back to article Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

A bicycle industry chief has suggested that cyclists ought to be equipped with "bicycle to vehicle" beacons so they are more "visible" to autonomous vehicles. Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Manuel Marsilio of the Confederation for the European Bicycle Industry, an EU lobby group, said: "Bicycles will definitely have to …

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Yeah... Right

We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?

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Re: Yeah... Right

I have lights, helmets and hi-viz. Didn't stop me from getting hit by a motorist who decided to turn left without indicating or checking that the bike lane was clear.

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Re: Yeah... Right

I watched my friend almost get knocked down by a car yesterday; she was on a roundabout and the driver wasn't paying enough attention. It was in broad daylight and she had bright clothes on.

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Mushroom

Re: Yeah... Right

Tricky one to call.

Bike lanes have made cyclist believe it's safe to pass a car on the left - it's not!

Next beacons will make cyclists think that cars won't hit them.

Sorry, but you need to think of your safety as your responsibility. If you overtake a truck on the inside, you're going to die.

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Re: Yeah... Right

As ever it's enforcement: in the UK this would include making sure motorists don't treat cycle lanes as parking spaces.

But, actually, this kind of solutionism is an attempt to avod the difficult and expensive problem of traffic flow management. There are very few accidents between cars and bicycles in the Netherlands, and the recent experience in Copenhagen shows that this isn't just a one-off.

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Re: Yeah... Right

If there's no yellow line, there's no reason not to park in the cycle lane. It's no different to parking on the left of a regular road.

The problem is placing the cycle lane to the left of vehicles and then telling cyclists they have some form of right of way. I used to cycle in London daily before cycle lanes existed. There was no choice but to be aware of everything around you. Much safer IMHO.

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Re: Yeah... Right

I have lights, helmets and hi-viz.

So do I. So does my SWMBO and kids. We clock > 10 miles per head per day on average.

However, every time I cycle or drive I constantly see the same picture - no lights, dark clothing, brakes not working and no helmet. Usually belongs to what Jasper Carrot used to refer to as "different species".

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Re: Yeah... Right

.. if only cyclists rode the correct way along cycle lanes,.... on the way to work, just up from my house, the road has cycle lanes marked on it, but for some unknown reason, bicycles coming from the town side often get onto the wrong cycle lane and cycle the wrong way, against the flow of traffic, when it's pretty damn clear there's a cycle lane on the correct side of the road for them to use.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Sorry, but you need to think of your safety as your responsibility

Indeed. First rule of riding a (motor)bike on the road: Everything else is out to kill you. Don't rely on others to be good drivers/riders because (on average) they won't be.

Keep that in mind and you (might) survive.

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Re: Yeah... Right

... if the cycle lane is marked by a solid white line, cars may not cross the solid white line, therefore they may not park. A quick google image search shows cycle lanes with solid white lines, and no other road markings, so parking in those circumstances would be improper.

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Re: Yeah... Right

if only cyclists rode the correct way along cycle lanes,

..or stayed off the pavements..

(The road I live on is pretty quiet outside of rush hour. Doesn't stop the adult cyclists from deciding that it's much safer to cause the pedestrians (and dog walkers) to have to leap aside to avoid being run over.

Oh - and fitted bells so that if they are riding along pedestrian sections, they can at least warn people that they are riding up behind.)

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LDS
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"was on a roundabout"

I have avoided many bikers who believe roundabout rules don't apply to them, and they can enter them at full speed because braking and ensuring they have right of way of course will hit their average speed and time and break the "rhythm" - or pass you right or left when you're restarting after stopping. And that happens with red traffic lights too.

There are a lot of morons in cars, but there is a lot on bicycles too. I like bicycles too - that's why I use them away from trafficked roads, mostly off-road.

While the number who go around in the dark without any light is quite appalling, more even so a cheap chinese LED lights cost next to nothing. Probably more needed to be addressed than e-beacons for autonomous cars.

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Re: Yeah... Right

...but for some unknown reason, bicycles coming from the town side often get onto the wrong cycle lane and cycle the wrong way, against the flow of traffic...

Why is that considered less safe? When there are no pavements, pedestrians are supposed walk against the flow of traffic. Why shouldn't cyclists cycle against the flow too?

(Serious question. Idiots parking in bike lanes notwithstanding, but that's what keys were invented for, right? ;)

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Re: Yeah... Right

It's a scam to sell more crap as well as to allow the car makers to dodge responsibility for their rubbish.

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Re: Yeah... Right

My cycle route to my old part time job back when I was in college involved a cycle lane, and also involved a significant portion of the journey spent on the pavement instead.

