Can You See Mi Now?

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 @ 12:54 PM

Tags: RFID, Traffic Management, Personal Safety

RFID Addresses Danger of the "Right Turn" for Urban Bicyclists

See MiDo you bike to work?  Are you a bike messenger working in an urban area?  How about a weekend warrior biking through town after a long work week?  If you answered yes to any of these, or if you bike casually every now and then, I’m sure you proceed with caution when biking in traffic – right?

Do you drive to work?  Are you a delivery driver?  How about someone who takes public transportation to work but can’t wait to take your car out for a spin on the weekends?  If you answered yes to any of these, or if you are a "Sunday driver" who takes a leisurely trip around town every now and then, I’m sure you proceed with caution when you see a bicycle rider pedaling down the street – right?

Regardless of the category you fall into, the answer is you probably aren’t as cautions as you should be.  According to the CDC, each year in the US, more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries and more than 500,000 people are treated in emergency departments.  More startling is that nearly 60% of bicycle-related injuries treated in US emergency departments are for children 15 years and younger.

In an effort to address this issue and make its streets safer for both cyclists and drivers, the Danish city of Grenå funded a project called “See Mi” (designed by Danish company Idzone).  For this initiative, the city implemented battery-powered RFID readers at busy intersections designed to read RFID tags placed in the steering columns of bikes.  When a cyclist approaches and stops at an intersection, the RFID reader sends a notice to an electronic sign mounted on the traffic light pole.  This notice triggers the display of a flashing 'cyclist' image, indicating that a rider is near and drivers should look before making a turn.

Check out a cool video of the solution highlighting a partnership between Citybike and See mi in London!

Sounds like a promising system - designed to make busy streets safer for both cyclists and drivers.  How does this use of RFID rank among other ‘people tracking’ applications?  Does addressing a real safety issue - like reducing bicycle related deaths and injuries - move you past privacy concerns you may have with RFID?

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