New airbags for cars to protect cyclists & pedestrians
A special Bike Crash Airbag, designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by cars, was successfully demonstrated recently at the Automotive Campus in Helmond.
This new airbag is positioned on the windshield, and was shown to properly protect the head and upper body of a dummy mounted on a bicycle hit by a car driving 40 km per hour (the average accident speed).
For the past few years, almost 100 cyclists and 50 pedestrians have been killed in the Netherlands per year in accidents involving cars. A consortium of companies called SaveCAP were commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and Fietsberaad to come up with ways to reduce these types of casualties.
In addition to a windshield airbag system, an automatic braking system was also investigated. Although Volvo already has an airbag and automatic braking system to protect pedestrians in one of their models on the market, protecting faster-moving cyclists requires some modifications.
The system developed during the SaveCAP project includes a sensor which allows cyclists to be detected in a 40-degree arc, rather than just straight ahead, and the cyclist airbag (which is also very effective for pedestrians) is larger than the pedestrian airbag.
According to TNO (a member of SaveCAP), this research shows that a combination of automatic braking and the airbag would have saved the lives of 70 of the cyclists and 30 of the pedestrians killed each year in the Netherlands.
You can find out more about the SaveCAP project here.