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Automakers look out for bikers

Published:Sunday | February 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMChad Bryan
Contributed The Volvo S40.
Contributed Two persons on a motorcycle in city traffic.
File A policeman from the Accident Reconstruction Unit takes photographs at the scene of an accident in which a pedal cyclist traveling along Oxford Road in St Andrew towards Tom Redcam Avenue was hit off a bicycle by a truck IN 2013.

The irritation and danger of motorcyclists and pedal cyclists who seem to show up out of nowhere and cut in front of drivers along busy roadways may become a thing of the past, as motor vehicle technology is being developed to detect them.

Jaguar Land Rover has done considerable work in automotive safety with its virtual windscreen project and now the company is looking to protect cyclists. The automaker's latest research and development concept is called Bike Sense.

The technology uses a series of in-car alerts to warn the driver of an approaching pedal cyclist or motorcyclist. Outside sensors on the car detect the biker's movement and, when they get too close, a bicycle bell or motorcycle horn blasts from the speakers closest to their location. When someone approaches from behind, an air cushion inside the seat alerts the driver.

A collection of LED lights on the windowsills change from yellow to red when the biker approaches and indicate the path that the person is planning to take.

Door handles will also buzz in the driver or passenger's hand to indicate that they should not be opened as pedal or motorcyclists are close by. Further, the accelerator pedal will vibrate if the car's direction creates the possibility of an accident with a cyclist.

However, it is unclear when this technology will be deployed commercially. Volvo, renowned for its safety features, is also developing technology that will detect and apply the necessary safety procedures to prevent collisions with cyclists.