Soon your motorcycle and helmet could warn you if you have chosen the right apex and speed for a corner, regardless of the posted advisory speed.
European researchers Alex Liniger and Simon Hecker have developed a prototype system based on their ARAS paper and have founded a company, Aegis Rider AG, to bring the technology to market.
“We are currently in the late prototyping stage and have a working system deployed on our test motorcycle,” says Simon.
“We decided to combine the ARAS technology presented in the paper with augmented reality (AR) and built an AR helmet, in order to facilitate better communication with the rider.”
He says roadside signs with arrows and advisory speeds are not good enough considering that nearly a fifth of all motorcycle accidents and 15% of fatalities are caused by riders taking corners too quickly or sharply.
Instead of road signs, their system uses the geometry off the road ahead.
“What we designed is a curve warning system for motorbikes which can alert the rider when they are approaching a curve too fast,” Simon says.
“The system performs this task by first calculating the roll angle and the position within the lane of the motorcycle, based on a camera mounted on the front of the motorbike.
“Second, the system queries information about the road ahead from so-called HD maps, which are precise maps for navigation with additional information, such as the road geometry (curvature, inclination …) and road attribute information (speed limits …).
“With this information, we use a motion-planning algorithm to plan the optimal path and consequent manoeuvre of the motorcycle for the next 200m ahead. This path can be seen as the ideal manoeuvre to ride the curve and includes safety margins.”
Their system can detect if the rider is taking the wrong line and is going too fast for the corner which is especially important on blind corners.
It alerts the rider to apply the brakes even if the road side speed limit has not changed.
“The main advantage of the proposed system is that by using an ideal robotic rider which can plan into the future, we can warn the rider to slow down before something happens,”Simon says.
“This stands in contrast to the current safety system such as ABS and EBS, which only take action when the rider has already crossed the limit of handling.”
Their system is designed to only warn the rider and not intervene.
“It is actually less invasive than current safety systems and helps to keep the riding experience pure,” Simon says.
Their research paper only shows preliminary results and further work is necessary to allow this system to run real-time on a motorcycle.
So they have developed a prototype to tests their theories.
The warning could be conveyed to the rider either visually on the bike’s instruments, through haptic pads (vibrations in the bars or seat) or through a head-up display in the rider’s helmet. The prototype uses the latter.
Half of NSW motorcyclists have experienced a near-miss in the past three months, according to a survey conducted as part of October’s annual Motorcycle Awareness Month 2021.
The Motorcycle Council of NSW (MCC of NSW) surveyed more than 500 motorcyclists to find out what it is like to ride on the roads in NSW.
More than a third (35%) said they had a near miss every five rides and 23% said it was one in 10 rides.
37% of motorcyclists had to correct their riding to avoid an accident, the survey found.
Most of these riders had the near miss on metro roads during the weekday, between the hours of 10am to 3pm.
MCCNSW chair Kevin ‘Trip’ Henry says it is interesting to note that “experience in motorcycle riding did not affect their occurrence of near misses”.
“Most of the riders surveyed (79%) had over 10 years riding,” he says.
The survey uncovered that in 43.9% of near misses, the driver was driving under 50km along a suburban road. These near misses and crashes could have been avoided had the driver followed the road rules and spent more time looking.
“Near misses occur 13 times more often than crashes.We know near misses can easily turn into a crash.Every driver we get the message to look out for motorcyclists will help save lives.” said Mr. Henry.
What’s it like to ride a motorcycle in Sydney?
MCCNSW is also conducting its annual Joe Rider awareness campaign aimed at educating drivers to watch out for motorcycles.
This year they have a virtual ride on Facebook that gives drivers an experience of riding a motorcycle on busy Sydney roads. Joe Rider will narrate during his rides, sharing the typical mindset of riders negotiating urban roads.
This ‘on bike’ livestream will take place twice a week during October’s MAM on the MCC of NSW Facebook page. It will also be saved for non-live viewing.
Ask a motorcyclist
MCCNSW will also conduct twice-a-week Zoom events in October to discuss common driver complaints and misunderstandings of motorcycling.
These informative events will be conducted by a driving and a motorcycle representative.
All drivers are welcome to join the Q&A session with a motorcyclist.This is an open discussion to enhance the message to look out for motorcyclists.
‘Ask a motorcyclist’ Zoom event links will be advertised on their Facebook page.
MCC of NSW will run radio ads in Sydney and regional throughout the month of October.
“To get our message across to younger drivers across NSW, we will also be running our Spotify advertising campaign through their music and podcasts,” Trip says.
“It continues the theme to look out for motorcyclists and gives great tips to help drivers be more aware and look twice for motorcycles throughout October.”
Crashes involving motorcycles and cars are often referred to as SMIDSY incidents or “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you.”
Many riders complain that drivers not only don’t see them, but don’t even bother to look.
For years, motorcycle safety advocates have been asking authorities to better educate drivers to look out for riders.
However, it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. Drivers just don’t care. They don’t see motorcyclists as a threat.
Recently, technology seems to be compensating for poor driver behaviour and lack of attention to other road users.
