling and walking charity Sustrans are testing out new ICON bike lights that gather data about the cyclist’s journey and the road which could help improve safety.
See.Sense gather information via sensors about a cyclist’s journey and can detect when a cyclist swerves or brakes suddenly and log where this happens. The data can then be used to understand the road environment that could be shared with local authorities to suggest improvements.
The Department for Infrastructure is running a trial of taxis using a number of bus lanes in Belfast which is of great concern to many cyclists who depend on bus lanes given the lack of dedicated cycle lanes.
As a result Sustrans staff are logging their journeys and recording any near-miss experiences they have with taxis or other vehicles in bus lanes. The See.Sense technology is enabling staff to gather more accurate data on near-misses as the lights are paired to an app on a mobile phone.
See.Sense CEO Philip McAleese explained: “Working with Sustrans is a great way to showcase what our technology can do. We provide measured data about the cycling experience, removing the emotion and thus providing real data against which planning decisions can be made. It’s not about cars versus bikes, it’s about helping us understand how to use the limited road space most effectively.”
One of the main barriers to cycling is safety, and in particular, the perception of safety, which Sustrans works to improve through lobbying for better infrastructure and providing training to both cyclists and other road users such as lorry drivers.
Sustrans Northern Ireland director Gordon Clarke said: “This is fascinating new technology which has potentially lots of really useful applications and is particularly helpful with the information we are trying to gather at the moment during this trial of taxis in bus lanes.”
In order for cyclists to be more visible and safe when cycling on a road or bus lane, Sustrans recommends they adopt a position at least one metre (an arm’s length) from the kerb edge.