Gothenburg, Sweden - Recent research has proved that what cyclists - and motorcyclists - have known for generations is still true in the new millennium: fractionally more than 50 percent of all two-wheeled fatalities (powered or not) are due to being knocked down by a car.
And don't kid yourself that the problem is confined to third world countries; there are nearly 50 000 cycling fatalities and injuries in the United States each year, including 726 killed in 2013 alone.
In the same year 4533 cyclists were injured in the city of Berlin.
Now Volvo has taken its vision that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in (or by) one of its cars by 2020 a step further, in collaboration with protective sports gear maker POC and communications specialist Ericsson, by developing a safety system that connects drivers and cyclists for the first time.
And this is neither a concept nor a laboratory set-up; a Connected Safety car and helmet prototype will be presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from 6-9 January.
Volvo's City Safety system - which is already standard issue on the all new XC90 - can detect cyclists, warn the driver, and if necessary, brake automatically to avoid a knock-down.
But with Connected Safety, the car and the cyclists helmet will establish two-way communication, to provide proximity alerts to both driver and rider, so each can take the appropriate avoiding action.
The cyclist's position can be shared through the Volvo cloud to the car and vice versa, using a popular smartphone app for bicyclists such as Strava. If an imminent collision is calculated, each will be warned - the driver by means of a head-up display, even if the cyclist is in his blind spot, and the rider by a helmet-mounted alert light.
Volvo information vice-president Klas Bendrik said: “This partnership is an important step towards Volvo's vision of cars that will not crash. By exploring cloud-based safety systems, we're getting closer to eliminating blind spots and this avoiding collisions.”
Ericsson's Per Borglint went further, saying: “Perhaps the greatest promise that the networked society holds is its ability to create connections that save lives. Our work with Volvo to explore protecting the millions of cyclists on the road is just one example of how we can change the world, one connection at a time.”