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New sensors aim to cut cycle crashes
STUDENTS in York are to be the first in the UK to use new transmitters on their bikes which send a warning to lorry drivers, in a bid to prevent accidents caused by blindspots.
The Cycle Alert system, which also alerts motorists to potential risks in popular cycling areas, is being installed on the University of York’s Unibuses and students are being encouraged to use the tags after its designers said most cycling crashes and tragedies happened at busy junctions and when trucks are involved.
The university is introducing the system following work with City of York Council and Transdev Unibus, as part of its efforts to promote cycling among students. As well as the tag, which is fitted to the bike or the cyclist’s clothing or helmet, the system includes sensors placed onto a heavy goods vehicle and a cab-mounted device to let drivers know when a cyclist is nearby through a warning symbol and a flashing light indicating their position, allowing them to react more quickly.
Fiona Macey, the university’s travel plan co-ordinator, said: “We are thrilled 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.”
The system only tracks cyclists within two metres of a vehicle and does not use “white noise”. Cycle Alert’s co-founder and the technology’s innovator Peter Le Masurier said he came up with the idea after learning about the impact of accidents between bikes and trucks and the emotional consequences for cyclists and drivers.
“There are currently no systems on the market which can tell a HGV driver whether a cyclist is close to their vehicle, and everybody needs to take responsibility for their own safety on the road,” he said.
“The system empowers cyclists to make themselves more obvious to HGV drivers.”
Mr Le Masurier said haulage firms Eddie Stobart and Keltbray had both supported the scheme, while the Metropolitan Police had demonstrated Cycle Alert as part of a road safety programme. It has been initially designed for lorries, but can be used in other vehicles. The tags will be available to students via the University of York Students’ Union shop and online at getcycling.org.uk from October 10.
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