First West of England is trialling state-of-the-art cycle safety technology on three of its buses on the busy Gloucester Road corridor in Bristol.
The project is part of an on-going trial funded by five West of England local authorities. The CycleEye (sic) technology has been developed by Bristol engineering company Fusion Processing to reduce the growing number of cyclist collisions and casualties across the country involving large commercial vehicles. It uses radar and camera sensors to identify when the risk for the cyclist is increased due to being in the vehicle’s blind spot, and gives an audible alert to the driver’s cab.
The unit, which can operate in all weather conditions, as well during night and day, is fitted to the side of the commercial vehicle and is unique in the way it only audibly alerts drivers when there is a real danger of a collision with the cyclist. The intelligent system is programmed to ignore other nearby objects such as bollards, railings or cars so they are not mistaken for bikes, thereby cutting out false alerts which have been an issue with other cycle safety technologies. It also reduces cognitive overload on the driver – a condition where too much information is being dealt with simultaneously by an individual – allowing them to respond faster to potentially critical situations.
Its promoters said a preliminary trial in London, saw the system achieve a staggering 98.5% success rate in identifying cyclists.
According to the Office for National Statistics, cycling in Bristol has doubled over the last 10 years. Between 2008-2011, cyclists were involved in over a quarter of all collisions in the city and 19 involved buses.
Paul Matthews, Managing Director, First West of England, said: “CycleEye is an interesting piece of technology and we look forward to being able to review fully the findings of the study into it.”
He added: “We are pleased to be working with the city council and Fusion Processing on this project. We are constantly looking at ways we can reduce risk in our business, ensuring the safety of our customers, staff and all other road users in the process.”