Traffic fatalities in the U.S. involving bicyclists rose 12.2% in 2015, the highest percentage increase among all other road users for the year, according to a report released last week by Governors Highway Safety Association. The German Federal Statistics Office also reports that 393 people were killed in vehicle-bike collisions in 2016 alone, and that equipping every car in the country with a cyclist-detection system with emergency braking could prevent almost half (43 percent) of these fatal accidents.
Volvo is currently the only automaker to offer a dedicated cyclist-detection system for passenger cars that can automatically apply the brakes when a bicycle crosses a vehicle’s path. But that could change since, starting in 2018, the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) will include emergency braking with cyclist detection as part of its star rating system.
Bosch is hoping to protect more cyclists and prepare for Euro NCAP’s revised ratings with a new system that will bring a car to a full stop from about 25 mph in just 190 milliseconds – less time than it takes to blink twice. Gerhard Steiger, president of Bosch’s Chassis Systems Control division, said in a statement that the system “may reduce braking distance by the few crucial centimeters that can mean the difference between life and death.”
Another technology Bosch is introducing will also give bicyclists a break (in addition to a brake). It employs rear midrange radar sensors used in lane-keeping systems to detect cyclists approaching a vehicle from behind.
The sensors, mounted on each side of the rear of a vehicle, monitor an area within a 20-meter radius to detect cyclists and other road users and warn occupants to look before opening a car door when parked on a city street to avoid clipping a cyclist. It works with all vehicle doors and can alert occupants even several minutes after the ignition has been switch off before exiting the vehicle.
“Driver assistance systems are the next step along the path toward accident-free driving,” added Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel. “These electronic assistants are always vigilant, and in emergencies they respond more quickly than people can.”
Whether they’re behind the wheel or behind handlebars.