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Achieving bike safety with technology

Reaching new heights for bike safety

Riders on the road

Ever been in a situation where you’ve had to slam your brakes to avoid a cyclist that – you could have sworn – came out of nowhere? Or, perhaps you’re a cyclist and always need to be wary because you could be in a potential blind spot for motorists. No matter how careful you are – as a motorist or cyclist – unfortunately accidents are a sad reality. Fortunately, we can reduce their impact to ensure bicycle safety!

Bicycles don’t have airbags, impact protection zones and other safety features to keep their riders safe. At the moment, the best safety features for bicyclists are wearing a sturdy helmet, bright lights, and high visibility vests and gadgets while riding. However, there are technological solutions that can keep riders safe on the road, and Continental is contributing to their development.

Have a look at the smart technology and safety innovations helping keep cyclists, pedestrians and motorists safe on roads.

Right turn assist system

A short-range radar to help you turn with confidence 

According to the German insurers’ accident research association (UDV), in Germany alone, approximately one-third of bicyclists are killed in traffic each year due to a turning vehicle. For this reason, a huge amount of technology is going into right-turning assist systems and they’re proving to be a success. In fact, 36 percent of all accidents in which a cyclist is killed could be prevented by installing a right-turn assist system – particularly in trucks.

Continental has developed the 77 Gigahertz (GHz) short-range radar that detects movement direction and speed, making it the perfect gadget to help you turn or merge lanes in urban traffic confidently. Even when you look over your shoulder as you’re about to turn, there’s a possibility of a cyclist being in a blind spot. However, a right-turn assistant will detect the cyclist and send a signal to your brakes, so your car stops automatically before you collide with the bike. This feature would of course also apply to pedestrians and scooter riders.

A clear view for commercial vehicles

For vehicles such as trucks, buses, vans or RVs, driving through urban areas can be a stressful situation. Roads are often narrow, you’re potentially stop-starting a manual vehicle in traffic and there are distracted pedestrians using their phones and cyclists everywhere. With Continental ProViu Detect, you can get through these crowds safely and on your way to your destination. 

The technology uses sensor data to distinguish pedestrians and bicyclists. If there is the danger of a collision, you’ll be warned in good time with either a pulsating red light or an acoustic warning sound to alert you of the moving object.

Best of all, it can be upgraded with various additional features such as radar sensors and the camera system of ProViu 360. This feature involves four fish-eyed cameras that are attached to each side of your commercial vehicle. Rather than only depending on your side mirrors and careful judgment, you will have a 360-degree birds-eye view of your vehicle, presented on your onboard display – ensuring better driving safety for all road users around you.

Right Turn Assist Vision

Intelligent door brake system

As a motorist, you may sometimes find yourself stuck behind a bicyclist on narrow streets. However, if you put yourself in their shoes – or on their bikes – you’ll find there’s a high chance they’re cycling in the middle of the street to keep a car door’s length distance from parked cars. Opening the door of a parked car at the exact moment a bike comes by could result in a potentially fatal accident.

Continental’s intelligent door brake system can protect passengers and cyclists using obstacle detection. The high-tech control system immediately stops the process of opening the vehicle door if an obstacle is identified. As a result, the intelligent brake function reliably prevents a potential collision. This technology is currently being developed particularly for autonomous vehicles. In fact, it won the CES 2019 Innovation Award in the Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology category. However, if you have the Continental 77 GHz short-range radar installed, it can also warn you of a passing bike with the aid of a red blinking light or an acoustic warning sound.

Woman passing traffic on her bike in a cycling lane.

General bike safety tips

Whether you are already using these bike safety innovations, planning on getting them in your next car, or aren’t using any particular cyclist safety technology, there are a few things all motorists can do to reduce accidents. Keep these safety tips in mind for all pedestrians’ and bike riders’ safety:

  • When overtaking a cyclist, leave as much space as you would when passing a car.
  • When driving beside a person on a bicycle, keep a safe minimum distance of 1.5 meters or 2 meters for faster speeds.

Of course, cyclists can also do their part:

  • If you're going to ride a bicycle, always wear a helmet – even if wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement in your country.
  • Be a responsible cyclist when riding your bicycle – don't be too overconfident.
  • Make sure you are visible to all traffic participants and be aware of your surroundings at all times.