Forums/IDEO Make-a-thon

Brief #6 - Cycle Safety 3.0

Haiyan Zhang
posted this on February 15, 2012, 15:34

In 2010, 10 cyclists were killed on roads in London and 457 were seriously injured, 3,540 were slightly injured. The increased popularity of the bicycle as the favoured mode of transport in London is not matched by the road facilities available. Cyclists compete for road space with vehicles in narrow streets. Cycle lanes end in arbitrary locations. Cycle lanes are not segregated from vehicles.  Some cyclists routinely flout traffic rules to the annoyance of other road users.

What resources can we bring to a cyclist in London to help them have a safer journey? We can know the location of a cyclist using GPS and connect that information to statistics for road safety in that area. Can we make cyclists more visible to other road users. What could we change about road layout or markings to change driver behaviour to better protect cyclists. Can we help cyclists way-find using cycle lanes – what is a route finder using cycle lanes.


GPS based route finder  - iPhone app:

Tell it where you want to go – enter postcode.
It shows you turns to keep you on safer routes.
Uses database of cycle routes

London Bicycle Canary:

Device on bicycle tells you how close you are to known hot spots. Glows greener when safer and redder when more dangerous. Based on database of incidents in London – fatalities, serious and slight. Uses GPS to locate you or Bluetooth to connect to iphone.


More details




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Michael Stillwell
TfL's Cycle Journey Planner is somewhat useful, providing point-to-point route planning tailored to cyclists (i.e. over cycle lanes where possible) over "Easy", "Moderate" and "Fast" routes: TfL also provide printed maps showing routes recommended for cyclists. I don't know if this data is separately available.
February 16, 2012, 23:24
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Marcel Münch

Hi! I found this very useful. I am new to London and a cyclist. I was looking for an iPhone app like the GPS based route finder you suggest and would be very happy to use this. I also read about the 'Bikewell' project and I find the results very interesting and cool. However, I think this is kind of an end-of-the-pipe technology approach, were you try to reduce unwanted results instead of changing what is actually the cause of dangerous cycling on the streets of London.

I wrote a little blog post myself about my experience of cycling in London and I argue that it is the road design and infrastructure that has to change. I am fully aware that this is hard to accomplish due to London's narrow streets. However I think we can only make the cycling experience more pleasant and less dangerous, if the visual language and road design changes dramatically. Read the article here:

Cheers, Marcel

January 2, 2013, 17:02