How Will Driverless Cars Affect Cyclists?

Cyclists biking in the cityAs more companies start announcing or developing driverless cars, there is a lot of talk about how this will affect our laws and safety. You’ve probably heard a lot about this new technology, but one question you might not have heard is how the changes will affect cyclists. The answer is somewhat unclear. As usual, new technology has the possibility both to make things better and to create new problems. Nobody can be sure exactly how things will go, but here’s a look at some of the possible improvements and issues.

How New Technology Might be an Issue for Cyclists

Innovation will not stop people from wanting to relax, exercise and save money by riding their bikes around town, yet plans for the autonomous future often seem to leave riders out. For example, some people are envisioning a world where stop signs and traffic lights are unnecessary, since cars would be able to communicate in real time. In a world like this, cars would often move quickly in dense areas without stops or interruptions.

Currently, self-driving cars can handle cyclists and pedestrians well at low speeds, but in a world where cars are driving incredibly fast and close together, riders probably won’t feel so welcome to share the road.

How Technology Might Make Cyclists Safer

Some are saying these technologies will come gradually, as companies add small features that provide semi-autonomous safety features. For example, if a driver quickly changes lanes without noticing the cyclist at his side, this kind of technology might send a warning that saves the rider’s life. These kinds of incremental improvements might develop alongside cyclists in a way that creates a safer and fairer road for everyone.

Another possibility is that cyclists will adopt much of this technology into their owning riding to help reduce the number of bike accidents. We already wrote a blog about how augmented might improve bicycle safety. Maybe riders can also borrow a few of the emerging technologies from self-driving cars to help stay safe.

As the road continues to change and laws potentially adjust with the times, the hope is that our cities and carmakers create a transportation system that works for everyone. After all, everyone just wants to get home safe, whether they drive, bike or turn the car on autopilot.

Joshua Bonnici is a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer and cycling enthusiast who passionately fights on behalf of his fellow riders.


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