This was due to the lane hopping on and off the road at different points, whilst having no dropped kerb to allow for it. Going up and down curbs while travelling in the general direction of the road is more dangerous as it requires you to pull out into traffic to get a decent angle to mount the curb, or worse cycle out into the road coming off it.

Obviously you look at the traffic and do it when safe, or you try to, but staying on the pavement (there wasn't heavy foot traffic) was safer.

Contrary to that, when I was cycling to or from College itself, the bike lane was on the pavement.

Pedestrians (mostly other college students) would often just walk along both the path and the cycle lane, right in the way of cyclists.

One afternoon, someone deep in conversation gesticulated wildly, and flung out his arms to full stretch, just as I was passing by.

He wasn't on the cycle path, but he was right next to it, and there was nothing I could do about it in the fraction of a second before we made contact.

Thankfully I knocked his arm out of the way instead of being knocked off (though it did hurt). The open bottle of drink in his hand went right over him.

I was quite happy to tell him that it was his own stupid fault, just like it would be if he stuck his arm out into moving traffic on the road.

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Re: Yeah... Right

We have some bike lanes that are only on one side of the road, and are bi-directional.

We have some cases where that is also the case on both sides of the road.

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Re: Yeah... Right

@CrazyOldCatMan

Oh yeah, that grinds my gears too,.... I walk my dogs beside the river (along an old towpath, which is part of the national cycle route system but one rant at a time), then cross over the bridge, to carry onto a nature reserve effort. The Bridge is reserved for busses, bicycles and taxis only,... so cyclists don't use that, and use the pedestrian footbridge, ringing their little bells as if I'm obliged to make way for them.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Improper, yes, but apparently not actually illegal because the criminal offence of causing obstruction by parking specifically does not cover obstruction to cyclists. In practice it's down to local councils as to whether they will enforce it as a civil offence or not.

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Facepalm

Re: Andrew

I got clipped at the start of the year by a driver who got too close and then never stopped.

The police are funny.

They said it may take up to 6 weeks to investigate since there's only 1 person dealing with traffic accidents for the West Midlands. Is that 1 person in their police force or for the entire 6+ million people in the West Midlands?

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Happy

Re: Yeah... Right

Because a bike is a vehicle and has to drive on the correct side of the road. The most danger to cyclists is not the head-on or rear-on collision but

- idiots who overtake you and then cut you off when turning right (or left in UK / AU)

- idiots who cross in front of your path at an intersection when they turn left (right in UK / AU / JP)

When riding on the wrong side of the road, cars won't see you when blending into the traffic when turning right (left in JP / AU / UK / NZ?). They watch out for the cars coming from their left, and will just start when they spot a gap. That's also why bike paths on the wrong side of the road are f'ing dangerous! Had this happen to me, nothing too serious happened, just a bit of a scar on the right ankle (chain rings bit me). I was on a bike path, that is unfortunately on the wrong side of the road. There is even a marked crossing there...

Take a look at http://bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/ (it's not the website I had in mind, but the best I could find).

Ride safe, everybody! Most motorists are _not_ out there to get you (some are... some are just inconsiderate, and many don't realise how fast a bike can be).

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Re: Yeah... Right

.. if only cyclists rode the correct way along cycle lanes,.... on the way to work, just up from my house, the road has cycle lanes marked on it, but for some unknown reason, bicycles coming from the town side often get onto the wrong cycle lane and cycle the wrong way, against the flow of traffic, when it's pretty damn clear there's a cycle lane on the correct side of the road for them to use.

Around here it's cyclists riding along the side of the road, often side-by-side, when there's a rail-trail for them to ride on. If the tree-hugging snowflakes insist on ripping up railroads so they can have their stupid bike trails, they can fecking well USE them and not the roads. My brother just LOVES to yell that very point at them when they do that shit.

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Re: Yeah... Right

"Why is that considered less safe?"

Because of the width of the cycle lane, it's clearly not wide enough to have bicycles passing each other on it, so it should be pretty obvious it's not bi-directional. It's quite narrow, so that means you have to pull out to pass cyclists, and it is uncomfortable when they are approaching head on. Plus it's plain stupid when there is a cycle lane on the correct side of the road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... Right

"We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?"

I get the lights and visible clothing bit, but could you explain to me how wearing a helmet prevents you from hitting me?

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Re: Yeah... Right

We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?

I'm sure plenty of cyclists will get on board with the tech - it'll ensure they get right of way over anything autonomous, in accordance with the law and otherwise.

