How technology can make cycling a safer sport

By Victor Dano, Bike Computer

As cycling becomes a more popular sport, so do cyclist become braver aiming to cover more miles, go faster and ride further outside city limits. But besides tracking speed, elevation, and other metrics that improve performance, the current technological advancements offer nothing more. Most ignore safety even though cyclists are a vulnerable group, especially when they are on road getting passed by speeding vehicles, or mountain biking on treacherous ridges where adrenaline speed rush makes one forget about the dangers.

Most cyclists nowadays wear great gear, and almost every single of them brings one piece of a technology with them, could be a separate cycling device or a mobile phone to track their performance. Tracking technology has improved cycling, made it more fun to ride, and the metrics have become benchmarks that keep pushing cyclists to ride further and faster – if you beat your time, surely you must share the stats on social media and show off to the rest of the cycling community. Technology has enabled cyclists to measure their effort, and empowered them to always strive for the better ride.

But, what happens when your friend, dad, husband, partner ends up unconscious in a ditch on the side of the road. Accidents happen and cyclists get lost. But, what can technology do to save their life?

This scenario is not unknown to Ivan, founder of Bike Computer, a cycling app that was built with safety in mind after he and his team almost lost a friend on one of their long tours. “We realized that he was not behind us anymore. It was getting dark, we kept calling his phone, but there was no reply. We had apps, devices, technology with us, but nothing could help us locate him, except tracking back and hoping nothing serious happened to him,” says Ivan. They found their friend, who was lucky to suffer only a mild concussion.

But that terrifying experience inspired them to take action. They were passionate cyclists and experienced mobile app developers and they got to work, building a feature called Keep me Safe that later was added into a fully functional Bike Computer. Keep me Safe was unique among the cycling apps as a feature that could detect falls by utilizing a number of sensors on the smartphone. Once it detects falls, if the cyclist is unable to get up, it sends SMS to emergency contacts with the exact location of the accident. It might be similar with Strava’s Beacon which enables friends and family to track athletes movement in real time. One was built for complete tracking, the other for emergency situations.

Cycling is an awesome sport – you can enjoy the solitude, you can explore the world with friends, or just push the limits and see how far can you go. And although using tracking technology is important for performance, putting safety first will surely improve the confidence of the athletes to ride further. Especially now, when we have the technology to enjoy cycling as a truly modern sport.

 

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