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Found 29 results

  1. Study: Cyclist deaths on the rise in the US

    A new study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows that cyclist deaths in the US are rising. Between 2010 and 2012, a total of 722 people were killed while riding their bike on US roads, which amounts to a 16 percent increase. The increase is drastically high when compared to deaths in vehicles which only had a 1 percent increase during the same period. The people involved in bicycle fatalities are mainly adult and male, whom lives in large urban areas. Between 2010 and 2012, adults represented 84 percent of cyclist deaths and almost 70 percent of all bicycling fatalities happened in large cities – with more than half concentrated in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Texas. “These are high population states with many urban centers, and likely reflect a high level of bicycle exposure and interaction with motor vehicles,” said the report’s author, Dr. Allan Williams. A large contribution to bicycle fatalities are a lack of helmet use, with at least two-thirds of the fatally injured cyclists not wearing helmets. Another major culprit is alcohol. About 28 percent of the cyclists, over age 16, involved in these fatal accidents had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit to drive. But while fatal bike accidents are rising, they are still only representing around two percent of overall motor vehicle-related fatalities in the US. This number has remained pretty much constant since 1975, when 1,003 people were killed while riding their bike. Why do you think fatal bike accidents are rising? What could authorities do to increase the safety for cyclists?
  2. IKEA Electric Bike

  3. Besides their affordable and stylish furniture, IKEA might soon also start selling electric bikes to eco-friendly commuters in their 303 stores around the world. At least that’s what the Swedish company, most known for their flat-packed pieces of furniture, is hoping for. But for now, the electric bike is only sold in one IKEA store – the first one they opened – located in Älmhult in Sweden. The electric bike is being sold as a test product to see if it’s popular enough to become a viable product in all its other stores. “Here we test new products. And this is a test product. We want to see what the interest is and be sure that we can take care of the product, even after the purchase,” said Daniela Rogosic from Ikea. The electric bike is called Folkvänlig, which is Swedish for people (=folk) friendly (=vänlig), and will come in a “male” and “female” version. If you live near Älmhult in Sweden, the electric bike will cost you 5995 kronor, which is about €600 or $800. IKEA Family members will be able to buy it at a discounted price. The bike weights 25kg and is designed with a front fork in steel and a frame made in aluminium that holds the green-painted rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery powers a 250-watt electric motor which gives you a pedal-assisted range of 60 to 70 km per charge. It takes about 5 to 6 hours to fully charge the battery and you can charge it from a standard electric-outlet in your home or at work. The bike is also built with a Shimano transmission with six different driving modes and comes with a two-year warranty (except for normal wear and tear parts such as tires, chains and brake pads, etc.). The bike is heavy but looks much better than similar-priced electric bikes where the battery is often located in the back. And yes, the electric bike will be sold in a flat package and you’ll have to put it together yourself – in a classic IKEA-way.
  4. Results from a study done by a research group at the Skövde University in Sweden might surprise cyclists. Their research project, named Urbanist 2, have looked at how well reflexes helps motorists’ spot cyclists in the dark. Their conclusion is that it is dangerous to rely on the bright, and among cyclists, popular reflective vests. “What we have seen in our research is such that the reflective vest provides a false sense of security at night, when it in no way helps the motorist to interpret the rider's movement information,” said Paul Hemeren, PhD in Cognitive Science at the University of Skövde. Instead, their findings show, it’s more important where on your body those reflexes are located. The best placements are on the head, arms, feet, and other body parts that are moving when you’re cycling. “If you place a reflective stripe on the back of the helmet, which continues in a vertical line down the back, you create a line that breaks when the rider turns his or hers head,” Hemeren said. “This shows [for the motorist] that it’s a high probability that the cyclist will turn. And if reflexes are also placed on other body joints you will reach an even better result.” If the reflexes are placed like this, it reinforces a riders unconscious patterns of movement and in turn makes it easier for the motorist to make an accurate assessment of the cyclist’s intentions – in up to 97 percent of the cases. Without it, the study finds that the motorists could only make a correct assessment in little over 70 percent of the cases. Obviously one shouldn't draw too many conclusions from only one study, but apparently, those reflective safety vests used by many cyclists might not do much to protect the wearer – at least if the wearer is on a bike.