posted 6 years ago

Pedestrian Air-Bags To Save Thousands of Lives

New Volvo V40 Pedestrian Air-Bag Explained

Exterior air-bags for pedestrians and cyclists could save thousands of lives in the near future. Leading the pack is the Volvo V40 that has a pedestrian air-bag as standard. The system operates via sensors mounted in the front bumper that detect collisions. When these sense contact with a person - rather than an object such as a wall or supermarket trolley - two things happen. Firstly the bonnet lifts 10cm. This creates a gap between it and the harder components beneath. Secondly, an air-bag covers the lower third of the windscreen, parts of the a-pillars, and the wipers. The pedestrian therefore hits comparatively soft surfaces which minimises their injuries. All in a fraction of a second while the car is travelling at between 12 and 31mph. Euro NCAP – the independent body that assesses vehicle safety – therefore awarded the V40 88% in its Pedestrian Category. It also said that “Volvo demonstrated that the system would operate over a range of speeds and would detect different pedestrian statures.” But the Swedish manufacturer is not the only player in town. A company in The Netherlands has created a similar system that also protects cyclists and surely none of the other car makers are far behind.

UK Pedestrian And Cyclist Casualty Figures

There were 453 pedestrian fatalities in the United Kingdom in 2011, according to The Department for Transport. That was 12% higher than the previous year. A further 5,454 were seriously injured which represented a 5% increase. Furthermore, 107 cyclists were killed which was 4% fewer than the previous year – but the number seriously injured rose by 16%, to 3,085. These were only the cases known to the Police so there could have been thousands of other less serious incidents. Plus, of course, some motorists were physically and physiologically injured as a result of colliding with pedestrians and cyclists. The family and friends of everyone concerned suffered too. And that was only the human cost. There was also the financial cost to The National Health Service, the Emergency Services, and the Local Authorities who had to repair the road network. Insurance companies also paid out significant sums which – inevitably – were recouped via motorists through premiums. Clearly, exterior air-bags could significantly reduce the financial/human cost of accidents. So, would it be a smart idea to make them mandatory?

If these become the normal fitment how long before some mindless moron finds that if the give the front bumber a good kick or something similar while tha car is sat at traffic lights they can set off the airbag? How much will they cost to replace and who will pay? How many of the fatalities were as a result of hitting the windscreen and how many were the result of being launched into the air? Mobile phones are not the only problem, people listening to ipods etc cannot hear the traffic and walk just where they want to without a cre in the world. The safer you make a vehicle the bigger risks pouple will take, sad but a fact of life!

Great idea - good on yer Volvo! By the way, on a pedestrian ("zebra") crossing the pedestrian has right of way and the road user, be it car, motorbike or cycle is obliged to give way. However,this does not apply to the traffic light controlled ('pelican') crossing.

Steve P - I think the main reason is tthat there are too few police to deal with these matters! that is the fault of Politicians for whom far too few take the trouble to go out and votes for! Robert Bolt:- Fair point about mobile phone users but its not just pedestrians - what about the drivers? We all see them every day - one hand on the wheel the other on the phone! Not enough Police to nick them!

Most of the problems these days are caused by the lack or common sense - people no longer seem to posess it. And WHY? No one is taught men tal arithmetic any more. MATHS is the science of LOGIC. LOGIC is the basis of COMMON SENSE. Pedestrians and cyhclists no longer think about their actions on the roads! Riding tests and a licence are clearly needed for Cyclists and, as in the States, jaywalking made an offence!

I'm all for enhanced safety, but why not address the poor enforcement of existing laws in light of the increasing pedestrian deaths noted above? In London, it is routine for motorcyclists and scooters to overtake (or undertake) within the redistricted areas at zebra crossings. In addition, many drivers routinely ignore existing laws regarding yielding to pedestrians. London is one of the few cities in the civilised world where pedestrians do not have the right of way, yet they are the most vulnerable. The UK gov't was happy to embrace Gatsos to collect tax from speeding motorists. What do you think is more deadly - driving 10 mph over the posted limit or failing to stop for a pedestrian in a zebra crossing? I wonder why the latter is ignored?

How many of the increased pedestrian casualties were not paying attention due to using their mobile phones? There is a growing problem with inattentive pedestrians.

Brilliant idea!! Make it compulsory for Pedestrians & Cyclists to wear Airbags!! ;-)