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Using Smartphones for Cycling Safety: a Survey of Riders Preferences and Interest in New Technologies

Demmel, S (Peer reviewed)


ARSC conference 2015

Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users. Many recent interventions have aimed at improving their safety on the road, such as the minimum overtaking distance rule introduced in Queensland in 2014. Smartphones offer excellent opportunities for technical intervention for road safety at a limited cost. Indeed, they have a lot of available processing power and many embedded sensors that allow analysing a rider's motion, behaviour, and environment; this is especially relevant for cyclists, as they do not have the space or power allowance that can be found in most motor vehicles. The aim of the study presented in this paper is to assess cyclists' support for a range of new smartphone-based safety technologies. The preliminary results for an online survey with cyclists recruited from Bicycle Queensland and Triathlon Queensland, with N=191, are presented. A number of innovative safety systems such as automatic logging of incidents without injuries, reporting of dangerous area via a website/app, automatic notification of emergency services in case of crash or fall were assessed. A significant part of the survey is dedicated to GoSafeCycle, a cooperative collision prevention app based on motion tracking and Wi-Fi communications developed at CARRS-Q. Results show a marked preference toward automatic detection and notification of emergencies (62-70% positive assessment) and GoSafeCycle (61.7% positive assessment), as well as reporting apps (59.1% positive assessment). Such findings are important in the context of current promotion of active transports and highlight the need for further development of system supported by the general public.