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A brand-new cycle safety device being tested on buses in Bristol could have a very definite impact on both cyclist safety and future bus driver training. The device, if further tests show positive results, could also be adapted for use on HGVs and LGVs. The device uses a series of cameras and sensors to warn vehicle operators when cyclists are too close.

CycleEye is the name of the new device being developed by Fusion Processing. It is a self-contained unit that continually monitors the inside lane on the left side of a bus. If a cyclist is deemed too close to the vehicle, an alarm is sounded to get the driver’s attention. He or she can then take appropriate evasive manoeuvres to protect a cyclist and his or her vehicle.

Although the concept is not new, the way this technologically advanced device works is. It is an active device as compared to the passive devices currently on the market. Here’s how it works:

A camera is installed on the side of the bus in such a way as to make sure there is always an unimpeded view of the inside lane and the area beyond it. Additional sensors are included to measure speeds and distances. All of the information is fed into a central processing unit capable of distinguishing the difference between various objects including trees, utility poles, pedestrians, and cyclists. This ability to distinguish is the most amazing feature of CycleEye.

Thus far, the tests in Bristol have been very positive. An initial trial showed a 98.5% success rate with three different buses. Transport for London is expected to install the devices for further tests later this year. If all goes well, it seems only a matter of time before buses in every major metropolitan area are equipped with the technology.

Driver Training

So how does the success of CycleEye affect bus driver training? By changing the way bus drivers deal with cyclists in heavily congested areas. Right now, it is a balancing act between drivers having to keep their eyes on the road while also constantly monitoring mirrors and on-board video displays. Having so much to pay attention to can be very distracting in heavy traffic.

With CycleEye, the need for external video monitors becomes unnecessary. Drivers would still be expected to monitor mirrors, but they can rely on the new technology to let them know when a cyclist is too close. This means more time spent with eyes on the road. Bus driver training will undoubtedly be adapted to account for the new technology.

Of course, we are still a way off from seeing this new technology become the norm in city buses. Until it does, it is incumbent upon companies like the HGV Training Centre to continue providing bus driver training utilising the technology currently available. It is still our responsibility to teach drivers how to be aware of cyclists for everyone’s safety. It is a responsibility that we certainly do not take lightly.

Sources:

CIOB – http://www.construction-manager.co.uk/news/new-device-h1gvs-cou1ld-sa6ve-cyclists-lives/

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