The rise of bicycle trips in New York City, as well as a concurrent rise in cyclist fatalities, has placed an increase emphasis on bicycle safety in the city. According to a recent report by the New York Times, some advocates are proposing new technology to help cyclists and motorists safely coexist.
Bicycle fatalities were trending upwards before the coronavirus pandemic, with 10 fatalities in 2018 rising to 29 in 2019. So far in 2020, at least 14 bicyclists have been killed. Safety advocates argue that the most effective safety measures are dedicated and protected bike lines, which separate cars and bicycles altogether. Other researchers are examining the possibility of technological solutions.
One option examined by the Times is a 5G wireless program that enables communication between bicycles and nearby cars. The report describes a situation in Turin, Italy last fall, when “a wobbly cyclist skirted a line of parked cars on a jammed suburban street as a large sedan rapidly approached from behind.” The driver did not notice the cyclist until “a warning graphic flashed on a display above the dashboard, indicating that a bicyclist was directly ahead, and the driver slowed to give the rider more room.” The technology in question was a “cellular vehicle-to-everything” system created by the LINKS Foundation, which placed a “global navigation device” and a 5G transceiver on the bicycle, allowing it to send its location data to vehicles in its proximity. The Foundation and its backers argue that in the future, cities can make roads safer by placing similar technology on traffic lights and other infrastructure, allowing cars, bicycles, and the infrastructure to all “talk” to each other.