Technology may aid in reducing bicycle accidents

The League of American Bicyclists rank two cities in Connecticut, New Haven and Bridgeport, as being among the top 20 bike commuting cities in the east. Connecticut has certainly come a long way over the past decade in working to improve bicycle safety. From vigorously promoting its Share the Road educational program, to requiring motorists to allow at least three feet of separation when overtaking and passing cyclists, Connecticut continues to make good strides toward reducing the number of bicycle accidents. Apparently, much remains to be done to make bicycling safer in our state.

Recently, the League of American Bicyclists released its 2014 "Bicycle Friendly State" rankings. Connecticut was ranked 21st. This is disappointing in light of the fact that Connecticut was ranked 18th in 2013. The top five Bicycle Friendly states were as follows: Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Delaware and Oregon. According to the League, the following are the primary criteria taken into account for ranking purposes:

  • Providing education for drivers and cyclists as to how to accommodate each other.
  • Planning for roads so as to include bike lanes.
  • Enforcement of distracted driver laws.
  • Appropriation of sufficient funds to study ways of keeping cyclists safe.

Obviously, each of the foregoing criteria is directly aimed at reducing the number of bicycling accidents which occur each year. While government initiatives are of critical importance for improving bicycle safety, new technology can also play a role in helping to reduce the number of bicycle accidents.

Technology helps cyclists be seen better

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that almost 40 percent of bicycle accidents happen between 6 p.m. and 12 p.m. These are the hours when it is either dark or the light is beginning to fade. An article appearing in the March 10, 2014, New York Times highlights continuing efforts to utilize technology to reduce bicycle accidents in view of the fact that one of the main grievances of bicyclists is not being seen by motorists. The New York Times article references two new devices which help bicyclists to be seen at night.

First, there is the See.Sense light. According to the manufacturer, See.Sense is described as the "intelligent cycle light with road sense" which flashes brighter and faster when needed most. With its sensory technology, it flashes vividly at intersections. Further, it is said to react and blink faster when it detects approaching headlights or poorly lit areas. During the daytime, the light begins to flash brightly when you are traveling under an overpass or entering a tunnel.

The second device referenced by the New York Times is the XFire Bike Lane Light. The XFire allows you to create your own virtual bike lane. The XFire has two red lasers coupled with extremely bright LEDs. The two high-visibility red lasers project two three-foot lines onto the road at night and are supposedly visible for up to a mile. This laser lit "bike lane" is aimed at preventing cyclists from being caught in a car's blind spot and to prevent vehicles from making a turn across an unseen cyclist.

Seeking compensation for cycling injuries

Certainly, new technology holds promise with regard to reducing bicycle accidents. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the reality is that nothing will ever totally eliminate bicycle accidents. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle as a result of the negligent actions of a motorist, do not wait to seek the advice and counsel of a Connecticut attorney experienced in handling bicycle accident cases.