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Six-week test in bid to cut casualties among vulnerable road users

Transport for London (TfL) is to trial sensor systems on two London bus routes to improve driver awareness of cyclists and pedestrians ahead of a possible rollout across the capital’s bus network in a bid to reduce casualties among the city’s vulnerable road users.

Two buses each on route 25, running from Oxford Street to Ilford via Mile End, and route 73, which goes from Victoria to Stoke Newington via Oxford Circus and Kings Cross will take part in the six-week trial.

TfL says that the routes in question have been specifically chosen because of the high numbers of cyclists and pedestrians found along the routes in question.

Two separate systems will be tested. Those are CycleEye, which harnesses radar and optical technology to ascertain when cyclists are near a vehicle and give the driver an audible warning, and Cycle Safety Shield, which alerts the driver both visibly and audibly when a cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist is nearby.

Commenting on the trial, the results of which will be set out in a report later this year, deputy mayor for transport, Isabel Dedring, said: “This is another great example of London leading the way by using the latest innovative technology to further improve safety for every road user.

“We've seen real improvements in reducing the number of accidents on our streets involving buses and if this trial proves successful we'll look to roll it out further across London's fleet.”

Leon Daniels, director of surface transport at TfL, added: “We are all pedestrians, and the number of people cycling in London is increasing, therefore it is vital that we continue to make London's streets as safe as possible.

“This forthcoming trial of innovative detection technology on London Buses will build on the positive trends we've seen in reducing serious injuries and demonstrates our commitment to making London's streets safe for all.”

According to TfL, bus trips make up a quarter of the capital’s road journeys but account for 8 per cent of the city’s road traffic incidents in which someone is injured. It adds that from 2008 to 2013, the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision with a bus or coach in Greater London fell by 48.1 per cent.

Over the same period, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in a collision with such vehicles dropped by 40 per cent, although buses and coaches were involved in several fatalities of bike riders last November, at Whitechapel, East Croydon and Southampton Row.

Figures obtained by the Greater London Assembly (GLA) Conservative group in November last year following a Freedom of Information request, 1,889 people had been killed or seriously injured in incidents involving buses from 2008 to 2013, equivalent to slightly more than one a day.

At the time, Richard Tracey, GLA Conservative transport spokesman, said: "These figures are alarming and they remain stubbornly high.

"Transport bosses need to urgently become more transparent around safety figures.

"Despite persistent questioning for several months, they have not yet been able to provide borough-by-borough breakdowns for recent serious incidents involving their own buses," he added.

While lorries account for most cyclist fatalities in London, figures released by Mayor Boris Johnson last month revealed that in some years, it is buses that are responsible for more serious injuries to riders per kilometre ridden.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

27 comments

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My worry with this sort of technology is that it might replace the normal checks that drivers should carry out and that the technology will be relied on too heavily.

Also, with the high numbers of cyclists in some parts of London there are likely to be cyclists 'near' buses almost all the time. Buses are always moving in close proximity to cyclists so would this mean that the audiable warning is constantly going off but being ignored by the driver?

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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I think you might be over-estimating the capabilities of the technology they plan to employ. My impresion is that it will simply make a sound to make the driver aware that a bike/ped is close to the bus which they will be able to choose whether or not to act on. The idea is that if the system is making a sound the driver should be able to see a bike in their mirrors, at which point they will behave in the same way that they would without the system. If they can't see a bike then they need to check again before moving. I don't think it will record anything or be linked in any way to the vehicles controls.

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CXR94Di2 [1024 posts] 1 year ago
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Even a simple system that makes an audible warning linked to a camera based viewing sytem so the driver can see both sides of his vehicle, it will be a step forward.

Obviously the data must be tamperproof+ recorded to provide information/ evidence of poor/ dangerous driving and idoitic cyling.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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It looks like one of the systems offers oppotunities for monitoring driver behaviour and the other doesn't (from a quick look at their respective websites)

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bobinski [223 posts] 1 year ago
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Can we get rid of the picture of the cyclist wearing a hat that not only obscures her side vision but might also impact on her hearing? Not trolling here but its use might be seen as somewhat ironic...

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sanderville [314 posts] 1 year ago
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Will they be fitting them to Clarkes Coaches?

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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Sanderville wrote:

Will they be fitting them to Clarkes Coaches?

More importantly... will they fit them to black cabs? And replacing the sound with an electric shock every time they cut cyclists off or do a Billie Piper...

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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bobinski wrote:

Can we get rid of the picture of the cyclist wearing a hat that not only obscures her side vision but might also impact on her hearing? Not trolling here but its use might be seen as somewhat ironic...

So youre implying that deaf people shouldnt be cycling?

Having a hat that obscures your peripheral vision is in no way dangerous. You can easily move your head from side to side (as you should be doing anyway).

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mike the bike [564 posts] 1 year ago
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bobinski wrote:

Can we get rid of the picture of the cyclist wearing a hat that not only obscures her side vision but might also impact on her hearing? Not trolling here but its use might be seen as somewhat ironic...

