Auto & Bikes Safer Coexistence with Bike Shield App

Driving around bicycles and motorcycles is dangerous, and often time nerve racking – for both the driver and the biker. In 2014, a group of bikers from Los Angeles, California created the “Bike Shield App.” A vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, this technology is incredibly easy to incorporate into day to day life. As the sustainability focused tiny home community grows, encounters with bicycles and motorcycles are likely to continue to increase.

It is well recognized that driving around bicycles and motorcycles is dangerous, and often time nerve racking – for both the driver and the biker. In 2012, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 726 bicyclists were killed in crashes involving motor vehicles, and 69% of these deaths occurred in urban areas, where traffic tends to be heavier and less bicycle friendly. About 22 of these deaths took place in New England. While the most recent statistics have not be released yet, data shows that there has been an upward trend of pedalcyclist fatalities since 2003. And those are just the deaths. In 2012, there were about 49,000 injuries, and it has been shown that only about 10% of bicyclists injured by motor vehicles report it to the authorities (if that is the case, the number would have been closer to 490,000.)

The concern for injury or death to pedalcyclists is further impacted when the vehicle being driven is large or is carrying a wide load, for example, a tiny home. While tiny compared to home standards, mobile tiny homes are still large compared to the average towing load. They push the limits for mobile loads as it is, so driving around bikes and bikers, or passing them on the road is more than enough to strike fear in even the most experienced of drivers. Despite all cautions, mirrors aren’t always enough warning, and despite all alertfullness, it can be very hard to see oncoming bikers, especially on curvy roads.

In 2014, a group of bikers from Los Angeles, California addressed this concern and created the “Bike Shield App.” As described on their own website, the Bike Shield App is “a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system that takes advantage of … mobile phone technology to warn car drivers when bicycles and motorcycles are around.” This technology is incredibly easy to incorporate into day to day life, and as the tiny home community grows, encounters with bicycles and motorcycles will increase.

In order to work, the driver must have their mobile data and their GPS on their smart phones enabled. When connected, drivers nearing bicyclists (who use the app) will get an audible notification alerting them to the bike or motorcycles location, many times before the driver can even see the biker. The app boasts multiple features such a map that will visually show drivers where the biker is, using smart phones’ GPS capabilities. It will send reports to users’ phones about planned trips, it will allow users to disable messaging services when entering no texting zones, and it is capable on iPhones, Androids, and Smart Gear Watches.

Word to the wise: this is a new app, so the community is relatively small. It will grow as public awareness for the cause and the app grow, but users of the app should always remain alert to potential hazards when driving, particularly when towing wide loads, such as mobile tiny homes. This app is fantastic for raising awareness to potential hazards but should not be solely relied upon for safe driving practices.

For those who are interested in this app, visit http://thebikeshieldapp.com, or search Bike Shield App” in the Android and Apple app stores.

 

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