The Sea Otter Classic is the largest cycling event in the world and aside from all the athletes who hope to stand on the podium, or just to finish, roughly 350 bike companies from around the world display their products in the expo area for riders to check out. Everyone present wants to convince attendees that their product will change the rider’s life for the better. Very few products can live up to such a claim, but this past weekend Electric Bike Report saw something that exceeds its hype.
What Is Spoke Safety?
Spoke Safety is a C-V2X technology, that is, cellular vehicle-to-everything technology, that will serve as an early warning system and safety system to make cycling the safest it has been since the advent of the car. Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) like cyclists will be able to ride with a technology that will allow cars and infrastructure (like traffic lights) to “see” cyclists no matter what the conditions, including at night and around the corner.
Car heads-up displays will give the driver a gentle alert that a cyclist is present thanks to the unit that will be carried on the bike. Those alerts will increase in intensity as the car and cyclist grow closer in proximity. Rider alerts will change if the technology senses that a car may hit them rather than simply pass them. In the case of cars, if the technology senses that a crash between the car and cyclist is imminent, it will even bring the car to a stop.
The technology communicates with neighboring devices ten times each second, giving users real-time updates with no lag.
Spoke Safety will alert your presence to passing motorists
The Spoke Safety system is subtle, and can be concealed under a water bottle cage.
The display unit will help you see where vehicles are coming from.
I was able to experience demonstrations both while riding a bike so that I could see how the device communicates the presence of a vehicle and its speed, as well as in a car where I was able to see the display that alerted the driver to the presence of a rider and the direction he was traveling. Initially, the alerts are unobtrusive but sufficient to communicate to an alert driver. As proximity closes, those alerts became more strenuous for both driver and rider.
When Will Spoke Safety Be Available?
The system will hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2023, probably around Christmas. Spoke Safety has partnered with numerous auto manufacturers to make sure their technology is included in new vehicles. Spoke will be standard in all Audis beginning in the 2024 model year. They are also working with numerous e-bike manufacturers to see the technology integrated with the display and battery.
With the system’s ability to stop a vehicle before it hits a person, be it a rider, pedestrian, or motorcyclist, Spoke’s implementation will be the greatest advancement in cyclist safety since the invention of the bike itself.
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