What I'm puzzled by is what the car is going to think the cyclist is doing approaching at speed along a footpath, before cutting out into the road and blasting through the junction against a red light. Coding for cyclists in Europe will be a lot easier than coding for cyclists in London, where the standard of behaviour & ability seems a lot lower than the rest of the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... Right

"I have lights, helmets and hi-viz. Didn't stop me from getting hit by a motorist who decided to turn left without indicating or checking that the bike lane was clear."

Ditto, I got knocked over by a car entering a roundabout, and the driver simply *didn't* pay any attention to someone with lights and Hi viz clothing on, and as far as I can tell, would have crashed into me even if I'd have been an ambulance with the lights and sirens blaring.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Random anecdote on how bad cyclists are...

Random anecdote on how bad motorists are...

This is a random anecdote on predictable anecdotes given the subject.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Some contra-flow cycle lanes exist. On part of the A724, one pavement (sidewalk) is cycle lane for both directions. It also terminates and crosses to the opposite side of the road in three places.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... Right

"We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?"

Damn right we can't. the beacons *cannot* be engineered with a fail-safe "always transmitting" mode, so when you got on your bike, you would have *absolutely* no idea whether the damn thing was working or not. And no, I don't trust a little glowing LED to tell me so.

Secondly, ladies and gentlemen, I give you:- high tech caltrops. For the beacons to work as described, cars would have to *always* avoid them, regardless of what their other sensors are showing. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader as to how wonderful an idea these beacons would be, given that if you mandated their use, they'd probably have to cost as little as a couple of quid each, and be easily available at every bike shop in the country.

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rmv

Re: Yeah... Right

@AMBxx: "If there's no yellow line, there's no reason not to park in the cycle lane."

Well there's the highway code, which you're meant to be following.

Rule 240 of the Highway Code:

You MUST NOT stop or park on:

[...]

a tram or cycle lane during its period of operation

Rule 243 of the Highway Code:

DO NOT stop or park:

[...]

where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities

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Re: Yeah... Right

Here in Sacramento we have bicycle lanes offset from the curb, allowing space for parking.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Bicycles are considered vehicles and should travel with the flow of traffic.

Also consider the affect of an oncoming headlight to a driver at night. Or oncoming headlights to the cyclist, for that matter.

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WTF?

Re: Yeah... Right

Higway code:

Rule 59 says SHOULD about helmet and high-vis.

Rule 60 says MUST have front and rear light at night, also rear reflector.

Those who have read a RFC should better know the difference between MUST and SHOULD.

Make what you wish out the above.

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Re: Yeah... Right

In the US, bicycles generally are treated as road vehicles and cyclists are required to use the roadway and observe the same rules as motor vehicle drivers. Where there is no bicycle lane, cyclists may occupy a traffic lane and in many cases two may ride abreast. Motor vehicle drivers must pass cyclists according to the same rules that would apply when passing another motor vehicle. As an example, the Utah rules are summarized at https://www.bikelaw.com/2014/06/utah-bicycle-laws/.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Around here it's cyclists riding along the side of the road, often side-by-side, when there's a rail-trail for them to ride on. If the tree-hugging snowflakes insist on ripping up railroads so they can have their stupid bike trails, they can fecking well USE them and not the roads. My brother just LOVES to yell that very point at them when they do that shit

So to summarise, you're saying you're slightly less of a twat than you brother.

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WTF?

Re: Yeah... Right

We cannot get cyclists put lights, visible clothing and helmets and we are expecting them to use electronic beacons now?

If autonomous vehicles are so shit that they can't identify cyclists wearing high-viz and with lights, but need a further kick up the arse from a radio beacon then maybe they shouldn't be allowed on roads which cyclists use. And what about pedestrians - those buggers can be even harder to spot sometimes and can be even more erratic - are they going to be expected to wear some sort of radar reflective hat or something?

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Re: Yeah... Right

Me too. I've only been in one accident with a car (and it was serious). It was because the car ran a stop sign. Oddly, my reflective clothing, lighting, and helmet couldn't stop an idiot from being an idiot.

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Re: Yeah... Right

That rule doesn't just apply to bikes. It applies to being on the road as a pedestrian or in a motorized vehicle as well.

I always have a SMH reaction to drivers complaining about bicyclists -- from what I've seen, drivers do no better in terms of behaving properly on public roads.

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Re: Yeah... Right

The reason you're supposed to walk against the glow of traffic is so that you can see oncoming cars and get out of the way of them. The logic doesn't apply well to bicycles because bicycles aren't as maneuverable as pedestrians. It's much safer for bikes to follow the same behavior as cars.

