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Welsh Government to provide motorcycle research funding

Thursday 16th July 2015

Four projects which aim to reduce motorcycle casualties are to benefit from Welsh Government research funding (Road Safety Wales).

The projects were selected from 47 bids after Edwina Hart, transport and science minister, invited companies, public bodies and the voluntary sector to submit ideas to help improve road safety for motorcyclists.

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Innovation Challenge required companies to identify “pioneering approaches to reduce motorcycle casualties in Wales”.

Funding will now be given to the four selected companies to run feasibility studies as part of the first stage of the challenge.

Edwina Hart said: "This challenge is about harnessing potential to find tangible solutions which address key issues. I look forward to seeing how the successful projects develop."

The selected projects are:

• An advanced helmet liner which will incorporate Armourgel material into motorcycle helmets with the aim of protecting motorcyclists from rotational acceleration brain injuries.

• A flexible use energy absorption and dissipation material that can be cut to size and fitted to street furniture.

• A junction alert system which will use a combination of radar and cameras to identify when a motorcyclist is approaching.

• And a side view light for motorcycles that appears to flicker in peripheral vision, making it more noticeable to drivers at junctions.

Each project will receive up to £15,000 until December 2015 to develop their proposal. Following this, the two most promising will share funding of up to £450,000 to develop their product to a point where it can be marketed.

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Thanks for the words of encouragement Mark they are much appreciated.

In answer to your question yes we did put forward an extremely effective, multi-strand education and skills development proposal, but sadly it was rejected as "the panel was not convinced by the advantage offered by this educational approach over others."
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

Four great ideas here. Two of them could possibly save lives and contribute reducing the seriousness of any injury sustained by the rider after the collision event. The last two may contribute to reduce the incidents of prediction failure from the drivers of other vehicles and also save lives.

However, none of the four projects have anything to do with education and skills development - were any of the 47 bids related to training initiatives? We really do need to pursue new ideas with respect to developing the brain of the rider and then get on and market them if we're going to make a serious dent in future collision statistics involving motorcycles. Duncan, has on many occasions, identified prediction failure as a fundamental issue in collision causation; he has also alluded to how an understanding of the way the brain operates and processes information is a key factor in why prediction failure occurs. During the last 10 years researchers have developed a much greater understanding of the intricate structure of the human brain and how it works. Road safety practitioners and educationalists need to move forward out of their current comfort zones and use these new ideas to seize the opportunity to develop new education and training initiatives. We do have new ideas - for example Bob's 'Space is Safe Campaign' and Duncan's 'No Surprise No Accident initiative' - to name two. The trial and error approach is one of a number of ways the brain learns new skills, we also know that our emotional state, belief system, core values, the arrangement of the learning environment and a number of other factors have a direct impact on learning. Different people have different learning styles - we used to think that a person tended to be either left or right brain orientated and that was that! Now we know that it's not quite as simple as that. We are aware that the colour and layout of the immediate learning environment can significantly effect how some students learn, for example, the use of music in some instances; it's been postulated that playing Baroque music in the background can enhance learning. A number of books, including those by Tony Buzan, discuss how these factors and others can help in promoting the learning process.

Scientists make new discoveries that lead to pioneering ideas. Engineers and technologists then take the new knowledge and apply it to develop new things that benefit us and enhance our quality of life - for the most part, I realise this can be a moot point!

Like the engineers and technologists, we need to utilise new knowledge and ideas to develop new skills enhancement initiatives - learning programmes for the benefit of all road users. We should all learn from what has gone before, apply this knowledge and embrace new ideas, to either apply them or reject them depending on how well they work.
Mark - Wiltshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (2)
+11

Can you actually reduce the rotation or indeed any movement of the brain within the cranium by external measures. Especially under accident conditions. We se all to often boxers and nowadays rugby players being laid out with concussions under less severe circumstances that a RTA. It's not just the sideways movement it's the back to front or side to side that is the problem. As I see it if the head moves the brain moves within it. It's all brain shaking and I would like to see if this method will work. It's a shame they did not open this up to individuals but only to companies. A minority, that may have the where with all to carry out the potential changes.
Bobv Craven Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
+3