We have seen such technologies as blind spot alerts that specifically monitor for small vehicles such as motorcycles.
And recently a nine-month pilot study was held in Ipswich, Queensland, where vehicles were fitted wth technologies that could identify vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.
The Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot (ICVP) involved 350 cars being fitted with cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) technology.
This included a roof-mounted antenna, a communications box under the driver’s seat and a warning display on the dashboard.
It monitored vehicle position, speed and data such as traffic lights, speed limits, road works, and other road hazards.
The pilot was a joint operation involving the Department of Transport and Main Roads, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission of Queensland, Telstra, Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, iMOVE Australia, Ipswich City Council, and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.
The QUT will release its final pilot safety evaluation report on the trial in early 2022.
Could this be the beginning of the end of SMIDSY crashes for riders? Or will such technology just be another excuse for drivers not to bother looking for riders?
There is little doubt that dash cams have been pivotal in providing evidence for riders who have been involved in crashes.
They are already a standard fitting in many transport company and emergency services vehicles.
Some insurers are also offering discounts to motorists who have them fitted.
The next step could be that these dash cams become standard fitting in cars and even on motorcycles.
While that would be useful in the event of a crash, it does present an issue of privacy which is being rapidly eroded during these pandemic times.
Now one car rental compact is calling for the the Government to make it mandatory for all motorists to have a dash cam in or on their vehicles.
StressFreeCarRental.com says dash cams are vital as statistics in Australia show an average of 21 people are killed in road accidents every week.
A spokesman says: “We would like to see the Government make it mandatory for every motorist to have a dash cam fitted in their vehicle as an extra layer of protection for drivers, their passengers and all road users.”
I don’t see how a dash cam could prevent any of those deaths, but they could lead to better enforcement of road rules.
Dash cams are currently legal on Australian roads and you don’t need any special permission to use them.
However, in some countries, it is a breach of privacy if someone in your vehicle is unaware they are being recorded.
If you install your dash cam incorrectly and it obstructs your field of vision while driving or riding you could also be breaking the law and face a fine.
In that case, the footage recorded could be rendered inadmissible in court.
Victorian Police even take a dim view of helmet cameras, although their police use them.
This is interesting as most Australian police are increasingly asking for dash cam footage of crashes.
Dash cam footage has also been used in cases carjacking, road rage, road side road scams and motorists speeding, running red lights or contravening other road rules.
Riders should also be aware that their own dash cam footage could be used against them if they contravene road rules.
Criminal charges have been dropped against the daughter of renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo for driving on the wrong side of the road and crashing head-on into a bike ridden by former Comanchero William “Jock” Ross (pictured) at Wiseman’s Ferry in September 2019.
Police had alleged that Nicola Annabel Teo, 24, was driving her LandCruiser on the wrong side of the road for 200m before the crash with the 72-year-old Harley rider who suffered extensive, head leg and internal injuries and still walks with the aid of a crutch.
Teo had been charged with dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, negligent driving, not driving on the left hand side of the road and not giving particulars to the police.
However, this week NSW Police prosecutors dropped all charges just before the matter was to be heard in the Downing Centre District Court.
That means Nicole, who pleaded not guilty, will not face any penalties and will retain her licence.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has not offered any reason for the decision to drop the case.
Jock’s injuries forced him to quit his job with the Rural Fire Brigade.
The Glasgow-born former soldier was one of five founders of the Comancheros on the New South Wales Central Coast in 1966 and was ‘supreme commander’ when they were involved in the 1984 Milperra Massacre.
Four Comancheros, two Bandidos and a 14-year-old girl died in the infamous shootout.
Jock received gunshot to the head and suffers permanent vision loss and a brain injury.
He was jailed for murder in 1987 over his role in instigating the massacre and was released in 1992 after serving five years.
Automatic emergency calls that activate in the event of a crash are being installed in cars and some motorcycles and motorcycle helmets, but Triumph has now released a similar phone app that all riders can use.
Triumph SOS will detect if you have suddenly stopped and send an automatic emergency call that can be manually cancelled if you just happened to have dropped you phone or your bike and are not in any danger.
The service has been launched in Australia,New Zealand, Europe and North America.
It is available to any rider, but Triumph owners get a three-month free trial.
Paramedics say the chances of survival of a rider in a crash are linked to the speed of contact with emergency services, making this service vital.
However, it will be limited by phone coverage which can be patchy at best in Australia’s vast outback.
The Triumph SOS app has been specifically tailored for motorcyclists, and monitors key sensors in your smartphone to detect and validate an accident.
The Google-Cloud hosted emergency alerting platform automatically sends the rider’s details directly to the emergency services within seconds of the accident being detected, following a unique validation process.
Details include GPS location, direction of travel, bike details, and medical information, but
Triumph confirms the app does not record or send any speed or telematics data to the emergency services.
Advanced features include sophisticated auto-pause technology to prevent accidental triggering so you can fully focus on your ride.
The app requires a rolling monthly subscription with no cancelation fees or long-term contract commitment.
