To save cyclists, put airbags on the outside of cars
In a car-cycle crash, no matter whose fault it was originally, the cyclist is worse off, since her relatively unprotected body is now flying at a high speed towards the road or the car itself. But a Dutch company has come up with a partial solution to this problem, which, semi-miraculously, does not require the cyclists to carry yet another piece of safety equipment. They’ve created an airbag that goes on the outside of the car.
The exterior airbags cover the lower portion of the windshield, creating a softer landing for a human skull flying through the air at 25 miles per hour than, say, a pane of glass. A camera positioned beneath the rear-view mirror can determine if the car is approaching any pedestrians or cyclists, and if sensors in the car’s bumper detect contact — here comes the airbag.
It might not be a perfect fix, but I think any cyclist would be happy to hit an inflated piece of plastic rather than a piece of hot metal.