Concepts for Protecting Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Motorcyclists

Despite long haul upgrades in traffic security, people on foot, bicyclists, and motorcyclists face expanding dangers on our roadways. In 2013, 4,735 walkers were killed and more than 65,000 were harmed, averaging a fatality at regular intervals and damage frequently.

The numbers are just as concerning for cyclists, with 743 passings and 48,000 wounds in 2013. While traffic accidents and fatalities have been declining by and large, somewhere around 2009 and 2013 the quantity of bicyclist and people on foot fatalities expanded by 15 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Challenges and Risks

In light of developing dangers to defenseless street walkers, new advances—extending from equipment introduced straightforwardly on vehicles to inventive, sensor-based recognition frameworks—are developing at a quick pace. Difficulties are as shifted as the arrangements.

For instance, sensor-based frameworks should accurately decipher person on foot developments in swarmed urban ranges and should recognize vital intercessions from false cautions.

Research, Initiatives, and Solutions

Expanding on triumphs seen abroad, a few U.S. urban areas—including Portland, Oregon; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and New York City—are starting projects to introduce side gatekeepers on trucks to shield people on foot and cyclists from the back wheels of a vehicle in the case of a crash.

pedestrian-and-cars

These new alterations have demonstrated their viability: after a national side guard order in the United Kingdom, fatalities diminished by 61 percent for cyclists and 20 percent for people on foot in side-swipe crashes with trucks. Side-swipe impacts result in a lopsided number of walkers and cyclist fatalities in the United States.

About a portion of bicyclists and more than a quarter of pedestrians are murdered after being hit with trucks first effect the side of the automobile.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Technology is also being developed to reduce the likelihood of crashes involving vulnerable road users. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are being developed to alert drivers to nearby vulnerable road users.  By combining camera- and mirror-based detection methods with radar, sonar, or infrared sensors, ADAS technology can provide 360 degrees of coverage surrounding a vehicle—even at night or in inclement weather, conditions in which collisions are most likely to occur.

ADAS alerts drivers through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic cues, and at higher levels of sophistication, these technologies can also proactively apply brakes to avoid an accident. Honda has demonstrated experimental ideas that employ connected vehicle technology—using cooperative communication between an individual’s smartphone and nearby automobiles—to provide warnings to both drivers and vulnerable road users.

Implications for Transportation

It is expected that many more solutions will develop in the coming years as safety officials, manufacturers, and industry organizations work to reverse the trend in vulnerable road user fatalities. These may involve technological breakthroughs or design innovations.

As the number of cyclists has grown in recent years, these issues are getting somewhat belated attention, which suggests there may be a number of opportunities for low-tech, low-cost interventions—such as side guards—which could have a substantial impact.

NHTSA to Require Backup Cameras on All Vehicles by 2018

vehicle back-up camera system

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed a rule that requires all newly manufactured light vehicles to include “rear-view visibility systems,” specifically backup cameras. These vehicles would include all cars, SUVs, vans and trucks. While it won’t be in effect next year, it’s expected to start phasing in May 2016 and be completely implemented by May 1, 2018.

The NHTSA decided to make backup cameras a requirement following outrage from families and consumers affected by accidents involving back-overs, particularly incidents involving children. However, it’s arguable that the rule can also make parallel parking a much easier task for everyone.

Improving Vehicle Safety with Back-Up Cameras

The new rule would require vehicles to have back-up cameras that give drivers a clear 10’x20′ view zone behind the vehicle, along with other image size requirements to further improve visibility.

Providing statistical reasons for implementing the new rule, NHTSA’s 2010 report found that each year 210 people die from light-vehicle back-over accidents, while 15,000 are injured. 31% of those deaths are children under age 5 and 26% are adults over the age of 70. With the new rule, NHTSA estimates that 58-69 lives will be saved yearly by 2054, when all vehicles have rear-view visibility systems.

Another reason the rule has come into existence is that Congress recently passed a law requiring the Department of Transportation to have developed a rule regarding backup visibility devices by 2011. Originally, backup visibility systems were supposed to be a requirement last year, but several delays have prevented that from happening.

Looking Forward

Many have already expressed their contentment with the new rule, including KidsAndCars.org president Janette Fennell, who stated, “It’s about time the motoring public will finally be able to see what’s behind their vehicle while backing up.”

People have also voluntarily installed backup camera systems in increasing numbers, installing standard or optional cameras on new vehicle models. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that by 2018, 73% of light vehicles will voluntarily install rear-view cameras.

Expenses

The expenses will also be minimal, costing only $132-142 to install a complete system, and $43-45 to install a camera on cars with a sufficient display.

Innovations like this will significantly help further reduce deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents, particularly low-speed crashes. Rear-view visibility technology is simply one of the many developments we’ll see in the coming years.

Some of the other changes soon to come include smarter road designs, different driver behaviors, and expanded requirements for vehicle safety devices in places like India. Although we won’t likely see a day when the yearly average number of deaths caused by traffic accidents is 0, we can get closer with sound rules such as this one.