Published in Algemeen Dagblad (translated into English from Dutch)
Airbag can reduce the number of fatal bicycle accidents
This invention must be the new weapon in the battle to reduce the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
In a warehouse in Helmond, a Volvo has been run into a cyclist 40 times. At 40 kilometers per hour the shattered windshield is proof of the extreme impact The footage is shocking, even in the knowledge that the victim is just a doll.
Last year 73 cyclists were killed after a collision with a car in the Netherlands according to figures from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. In the past five years there have been 335 fatal casualties.
Research institute TNO, which has been working on the invention for three years, predicts the new airbag could reduce the number of fatal bicycle accidents by 30 to 45 percent.
At the time of the collision the device propells a large airbag from under the bonnet, capturing the cyclist who would otherwise land on the hood or windshield.
More than 11,000 cyclists are seriously injured each year. That number could be reduced as could pedestrian fatalities emphasizes TNO researcher Margriet van Schijndel. Last year 35 pedestrians were killed after a collision with a car. In the past five years 194 pedestrians have been killed in this way.
"We are good at reducing the number of deaths and injuries in a car. It's nice that the same innovations are now being used for cyclists and pedestrians. These are the most vulnerable road users, "says Divera Twisk, researcher at the Foundation for Road Safety Research (SWOV).
Dated - 08.11.12