Dummy will enable emergency services and collision investigators to better understand natiure of collisions

Students in Canada have developed a crash test dummy to enable emergency services and collision investigators to better understand exactly what happens when a cyclist is struck by a motor vehicle.

According to CBC News, which has a video with footage of a trial earlier this week, the study was devised after a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, 27-year-old Krista Johnson, was killed while cycling in autumn last year.

Students from Carleton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering designed and assembled the electronic components for the test, with their counterparts from Algonquin College’s Mechanical Technician-Toolmaking course responsible for the mechanical side.

An article on the Carleton Newsroom says: “On average, there are 311 reported collisions involving vehicles and cyclists each year in Ottawa. Between 2007 and 2011, there were 1,556 vehicle/cyclist collisions with 1,253 injuries and 12 fatalities. 

“To date, there is very little research or findings to assist collision investigators in gathering evidence from vehicle/cyclist collisions scenes and to reconstruct the events.”

Detective Alain Boucher, project liaison officer at Ottawa Police, commented: “By observing and collecting data about this simulated crash test, Ottawa Police collision investigators expect to have a better understanding of what occurs during a low speed (30 km/h) collision between a vehicle and bicycle.”

JP Trottier, a spokesman for the Ottawa Paramedic Service, said: "When we arrive at scenes where there was a collision between a car and bike, our paramedics really have to take a look at the damage on the vehicle, the point of impact on the vehicle and the severity of those points of impact. That would determine where we look for injuries on the patient."

This YouTube video, taken at an earlier demonstration last month by Chris Mikula of The Ottawa Citizen shows the dummy in action.


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.