In fact, at least where I live, that's the law -- all rules that apply to cars apply equally to bikes, unless there's signage indicating otherwise. It used to be that the cops would as likely to ticket a bicyclist for traffic violations as cars, and when that was the case, bicyclists behaved very well on the whole. Since then, though, the cops have eased off for some reason. I really wish they'd start again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... Right

The Bridge is reserved for busses, bicycles and taxis only,... so cyclists don't use that

????

They don't use it because they're allowed to?

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Re: Yeah... Right

"Oh - and fitted bells so that if they are riding along pedestrian sections, they can at least warn people that they are riding up behind.)"

A dreadful idea. The correct way to warn someone that you are approaching them from behind is to slow down to their pace and engage in polite conversation. In most cases it is no trouble for them to continue walking but drift to one side of the path and let you glide past on the other.

Bells are just a lazy way to say "Get the fuck out of my way, scum." and pedestrians should respond appropriately.

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Re: Yeah... Right

I'll throw in a random anecdote about how pedestrians treat the bicycle lame like a sidewalk extension here in Northern California, mostly joggers. Also how we have a lot of shift curbs that drivers consider permission to park on the sidewalks. And bicyclists riding across intersections in the crosswalks.

I've seen all combinations.

And you're right, these anecdotes aren't proof. We're also not in a court of law or trying to pass laws, we're in a comments section of an IT rag. Just because they're anecdotal doesn't mean they're false.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Chances are that they already carry one most of the time. Mine can dial 999 or in the US 911. Just a matter of time before this is used for traffic management, all for your protection mind you.

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Re: Yeah... Right

Where I live, the law says that when a bike is overtaking someone from behind, they must do so on the left (I'm in the US, so normal traffic flow is on the right) and give an audible warning when they do so. The tradition is that the warning should be to state loudly "On your left!". Bells are legal but socially discouraged, because they can be easily misunderstood.

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Pint

This goes back to my Patent Application

Title: "Using a Plurality of Photons to Make Visible One's Surroundings."

Description: "An Ad-hoc Non-deterministic Distributed Peer-to-Peer Photonic Information and Location Sharing Network Operating at 555nm and Similar Wavelengths and Relying Upon Ambient and Random Phase Multisource EM Fields."

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Re: Yeah... Right

No, if they are that shit, they simply should not be allowed on the roads. Do this for one set of users & the next thing everyone will have to have a beacon so a small group of American tech companies can make more profit.

You can also guarantee that those beacons will be uploading data as well.

As a cyclist, the problems are two way, far too many road users are selfish, stupid and for drivers, do not look beyond the end of the bonnet. There are also plenty of stupid cyclists who give the rest of us a bad name, and they are not all teenage louts.

Whilst driving on Sunday I approached a mini roundabout to turn right, a stream of lycra clad middle-aged roadies coming the other way just ploughed straight across the roundabout and my path, hurling abuse at me for hooting. The same group had a huge queue of cars behind them because they were riding 3 and 4 abreast. As for the Deliveroo. and courier people, they are just nuts.

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Re: Yeah... Right

no lights, dark clothing, brakes not working and no helmet

Sounds like the Netherlands… Until public policy consitently sees bicycles as vehicles and thinks about the kind of traffic management this needs there will continue to be half-hearted measures that are poorly enforced and misplaced faith in helmets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... Right

It's interesting though, when I'm in a car (a passenger), I realized, that those (pesky!) cyclists, even with lights, are rather harder to spot, than I thought, as a cyclist. And then, there are those "cyclists", who don't use a light, no hi-viz but hey, a cool-coloured (grey) jacket...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah... enforcement

there's (almost) none, and that's the whole point. Ironically, it wouldn't cost billions to enforce the rules (and the fines would quickly pay for the system). Unfortunately, you see people deliberately flaunting the rules, causing a danger to others, and as they get away with it, each time they get a little reinforcement (I can get away with it, it's ok).

Sadly, people are not responsible, they need to know that breaking the rules ALWAYS invokes a certain, even minor, punishment. Now, as a masochist I would gladly participate in a live, road trial...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "was on a roundabout"

cheap Chinese leds are... cheap. I mean, 99 p for a back LED, pretty strong... you can't go cheaper than that. Sure, batteries not included, and the plastic's so poor they hardly last a drop. But there's no excuse not to have them. Frankly, they SHOULD be mandatory (as they are in some European countries).

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