Can tech companies make bike commutes safer?

US cities aren’t well-designed for biking. But tech companies might be able to help.


October 13, 2020

In some cities, commuting on a bicycle can feel like turning over your life to the fates.

LINKS Foundation — a research group in Turin, Italy — wants to change that with a 5G transmitter that lets bikes and cars talk to each other.

If a bike and a car are hurtling toward a collision, LINKS will preemptively warn each person to slow or turn.

5G can keep this big bike moment cruising 

During the pandemic, many city slickers looking to cut down on public transit have taken up cycling. Back in May, bike sales were up ~2x YoY.

But when everyone starts commuting to work again, bike-to-vehicle tech might determine whether US cities — which typically aren’t designed for mass bike commuting — can handle the influx.

LINKS, which has collaborated with Chrysler, isn’t the only one in the bike-to-vehicle game: Ford and Trek are among the brands working on their own system.

Some bike-safety tech already does exist

  • GPS maker Garmin has a radar for bikes that flashes at you when cars are heading your way.
  • Volvo’s anti-crash system includes a feature that brakes when a cyclist approaches.

Together, features like this have cut accidents by up to 35%.

But they can only react to what’s in front of them

Because the bikes and cars aren’t communicating, they depend on cameras.

Bike-to-vehicle tech goes further. It pings other vehicles about speed, direction, and location even when one vehicle is out of sight — so you’re warned if, say, you and a car are both about to turn the same corner.

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