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Finding New Paths Forward

Nov 2020

Vehicle Technology

laser lights bicycle symbol

In light of the rising numbers of accidents involving cyclists and the expectation that the volume of bicycle traffic will continue to increase, especially in urban areas, we need to improve road safety and be open to ways of doing so that have previously been dismissed as far-fetched. Even the most simple tools may prove effective in this regard. Take bicycle lighting equipment, for example:

There are now headlamps with built-in laser lights that project a bicycle symbol onto the ground in order to make other road users aware of cyclists and announce their arrival at busy junctions before the cyclists themselves can actually be seen. These systems are also designed to project the presenceof a cyclist into the line of sight of motorists so that they notice the cyclist even when they are in the motorist’s blind spot. New bicycle tail lights are also available that project a virtual bicycle laneonto the road using a laser in order to show overtaking vehicles the safety area around the bicycle and encourage them to maintain a greater distance when overtaking.

These systems are already in use in some countries, especially on rental bicycles. In others, such as Germany, they are prohibited. We need to find a path between categorically ruling out new forms of technology that can improve safety and allowing the producers of stylish new gadgets to run wild, flooding the market in a way that would be counterproductive to safety concerns. As a general rule, however, all additional functions of this kind need to be thoroughly discussed and examined by the relevant expert committees, such as the GRE and the UNECE in Geneva – just like many other proposed new forms of lighting technology in the automotive sector.

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