Ironic? It's a hat for Christ's sake. Just a hat on a cold day, not cause for criticism or censure or the idle speculation of someone with too much time on their hands.
Give me strength.

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ChairRDRF [295 posts] 1 year ago
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According to TfL, bus trips make up a quarter of the capital’s road journeys but account for 8 per cent of the city’s road traffic incidents in which someone is injured:

Which might make buses look less of a problem. But there are lots of people on buses compared to in cars and other motor vehicles. If you give a figures for the proportion of vehicle miles done by buses you would see it as a lot lower than 25%.

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Username [144 posts] 1 year ago
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Surely buses already have cycle detectors, they're usually found between the driver's forehead and nose.

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bobinski [223 posts] 1 year ago
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zanf wrote:
bobinski wrote:

Can we get rid of the picture of the cyclist wearing a hat that not only obscures her side vision but might also impact on her hearing? Not trolling here but its use might be seen as somewhat ironic...

So youre implying that deaf people shouldnt be cycling?

Having a hat that obscures your peripheral vision is in no way dangerous. You can easily move your head from side to side (as you should be doing anyway).

No Zanf, not at all. It might be argued a deaf or hearing impaired persons other senses are heightened as a result of their hearing loss. I certainly would not wish to discriminate.

The hat in the picture though has those side bits that come down over the ears and side of the face. So it impacts on peripheral vision much more so than a cycling helmet or another kind of hat. The rider would have to turn their head more in order to properly shoulder check. Sadly too few riders move their head from side to side or shoulder check. That allied with the likely impaired hearing means the rider is likely to be less aware of their surrounding and I would suggest therefore more at risk.

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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Username wrote:

Surely buses already have cycle detectors, they're usually found between the driver's forehead and nose.

Unfortunately quality control is a bit lax, seemingly the user manual is incomprehensible, and the system completely fails during periods of stress.

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bobinski [223 posts] 1 year ago
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mike the bike wrote:
bobinski wrote:

Can we get rid of the picture of the cyclist wearing a hat that not only obscures her side vision but might also impact on her hearing? Not trolling here but its use might be seen as somewhat ironic...

Ironic? It's a hat for Christ's sake. Just a hat on a cold day, not cause for criticism or censure or the idle speculation of someone with too much time on their hands.
Give me strength.

Have you got anger management issues?!?

Yeah, i think it's ironic that in an article addressing a technological trial to assist bus drivers awareness of the presence of cyclists we have a picture of a cyclist in front of a bus wearing something on her head that might interfere with her senses, both hearing and sight. So that she might not be aware of what's going on around her, behind her and to her side. I am sorry my opinion has troubled you.

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bobinski [223 posts] 1 year ago
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"that might interfere with her senses, both hearing and sight. So that she might not be aware of what's going on around her, behind her and to her side."

"It might be argued a deaf or hearing impaired persons other senses are heightened as a result of their hearing loss."

These are hasty ill informed comments making breathtaking assumptions?!?

Did you notice the use of the word "might" on more than one occasion or my suggestion those with a hearing disability might have their other senses heightened? I suspect they, perhaps even you (but only you would know) might be more careful and aware on the roads as a result.

Anyway, how disappointing that it seems its ok for you to be "troubled" but for me to express a reasoned opinion makes me an "idiot".

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ronin [263 posts] 1 year ago
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I can't quite gauge my mood today, but reading this just feels like I am living in the past rather than the present.

In order to solve the transport issues of London, there has to be forward thinking and vision. Can anyone imagine that 100 years from now, three will still be cars and buses competing for space and polluting the air.

Perhaps the money is not available for truly visionary thinking about this problem, but people are not even forward thinking, just trying to solve issues in a reactionary way.

From horse and carts we went to trains.
From cars and buses I wonder what the next phase will be.
Cycles will still be there, being powered under human energy.

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severs1966 [293 posts] 1 year ago
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"Beeeep!! You have just run over another cyclist"

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unclebadger [71 posts] 1 year ago
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I wonder if they could trial some bus drivers with spacial awareness? That would help significantly.

They should also outlaw the fat f@ckers tailgating you which requires no technology at all and would just mean a change to the law.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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ronin wrote:

I can't quite gauge my mood today, but reading this just feels like I am living in the past rather than the present.

In order to solve the transport issues of London, there has to be forward thinking and vision. Can anyone imagine that 100 years from now, three will still be cars and buses competing for space and polluting the air.

Perhaps the money is not available for truly visionary thinking about this problem, but people are not even forward thinking, just trying to solve issues in a reactionary way.

From horse and carts we went to trains.
From cars and buses I wonder what the next phase will be.
Cycles will still be there, being powered under human energy.

I agree with you to some degree. Putting features like this on buses is a bit of a sticky-plaster approach. On the other hand it's safe to say that buses will be on our roads for some time to come. Even if a revolutionary alternative was available today it would be many years before widespread change would be visible in the real world. For this reason I don't see any harm in trying to make the current technology work more safely.

Truly visionary thinking is rare but there are some forward-thinking schemes. For instance the hire bikes and occasional meaningful infrastructure changes. There's not enough of it I grant you the schemes are rarely perfect. For instance, hire bikes should be much easier to hire (without having to register and all that business) and much more affordable, perhaps free. Schemes like this don't need to make a profit. Running them at a cost is perfectly justifiable if it positivly impacts travel choices and the overall street-scene.

