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First practical tests Utrecht and Den Haag on road to cyclist airbag


Research institute TNO is setting up a Sensor Field Test as a first step on the road to an airbag that may save cyclists’ lives. For one year five service cars of a telecoms company will be traversing the busy Utrecht and Den Haag inner cities in order to further develop and test the sensor system that is to ensure that the airbag only deploys in case of an actual collision with a cyclist or pedestrian.

This yet-to-be developed airbag, covering the entire windscreen of a car in case of a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, might annually save the lives of 31 cyclists and 13 pedestrians.
According to TNO research, conducted on behalf of the Department of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and Fietsersbond, an automatic braking system or an airbag on the windscreen of a car are the best options for the protection of vulnerable traffic participants. For this development TNO works in close cooperation with airbag manufacturer Autoliv in Sweden, Centraal Beheer Achmea insurance company and Fietsersbond.
During this test the cars will not be equipped with a cyclist airbag yet, but they do have sensors for the detection of pedestrians and cyclists. Over a year’s period these KPN service cars will be subjected to numerous trials to further develop and test the sensor system.
After all, the airbag is not to deploy until an actual collision with a cyclist and/or pedestrian. In addition there will be experiments to find out whether the system operates in all weather conditions: for instance daylight, darkness, rain and fog. The sensor system may also be used for other active safety applications, for instance automatic braking to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

A Swedish company, on the other hand, is working on a completely different concept: an airbag for the head This invention is intended as a replacement for the bicycle helmet. It is a kind of collar that is inflated when the cyclist is in a collision. The sensors in the collar are powered by a battery that can be charged by means of the usb port on a computer.


M. Rutten (Gemeente Wijchen)
02-12-2010 @ 11:39

Helaas weer een maatregel om de schade te beperken. Liever zie ik maatregelen die fietsers beter laten opletten in het verkeer en automobilisten die meer rekening gaan houden met fietsers. Voorkomen is tenslotte altijd beter dan genezen.

Riet Beukert (particulier)
26-12-2010 @ 23:20

De zweedse airbag geeft de verantwoording helaas weer aan de fietser. Die krijgt altijd al de verantwoording en is niet de belangrijkste veroorzaker van ongelukken.

27-12-2010 @ 09:37

Ja ,de auto is al een airbag op zich en wordt gemeentelijk in de gelegenheid gesteld de snelheid erin te houden bij het huidige strooibeleid bij sneeuwval en gladheid,als voetganger en fietser moet je je eigen verantwoording maar nemen en gewoon thuisblijven.

Todd Edelman
28-01-2011 @ 10:14

Regarding the airbag collar: "...when the cyclist is in a collision"? The vehicle vs. cyclist test shown is at 20km/h. Even most slowed urban streets have a limit of 30km/h, which is an exponential difference from 30 assuming the speed limit is being obeyed.

About the windscreen airbag, I am disturbed by "an automatic braking system or an airbag on the windscreen of a car are the best options for the protection of vulnerable traffic participants." "Best" is a very powerful word - and while it is the word of TNO, it is apparently endorsed by Fietsersbond, and of course its partner Fietsberaard which prints this view but nothing to contrast it with. For that we have to wait for the comments. If Fietsberaad is claiming not to have a position with this article (or others) at the very least it has to an "on the other hand" from someone with a differnet opinion (and I am sure one is available as I know there is a movement for e.g. a complete 30km/h zone in Amsterdam). Slow zones don't encourage airbag "evolution" which of course would mean less money for the Swedish actors involved in both these initiatives (not to get nationalist, of course! Just sayin'! But Sweden is the country with a mandatory helmet law for children...)

Cyclists all over the world look to the Dutch for their expertise and guidance. While some may disagree with the infrastructure separation dogma and others will use the "not as flat" excuse, most (or at least too many) take things literally. Seeing some internal debate from the outside will evolve cycling safety in a holistic way and I hope that in future Fietsberaad takes a position in their editorial and better yet shows the different ones.

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