External Vehicle Airbag Offers Protection to Cyclists

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For a long time, airbags have been the nearly exclusive purview of automobiles.  As vehicle occupants, we tend to take these protective measures for granted.  It’s thus easy to forget that motorcyclists and bicyclists aren’t likewise protected when they’re involved in a collision.  We recently brought you word of airbags meant for just these types of travelers, and now comes another story about an airbag designed to cut down on bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries.

This particular system hails from Denmark, and TNO has been busy testing the bicyclist airbag for around a year.  By mounting a camera to the rearview mirror of an automobile, the system has been fine-tuned to properly determine when a collision with a bicyclist is imminent.  Should such circumstances present, the technology activates an airbag on the car’s hood and hits the brakes.  The bicyclist, who otherwise would have crashed directly onto the hood and/or windshield, theoretically finds himself or herself having their fall cushioned by the airbag.

The Dutch government is so impressed with the potential of this technology that they have provided TNO with one million euros earmarked for the continued development of the airbag.  Vehicle collisions account for around 200 bicyclist fatalities annually throughout that country, but the hope is that this kind of system can mitigate the risks that cyclists face.