This post was initially published in various industry publications:
An award winning cyclist safety system, the Bike Hotspot, has been developed by a family-run company in Gloucestershire to reduce the number of accidents involving road cyclists and commercial vehicles. Vehicle safety specialists Sentinel Systems has designed the system with the safety of cyclists paramount in their minds.
With 19,000 cyclists being killed or injured every year in the UK, the Bike Hotspot system has unsurprisingly been an extremely popular product and is being widely used on heavy goods vehicles in London and other cities. Sentinel Systems won the Product Innovation award at the Safety and Health exhibition as well as a local Cirencester Business award for ‘Outstanding Product Innovation’ for the system, which is designed to sense when a cyclist is within the blind spot of a large vehicle, a common cause for fatal accidents especially when the vehicle is manoeuvring or turning left.
The Bike Hotspot System comprises four of Sentinel’s safety aids including a front corner system, side scan system, a side camera and an external sounder and can be customised to meet the needs of the vehicle and the driver. External scanning sensors are fitted along the nearside of the vehicle as well as the front corner and are linked to an internal audio warning to alert the driver when there is a potential hazard. For extra peace of mind, an external alert is sounded to warn the cyclist or pedestrian that the vehicle is turning left.
David Paulson, Managing Director at Sentinel Systems commented, “It is unacceptable that there are such a high number of incidents involving cyclists and HVGs every year and we are confident that the Bike Hotspot system will help to reduce these numbers and increase the confidence of drivers and cyclists, particularly in busy cities.”
The system comes with the option to silence the alerts at night time and alternative LED warning lights can be used to notify the drivers and cyclists. The scanners are programmed to detect cyclists at a particular distance and height to avoid sensing cars or pedestrians that are not at risk and unnecessarily activating the alerting sound. A CAN (Controller Area Network) bus module has also been incorporated to ensure that the alerting system is only activated when the vehicle is manoeuvring at a speed below 10mph.
Each system can be adapted to the needs of the vehicle with a range of side cameras available. The cameras are connected to an internal monitor inside the cab so that the driver is visually aware of any cyclists. All of the cameras are IP68, meaning that they are protected from dust and water.
The Mini-Pro Camera is small and discreet, with a wide-angle lens and an enhanced low-light function providing clear images at all times of the day, whilst the Ball Camera has infrared LEDs designed for dull and night conditions. The Ball Camera has an adjustable bracket allowing it to be flexibly positioned on the vehicle. The Armoured Side Camera is also available and is most suitable for a static camera option, as it is attached directly to the side of the vehicle.
The Bike Hotspot system can be extended for extra vehicle safety with additional monitors and rear cameras for a wider view of the vehicle’s surroundings. The rear view camera can detect when an obstruction is near that is likely to cause damage to the vehicle, preventing costly repairs and vehicle down time. Additionally, all vehicles can be fitted with a mobile DVR with up to 8 channels providing footage for reference in a defence or claims situation, or for live viewing and surveillance.
All installations of Sentinel Systems’ products are carried out by its in-house engineers who have experience in vehicle mechanics and knowledge of electronic systems. The company’s engineers are available 24/7 for any service or maintenance calls to ensure that customers are not inconvenienced in any way.
A demonstration of the Bike Hotspot can be seen on Sentinel Systems’ YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvqnBOw92OY.