December 18, 2014

Smart bike to help lower accident rate among elderly

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 1:20 pm

The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has developed a smart electric bicycle prototype to help the elderly avoid causing accidents when riding their bikes. The new bicycle features a forward-looking radar mounted under the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard.

“The forward and rearward detection devices on the test bike are linked through an onboard computer with a vibrating warning system installed in the bicycle’s saddle and handlebars to alert cyclists to impending danger. The saddle vibrates when other cyclists approach from behind, while the handlebars do the same when obstacles appear ahead.”

Available in two years, the bike isn’t cheap at a price of between 1,700 euro and 3,200 euro and currently weighs 25 kilos. The smart bike sounds interesting, but it is ridiculously expensive and too heavy. And if it is to be a fancy bike, it will get stolen regularly in the big cities. Oddly enough, the Dutch media hasn’t been talking about it, which leads us to believe the smart bike is not being taking too seriously or it is being ignored.

The elderly have accidents on bike paths because they get startled. Let’s get rid of scooters, racing cyclists and morons on their mobile who startle everyone and learn to communicate when we pass an elderly person so they don’t have accidents as a result of being startled.

(Link:, Photo of a Schwinn Tailwind Electric Assist bike by Richard Masoner, some rights reserved)

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July 12, 2013

Mobility scooters fall over often

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 10:10 pm

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment revealed that accidents with mobility scooters involve tipping in 70% of cases.

Plus Online wrote yesterday that 20% of these falls was due to inclines, bumps in the road and the likes, while 14% was due to driver error and 7% because the driver took a turn.

The cause of accidents with mobility scooters has become more relevant as the use of mobility scooters in the Netherlands has increased from 150,000 in 2006 to 250,000 in 2012.

The union for the elderly, ANBO, told Telegraaf yesterday that municipalities should provide training to new users of mobility scooters. Project leader Liesbeth Boerwinkel told the paper that matters such as braking and accelerating are confusing: “You need to squeeze the handle to accelerate, but people are used to bicycles with hand brakes. That is one source of problems.”

Both ANBO and traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland have their doubts about making training mandatory. A spokesperson for VVN points out that enforcing training “would be a reason for many people to not to use a mobility scooter in the first place. That would limit their freedom whereas we want to keep people mobile for as long as possible.”

The city of Purmerend recently offered a mobility scooter course to 450 people, Dichtbij writes. One third of them took the city up on its offer. During a two-hour workshop participants had to drive over an obstacle course that contained bumpy surfaces and sharp turns and where they had to practice stopping on an incline and parking.

The workshop was provided by scooter seller Harting-Bank who are in favour of making training mandatory—surprise, surprise!

(Photo by Facemepls, some rights reserved)

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November 4, 2012

Heated bike paths and glow in the dark roads

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 9:43 pm

The towns of Utrecht and Zutphen will start experiments with heating bike paths, DutchNews reports.

The news site quotes a Telegraaf article that says these experiments will start ‘soon’. The idea is that ‘asphalt collectors’ will collect and store the summer heat, and release this energy in the winter to stop ice from forming. This could reduce accidents:

‘The result is cooler asphalt in summer and a warmer surface in winter,’ Marcel Boerefijn, the project’s leader, is quoted as saying. In the future, footpaths could also be kept ice-free using the same techniques, he said.

Boerefijn says the new surface and heat collection system will cost between €30,000 and €40,000 a kilometre – about the same as it costs to lay new asphalt.

Car drivers need not feel left out. In 2013 a “few hundred metres of glow in the dark, weather-indicating road will be installed in the province of Brabant” according to Wired.

The special paint needed for these glow in the dark roads was developed by Studio Roosegaarde and will be used to create road markings.

The studio has also been working on a paint that will be invisible until the temperature drops below a certain point. This could be used according to designer Daan Roosegaarde to indicate that the road is slippery.

The idea is to not only use more sustainable methods of illuminating major roads, thus making them safer and more efficient, but to rethink the design of highways at the same time as we continue to rethink vehicle design. As Studio Roosegaarde sees it, connected cars and internal navigation systems linked up to the traffic news represent just one half of our future road management systems — roads need to fill their end of the bargain and become intelligent, useful drivers of information too.

See also: A Dutch bike path with solar panels

(Photo by Flickr user comedynose, some rights reserved)

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January 19, 2012

‘Steep increase of kids in cycling accidents’

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:50 am
Pink bike

Children are placed on their parents’ bikes as babies, they learn to cycle to school at a certain age in the Netherlands and grow up to be adults that cycle to university and work. That’s how the Dutch roll.

However, accidents happen with cars, other cyclists, one’s own mistake, ducks crossing the bike path, etc. All parties involved (well, except the ducks) blame each other and it’s part of Dutch life to fall off your bike sometimes, even in a canal. That’s how the Dutch roll.

It’s a free country, so if people (expats usually) really think their kids wearing a helmet is going to help, fine, but most people don’t unless they’re in the Tour de France. That’s how the Dutch roll.

However, it’s one thing to have your kid come home crying and/or ending up in the hospital from a cycling accident, it’s another to realise they were playing a game on their mobile phone or texting their BFF while not looking where they were going. I mean, if mommy and daddy can do that driving to the IKEA on the weekend, they can too, right?

And so there are 35% more cycling accidents according to hospital reports between 2006-2010, with campaigns concentrating on collisions with cars, which is only part of the problem. Blaming cars is easy, but if you know anything about cycling in a bigger city, cyclists are sometimes their own worst enemy.

As a copywriter once put it, “safety is boring”.

I find injured children due to lack of proper parenting even more boring.


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June 9, 2009

Car thieves try to escape by swimming

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:58 am

Two suspected car thieves were caught yesterday when they tried to escape their pursuers by swimming from the province of Gelderland to the province of Flevoland across the 500-meter-wide Nuldernauw.

At 9:15 am police noticed a stolen car on the A28 motorway, but drivers got wind of smokey bear and put the pedal to the metal. Near the town of Horst, the stolen car hit the shoulder at high speed and careened into some trees 30 metres off the road. When the police got there, they found that the driver and his partner in crime had fled the scene towards the nearby water.

A little later, the police discovered the men in the water, swimming towards Flevoland. When two officers dived in to continue pursuit, the suspects turned around and themselves in. The men were taken to a hospital for hypothermia. The police will question them as soon as possible.

(Via Politie Noord en Oost Gelderland, via Telegraaf, Photo looking across the nearby Wolderwijd from Harderwijk to Zeewolde, Flevoland, by Sjaak Kempe, some rights reserved. The Nuldernauw is to the left.)

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November 20, 2008

Buried alive

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:18 am

A gravedigger in Laren, Noord Holland, was buried alive last Tuesday when an excavated pile of sand fell back into the hole he was standing in. Two of his colleagues managed to escape the impromptu burial, Blik op Nieuws reports, but it took firemen half an hour to extract the third, a 50-year-old man from nearby Hilversum. Afterwards the man was transported to a hospital by an ambulance with what appeared to be light injuries.

Photo: Salem graves by by Alanna Ralph, some rights reserved.

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