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Bristol announces ‘world first’ cycle safety initiative

Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Bristol is to be the first city in the world to install a cyclist sensor alert system on a number of buses operating in the city.

The initiative has been made possible through funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund provided to Bristol City Council to support the installation of CycleEye on buses operated by the city’s main operator, First West of England. The company behind CycleEye is Bristol-based Fusion Processing Ltd.

CycleEye, which was trialled by both First West of England and Transport for London in 2014, has been developed to reduce the number of cyclist collisions and casualties across the country.

Fitted to the side of a bus, CycleEye uses radar and camera sensors to identify cyclists in potentially dangerous situations in close proximity to the bus, and gives an audible alert to the driver’s cab.

The system is programmed to ignore other nearby objects such as bollards, railings or other vehicles so they are not mistaken for bikes, cutting out false alerts. The audible-only system also reduces cognitive overload on the driver, allowing them to respond faster to potentially critical situations.

George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol, said: “Being European Green Capital is partially about finding innovative ways in which we can be a smart, intelligent city of the future.

"Bristol has a well-deserved reputation for being a cycle-friendly city, and it’s another Green Capital achievement that First West of England is extending their use of CycleEye within the city in which it was invented.”

Jim Hutchinson, founder of Fusion Processing, said: “The advanced sensor and processing systems developed by Fusion can play a big part in intelligent transport, both now and in the future.

“We’re moving into an age where smart cities are harnessing technology to make travel and transport better and safer for people, and that has to be a good thing.”

James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said: “The kit will be installed on a number of buses in the coming months and gives us a wider opportunity to test it on a larger number of routes to see how it does detecting cyclists as they pass through the driver’s blind spot.

“We are constantly looking at ways we can reduce risk in our business, ensuring the safety of our customers, staff and all other road users in the process. CycleEye is an interesting piece of technology in this regard.”

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My problem with the fitment of cyclist-detecting sensors to larger vehicles is that it could actually end up with some cyclists thinking that it is acceptable to ride down the inside of such vehicles in the belief that the driver would know they were there and take care of them.

Even if all large vehicles are eventually fitted with them, there will always be days when they are perhaps faulty. Where would that leave the cyclists? Drivers may also not take heed of the warnings, especially after false positives. Any system that is sensitive enough to detect any cyclist, is probably going to give false alarms on some occasions.

Surely, what we need is improved education so that cyclists do not find themselves in such positions?
David, Suffolk

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As a motorcycle or scooter has a very similar framework to a bike then will it warn the driver of any close proximity to those machines also.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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