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Warning - drivers can now see motorbikes on the road

An Industrial Design and Technology student from Brunel University has created a device that warns car drivers when motorbikes are nearby. Motorcycles account for 20 per cent of road fatalities, despite the fact that only one per cent of vehicles on the road are motorcycles. With 60% of motorcyclist fatalities involving cars, the product could save hundreds of lives each year.

I-SAW (Intelligent Situation Awareness) allows the motorbike to communicate with vehicles on the road using radio frequency transmissions. A transmitter under the motorbike seat relays information to all other vehicles within the radius of the transmitted signal. The car driver, who would have a receiver placed on the car dashboard, is initially alerted to the motorcyclist's presence via a visual LED readout. However, if at any time the car driver performs a manoeuvre whilst the motorbike is in range, the driver is further warned by an auditory alarm and vibration through the steering wheel.

Sam Bairstow, who has designed the product, says, “I came up with the idea after spending time on my motorbike commuting from Egham to Watford during my placement year. I encountered many life threatening situations, with vehicles pulling out or drifting into my lane without checking their blind spot.“

“A large proportion of motorcyclist fatalities are caused by the car driver being unaware of the motorbike's presence. By increasing safety, I believe that more people would consider travelling by motorbike. After all, the benefits are clear - a reduction in travel time, stress, cost, emissions and congestion. And what's more, they'd have more fun on their journey!“

Dr Mark Young, lecturer at Brunel University's School of Engineering and Design and expert on road safety, commented, “I-SAW is a great example of human-centred design that can help car drivers and could potentially save the lives of many motorcyclists. Sam is showcasing his design at the MADE IN BRUNEL exhibition in June, alongside other Design and Engineering final year students' projects. I-SAW is the kind of device that should attract interest from the public, road safety organisations and industry.“