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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

External Airbags Designed to Save Cyclists, Pedestrians

 A one-year study in Portland, Oregon, found that out of 1,000 cyclists, 18 percent suffered at least one injury, and 30 percent of those injured required medical attention. What to do? Take the same airbag technology used to protect occupants inside the vehicle and move it to the outside.

Danish design company TNO is working on just that, and is getting a financial boost to the tune of 1 million euros from the Dutch government to develop a new breed of exterior airbags.

In the Netherlands, where bicycles are ubiquitous, approximately 200 cyclists (and 70 pedestrians) are killed each year after being struck by a car. If a car is going faster than 25 mph – the average speed of an accident in the Netherlands – a collision with a bicyclist is usually fatal, and helmets don’t help much during an impact of 12 mph or greater.

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