As for the next phase, I'd like to see trains playing a bigger role again but, again, with the focus on profit rather than possitive change it's not going to change much without a big shake-up of the way the railways are run. We seem to live in a world where the purpose of public transport is to turn a profit from a consumer base rather than to actually serve the needs of the public.

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unclebadger [71 posts] 1 year ago
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Examples of cyclists like the rider in the picture wearing a Trapper hat which restricts peripheral vision and covers the ears are not really helping themselves though...

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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unclebadger wrote:

They should also outlaw the fat f@ckers tailgating you which requires no technology at all and would just mean a change to the law.

There already is a requirement to leave sufficient space. However, this depends on being enforced by the police / bus operating companies, so effectively... no.

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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ronin wrote:

I can't quite gauge my mood today, but reading this just feels like I am living in the past rather than the present.

In order to solve the transport issues of London, there has to be forward thinking and vision.

Its really not going to happen with TfL's current configuration and leadership.

They are up for trialling and implementing infrastructure designs for cyclists *as long as* it does not impede traffic flow. If it doesnt, then its put up against a lot of other criteria and if it impedes on any of those, they wont do it.

I know someone who works within TfL Surface Transport and they have said that when road closures are required, the engineers fight tooth and nail against it saying that the models show traffic flow will be gridlocked, despite being shown that each time they have claimed that, it has not happened.

They use models that do not work and are out of date. They have a 1960's mindset for implementing requirements in a 21st century city.

To give you an idea of how retarded they are, TfL is planning for vehicular traffic to increase by 2030, despite there being a 30% reduction in car ownership, and the same in car journeys over the last decade.

What need to happen is the entire upper management of TfL is retired off (preferably sacked) and people brought in from Netherlands, Denmark, damn, even poach Janette Sadik-Khan from New York!

[edit to add]

Another thing that shows their contempt for cycling is this 'festival of cycling' weekend coming up.

Last year, they organised an 8 mile loop where thousands turned up with dusty & rusty bikes that had obviously sat in sheds for an age because people are too scared to cycle on the roads. An obvious suppressed demand was displayed.

It got to 4pm and the stewards were telling people to "get off the roads because they will be re-opening soon and cars will becoming along". An attitude that displays that they think roads are for motorised traffic only.

Next weekend it will be happening again: instead of closing off the centre of town and having that people can cycle anywhere, once again, it is a loop so you can cycle on one direction only and within the cordon.

We need leadership in the city that will push for Ciclovia style closures where people are free to cycle anywhere and have places where things such as dance classes are set up to encourage people to be active. You only have to watch this video about Bogotas Ciclovia to see what can happen with a bit of imagination!

http://youtu.be/ELa5CHsUepo

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ronin [263 posts] 1 year ago
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Ciclovia...wow!

Every year....

I wonder if we can get a similar event in London...OK, not every year (I know that's not gonna happen), perhaps every leap year.

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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ronin wrote:

Ciclovia...wow!

Every year....

I wonder if we can get a similar event in London...OK, not every year (I know that's not gonna happen), perhaps every leap year.

No, the Ciclovia in Bogata is EVERY Sunday (and public holidays)!!

This is the kind of level of liveable cities we should be aiming for.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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zanf wrote:
ronin wrote:

Ciclovia...wow!

Every year....

I wonder if we can get a similar event in London...OK, not every year (I know that's not gonna happen), perhaps every leap year.

No, the Ciclovia in Bogata is EVERY Sunday (and public holidays)!!

This is the kind of level of liveable cities we should be aiming for.

Whilst I don't know a great deal about the culture of Columbia I have the impression that, like a lot of continental Europe, people really do take a break on a Sunday or public holiday. Shops close, few people have to work and it's an oportunity for family or leisure time. In the UK our shops stay open, lots of people work and the roads remain quite busy. In order to have something like this in a UK town or city would require a massive cultural, behavioural and legislative shift.

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt eaton wrote:

In order to have something like this in a UK town or city would require a massive cultural, behavioural and legislative shift.

Like the one we had not so long ago when shops began opening on Sundays, roads got more busy and people began to lose the opportunity for family or leisure time?

All of that happened around 25 - 30 years ago.

Its a simple choice to make. It was made for us previously because it was considered that consumerism was more important than a day of leisure.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 1 year ago
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zanf wrote:
Matt eaton wrote:

In order to have something like this in a UK town or city would require a massive cultural, behavioural and legislative shift.

Like the one we had not so long ago when shops began opening on Sundays, roads got more busy and people began to lose the opportunity for family or leisure time?

All of that happened around 25 - 30 years ago.

Its a simple choice to make. It was made for us previously because it was considered that consumerism was more important than a day of leisure.

That's exactly what I was get at really. Regretably I can't imagine the situation being reversed. Sunday opening is considered so beneficial from an econimic standpoint that even a more libral and free-thinking government is unlikely to change things other than to extend opening hours.