UK Authorizes Traffic Control Device for ‘Bike Bus’; It May Never Reach the US – GearJunkie
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Under approval from Scottish officials, one device allows Bike Bus chaperones to control traffic lights while a large group of children bike to school.
When one school started a “Bike Bus” for young schoolchildren in Glasgow, Scotland, they encountered a big problem right away.
The idea’s popularity was not the issue — that’s clear from an adorable Twitter video the group posted recently (see below). The problem was that traffic lights would often stop some of the kindergarten-aged students along their route but let others through.
Obviously, kindergarteners aren’t old enough to handle themselves alone in traffic on bicycles.
Enter U.K.-based accessibility tech firm [email protected] Technology. Working with the Glasgow City Council, the company developed a device, not officially named yet, that the Shawlands Bike Bus chaperones could use to toggle traffic signals on and off along the group’s daily route. The result: more kids on bikes, riding safely to school in a group now protected from fragmenting.
Just look how many people were on the #bikebus today! More asking for details in the playground too. Turns out if you show it’s possible, others will join, even in Glasgow! Big thanks to @GlasgowSEPolice as always & a special thanks to @GlasgowCC for giving us… 1/2 #bicibus pic.twitter.com/PJGzPU0jFc
— Shawlands Bike Bus (@BikeBusShaw) August 26, 2022
Traffic Gadget Changes the Game
The adult rider holding the device presses a button as the group approaches the light. It turns green and stays green for 45 seconds.
We know you’re thinking, “That would really come in handy on my rides.” And the answer is yes, yes it would. But if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll have to cut through the red tape to do it. A programmer can only make the device work for a certain traffic signal if they have the codes that control that signal. And the codes are all buried in government offices.
In the case of [email protected] Technology and the Bike Bus, there’s also a time restriction. The signal controller only works while the kids are on their way to school, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (And only on Fridays, which is the only day the Bike Bus currently runs.)
Still, any non-government-employed citizen controlling traffic signals legally is a landmark. And for applications like the Bike Bus, it makes perfect sense. A 45-second traffic stoppage isn’t going to make anybody late for work who’s not late for work already. And the safety benefit of riding in a cohesive group — especially for schoolchildren — is obvious.
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Could the technology make its way into more cities across the U.K., or even into the U.S.? In England’s case, we’d give it a better shot. [email protected] Technologies’ other devices already …….
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