Saving cyclists - Deakin addresses the alarming spike in cycling injuries and deaths

Research news

20 July 2021

A multi-disciplinary Deakin research team is improving cyclist safety in an Australia-first trial using smart bike light technology in collaboration with TAC, See.Sense and iMOVE CRC.

The number of cyclist deaths in Australia has doubled over the last three years making cyclists the only road user group to record an increase in fatalities over that period.

This alarming spike in deaths is being addressed by Deakin’s multi-disciplinary Transport Infrastructure and Road Safety Group. Specialising in road safety analysis and evaluation, the team undertakes cutting-edge research on the challenges of transport systems, enabling efficient integration of technologies and concepts related to micro-mobility, shared road usage, safe system approach to road safety, and autonomous and connected vehicles.

Road safety research with a difference

Led by Dr Ashim Debnath from the School of Engineering, this  new dynamic research team is now collaborating with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), See.Sense and the iMOVE CRC to run an Australia-first trial using See.Sense’s smart bike light technology.

The Bicycle light trial – Lights insights Trial (LiT) captures ride data over 12 months that will generate greater understanding about how cyclists ride and what impacts their safety.

The world-leading cycling light technology used in the trial allows the sharing of crash events, the mapping of collision and close pass hotspots, abrupt accelerations and decelerations, road surface roughness, speeds, dwell time and cyclist feedback.

The insights will be used to inform future policy planning and infrastructure improvements for cyclists.

The Deakin research group, including world leading researchers from the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, the School of IT, and the School of Health and Social Development, have also begun another exciting research project funded by the Commonwealth Office of Road Safety. Through this separate project, the team will be working to improve cycling safety at intersections using proactive personalised safety alerts. This will address a significant research gap and more than half of all bicycle-motor vehicle crashes across Australia.

Winning with Deakin Research Partnerships

Collaborations such as these are critical drivers of the innovation economy. After identifying a clear industry need, Rebecca Bartel from Deakin Research Partnerships worked with Dr Debnath to support the formation of the multi-disciplinary team and embed Deakin as the preferred innovation partner across industry, statutory insurers and government.

The result has been the creation and expansion of a novel area of multidisciplinary Deakin research excellence which is now in high demand across Australia.

“Rebecca Bartel from the Deakin Research Strategic Research Partnerships Team initiated the partnership and managed the long, complex contract process in a proactive manner. This initial work has now expanded to working on new projects with the Victorian Government Department of Transport and the Commonwealth Office of Road Safety,” Dr Debnath said.

"We have been highly successful in winning competitive grants in Road Safety where we had not been able to in the past. The impact has been huge.

“Working together as a team, we have all benefited and grown from each other’s expertise to benefit Deakin and the wider community.”

Are you a cyclist? Get involved in research!

Expressions of interest are invited from a diverse range of cyclists who would like to be part of the LiT trial. If you are selected to be part of the 12 month trial, not only will your cycle data help inform future planning, you will receive a free ACE bike light (valued at AUS$80).

Sign up here.

Get in contact the Deakin Research Strategic Partnership team here.

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Improving cyclist safety - Light Insights Trial (LiT)

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Improving cyclist safety - Light Insights Trial (LiT)

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