A Virtual Companion for a Safe Walk Home

At the schools I teach at they each have a volunteer run service to help people walk home who are worried for their safety. When one graduates from these schools they are on their own. Seeing that this how walk-safe programs work a bunch of students have created an app to help people feel safe on their walks.

The students’ Companion app, which recently came out in a new version, is simple to use. You type in the address you’re headed to, pull down a map, and then pick a friend or two from your list of contacts. They don’t have to have the app to help; a text message with a link to a map will pop up on their phone.

“If the user goes off route, or doesn’t make it to the destination on time, or if they fall, or are pushed, or are running, or even if their headphones are pulled out of their phone, all of their emergency contacts are notified,” says Ernst. “It’s a good way to keep in touch with the people around you and stay safe. And give you peace of mind.”

Read more.

Cameras Capture How Safely Cyclists Cruise

It’s clear that car drivers don’t comprehend cyclists, and often I hear drivers complain that bicyclists aren’t safe and tend to be “dangerous” on the road. It turns out that cyclists are safer than cars, cause way fewer collisions, and are amazingly great at avoiding a collision.

To reach this conclusion that bicyclists are safe riders researchers used cameras mounted on bicycles (and riders) accompanied by other observations.

In total, 127 hours and 38 minutes of usable footage was obtained. 54 ‘events’ were captured on film – two collisions, six near-collisions (where rapid evasive action by the cyclist was needed) and 46 other incidents (where some collision avoidance was required).

The cameras also recorded the road position and behaviour of the cyclists – including head checks, reactions and manoeuvres. The aim was to identify risk factors for both cyclists and motorists.

In 88.9% of cases, the cyclist had been travelling in a safe/legal manner prior to the collision/near miss.

Read more at BikeRadar.

So car drivers please remember to share the road and be conscious of what’s around you.

A Better Truck for Safer Driving

Trucks kill a lot a cyclists and that’s a problem. We’ve looked at ways we can make trucks more efficient, now London Cycling Campaign has found ways to make trucks safer. They have modified the layout of a truck to allow the driver to see more of the road – in particular cyclists.

London Cycling Campaign haulage expert and former lorry driver Charlie Lloyd said:

“Our Safer Urban Lorry design is a challenge to the construction industry to use vehicles that help reduce the terrible number of people on bikes and on foot who are killed by lorries.

“The restricted view from the cab of many of today’s construction lorries means the driver often has little or no idea who or what is in their immediate vicinity, which is totally unacceptable

Read more at London Cycling Campaign.

Hollywood is Playing it Safe

It appears that filmmakers in Hollywood have been listening to concerned doctors and parents as Hollywood is showing safer behaviour, well, at least when it comes to movies aimed at children.

The entertainment industry has improved its portrayals of walking, cycling and boating in movies aimed at children, but half of scenes still show risky behaviour, U.S. researchers found.

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children in Canada and the U.S. Previous studies have found movies marketed to children rarely portrayed safety measures such as wearing seatbelts, so the researchers set out to test if depictions have improved.

Jon Eric Tongren of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his colleagues reviewed the top-grossing movies rated for general audiences or parental guidance per year from 2003 to 2007.

More Bicycles = Safer Streets

Bicycles are perhaps the greatest invention human civilization has ever made. So great that having people use them makes the roads safer because car drivers actually start paying attention to what’s around their car.

“It appears that motorists adjust their behavior in the presence of increasing numbers of people bicycling because they expect or experience more people cycling,” said Julie Hatfield, an injury expert from the university.

With fewer accidents, people perceive cycling as safer, so more people cycle, thus making it even safer, she said.

“Rising cycling rates mean motorists are more likely to be cyclists, and therefore be more conscious of, and sympathetic towards, cyclists,” she said.

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