Share the Road with Cyclists
By law, bicycles are considered vehicles. They have the same rights and responsibilities as a motorized vehicle. There are too many drivers out there that aren’t aware of this, and disturbingly enough, ignorance accounts for many of the bicycle/motor accidents and deaths. In 2011, 677 bicyclists were killed in an accident with a motor vehicle. That number accounted for two percent of total motor fatalities that year. Often the accident is just that, an accident. In some cases it’s unavoidable. This is where Honda is stepping in and making it safer to Share the Road with Cyclists. The manufacturer is currently developing a system to minimize these collisions by providing alerts not only for cyclists, but motor vehicle drivers as well.
The system works through what Honda has called dedicated short range communications (DSRC). Honda vehicles will be equipped with the technology and respond with smartphones that are also programmed with DSRC. When a cyclist or pedestrian is in danger of a collision, audible and visual warnings are given to the driver on their instrument panel and navigation screen at the same time they are given to the cyclist or pedestrian on their smartphone.
It works by using the GPS in the smartphone and dynamic sensing capabilities in the vehicle. This makes it possible for the system to alert both parties when they are not in visual range. If you’re attempting to cross the street between cars and a Honda that you can’t see over the pickup truck next to you is about to zoom past, you’ll get a warning to stop you from walking into its path. The driver will also get an alert so they have a chance to slow down. The driver gets additional information about what you’re doing. If you’re listening to music, texting or in a phone conversation, the driver gets that information.
The upside to the system is that it does not just go off for every cyclist or pedestrian within range. It judges direction and speed and position of surrounding pedestrians and vehicles. If you’re standing still, but near the oncoming vehicle, there will be no alert. However, if you take a step towards the oncoming vehicle, there is likely to be an alert.
The DSRC system is unlike anything that has been implemented in vehicles before. There are plenty of systems to warn drivers of potential collisions with other vehicles, but nothing for cyclists and pedestrians. Two percent may not sound like much but when you think about 677 lives that could have been saved, DSRC makes a whole lot of sense. It may not stop accidents completely, but it’s likely to cut them down.