Riders can download the Triumph SOS app now from iOS and AndroidApp stores.
The shape of your motorcycle could have a big impact on rider injury in a crash, a landmark Australian study with simulated lab crash test equipment has found.
Tanks with a sharp rise from the seat can increase the risk of pelvic injury, according to the study by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Sydney, previously known as the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute.
The brain and nervous system research centre conducted a three-year in-depth investigation of motorcycle crashes which has led to several other research projects, including the tank study which included simulated lab crash tests with various tank shapes.
This is the first time the interaction between the pelvis and the design of fuel tanks has been studied in this way due to a newly developed test method for physically recreating rider pelvis impacts in simulated crash tests.
“Our crash studies have confirmed previous findings related to the frequency with which the motorcycle fuel tank is a source of groin and pelvic injury demonstrating that there has been little improvement in the crashworthiness over the last few decades,” the study found.
Researchers found that fuel tanks with a lower angle or more gradual rise from the front of the seat to the handlebars were safer and less likely to cause a pelvic injury to the rider during an accident.
They identified that motorcyclists with a more upright posture, such as those riding cruiser bikes, had an increased likelihood of hitting the fuel tank with greater force than those riding bikes where they have a forward-leaning position in the seat such as sports bikes.
About 15% of injuries involving motorcyclists are pelvic injuries, says Dr Tom Whyte, an injury biomechanics engineer and researcher at NeuRA.
Pelvic injuries from motorcycle crashes can be permanent and result in difficulties with basic activities such as walking, sexual function, or urinating.
They typically occur when the motorbike makes a front-on impact with another vehicle or object and the rider hurtles over the tank and bars.
“In the simulated crash tests, we found differences in fuel tank shape influence the severity of the impact to the pelvis, with fuel tanks rising steeply and abruptly from the bike seat increasing the possibility of injury,” Dr Whyte says.
“There’s likely to be greater protection for a motorcyclist’s pelvis when they are leaning forward. This is because our tests found that there are smaller impact forces between the pelvis and the fuel tank when riders are in this position,” Dr Whyte says.
“The findings show that greater attention to the design of fuel tanks could improve the safety of motorcyclists particularly on motorcycles where riders are more likely to take an upright position while riding,” he said.
The findings are being presented to manufacturers in the hope they will consider them in their bike designs.
When Jason Wilson opened his eyes after coming off his motorbike in early 2014, the irony of the fact he was lying alongside a “rough surface” road sign was not lost on him.
The then 42-year-old was on his way home from a recreation ride when he came off his bike along Mount Baw Baw Tourist Road at Icy Creek, about 140km east of Melbourne.
His tyre hit a raised hump of bitumen in the middle of the road, he lost control of his bike and slid along the road before eventually hitting a paddock fence.
He suffered a severely fractured collarbone and shoulder that required multiple surgeries and bone grafts. He now has 13 screws and a metal plate keeping his shoulder together and a 14cm scar across the front of his body as a permanent reminder of that day.
The road defects – including rough raised sections of uneven bitumen that caused road ruts – had been reported to VicRoads on multiple occasions in the weeks prior to Mr Wilson’s accident.
Locals had reported at least two prior motorcycle crashes along the same stretch of uneven road in the days before Mr Wilson’s accident. Yet VicRoads failed to take timely and appropriate action to rectify the hazards.
VicRoads is responsible for the upkeep of arterial roads in the state and they outsource maintenance to contractors – Fulton Hogan in this case.
At his wife’s insistence, Mr Wilson approached Maurice Blackburn for legal advice, prompting the firm to lodge a TAC claim on his behalf against both defendants.
A settlement was recently reached at a pre-litigation conference prior to the matter going to trial in the County Court.
“We argued that more appropriate signage should have been erected prior to the accident site to warn motorcyclists in particular of the dangerous state of the road ahead,” lawyer Neha Bedi said.
“Whilst the records showed that maintenance schedules were upheld by VicRoads and Fulton Hogan in accordance with the Road Management Plan, there had been a number of complaints about the state of the road where Jason came off, without any remedial action taken.
“We argued that more immediate action should have been taken in response to the complaints – especially considering that road had been identified by VicRoads as being in critical need of restoration works for safety reasons.”
She said while it was often difficult to prove that the cause of a crash and somebody’s death or injuries was due to the negligence or inaction of the state’s road authority or their maintenance contractor, Mr Wilson’s case was strong.
Prior to his injury, Mr Wilson worked as a night shift production worker, a role that involved a lot of manual handling and at times, heavy lifting.
He returned to work on light duties in late 2016. Since then, he has been able to increase to full-time hours and gets assistance from colleagues to complete certain tasks when required.
Now aged 49, Mr Wilson, from Bayswater North, says the crash has changed his life.
“It’s with me every day,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot of aches and pains, I can’t lift things like I used to and I can’t raise my right arm above my head anymore, but as I keep reminding myself, it could’ve been a lot worse.”
“It’s been a long legal fight to settle the matter, but I’m glad it’s finally over and I can now focus on putting all of this behind me.”