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Engineering
  

The Key To Saving Cyclists

BOZEMAN, MT (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Every nine minutes a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed on the road hit by a passing motorist who either didn't see them or wasn't paying attention.

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Biking has its benefits, exercise, save on gas, help the environment, but Tom Keck knows how risky riding can be. His son Collin was riding with a friend when tragedy struck.

"They were peddling on the road. He got struck by a tractor trailer going about 10 miles an hour and he was killed." Keck told Ivanhoe.

Collin was just 22 years old. He is one of 700 cyclists who die on the road each year. Now, human factors engineers have a new device to help reduce the number of deaths between cars and bikes

"What we came up with is a device to warn the driver of a cyclist along the roadway." Laura Stanley, PhD, a human factors engineer at Montana State University explained.

The device is mounted on a vehicle's dashboard. It uses a GPS transmitter and receiver to communicate with a similar device mounted on a bike. Signals are sent to a satellite, to the bike, and back to the car, telling the driver of the car where the cyclist is.

"Basically measures the speed of the bicyclist as well as the speed of the vehicle, and we can determine the time to say, collision." Dr. Stanley said.

Researchers are testing a similar device with a driving simulator to find what type of warning system works best when a driver is about to collide with a bike.

"First, you warn the driver say at 20 seconds when they're about to collide with a cyclist, and then at 10 seconds they receive a red icon, so that's danger, there's a cyclist along the roadway." Dr. Stanley said.

Tom thinks an early warning device might have saved his son's life.

"It was a tragedy waiting to happen. Collin was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Keck said.

Researchers are now working on a warning system for a cell phone application for bikers and vehicle drivers.

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Laura M. Stanley, PhD, CPE
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-1399
laura.stanley@ie.montana.edu

Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Santa Monica, CA 90406
(310) 394-1811
http://www.hfes.org

lois@hfes.org


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Prior Reports
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