Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

We've won funding for innovative cyclist-alert road signs

9 March 2018

Our innovative cycle safety project is one of three to have today been awarded £100,000 of central government funding to make cycling safer, more accessible and encourage more journeys by bike.

We will use the funding to test proposals for a range of sensor technologies that will interact with new signage on rural roads to inform other road users that a cyclist is on the road.

This initiative will help to make cycling and walking safer, while encouraging more people to take up cycling at all ages as part of a green revolution in transport.

Figures released at the end of last year show that for every billion miles travelled, 1,011 cyclists will be killed or seriously injured, compared to just 26 car drivers (that’s almost a factor of 39).

Councillor Budge Wells, our Deputy Executive Member for Community Services, said: "Almost half of cyclist deaths occur on rural roads. We are primarily a rural local authority. Part of our focus on developing a cycle network across our region is to improve the safety of rural roads. We are using this funding to explore the innovative use of technology to alert drivers to the presence of cyclists in the road ahead."

Two rural routes in Central Bedfordshire will be trialled in this cycle safety pilot, and two different types of technology – one prototype using radar detection, the other thermal detection. The routes will be those used typically by cyclists who use bikes as a form of sustainable transport, such as commuters to rail stations, rather than leisure riders.

The system will detect a cyclist and then trigger a flashing warning on the road sign. The signs will be located on rural roads in places where cyclists are no longer in the field of vision (e.g. bends, dips, junctions etc.)

This project is particularly important because most cycle-safety initiatives are currently mainly aimed at urban areas: It’s harder to implement these on rural roads, where there are usually higher speed limits, and a lack of space or street lighting to attach signs to. Also, rural cyclists are often less frequent and more spread out than within the hustle and bustle of a town. So in rural areas, technology-based solutions are more appropriate.

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