Apparently all the new safety features in motor vehicles are doing their jobs. Even though more motor vehicles are hitting the roads, total road deaths are going down. That's the good news.
In Great Britian and in the US bicyclists deaths are on the rise or holding steady. In researching this article I was pleasantly surprised to see the US was improving slightly--The last few years had shown the same pattern GB is now experiencing. Now I'm really interested to see what the 2008 and 2009 numbers will be. But back to the point--It seems to me that motorists are getting complacent in their cages. The personal risk of driving is reducing because of all the technological improvements and this is causing some to pay less attention to guiding their vehicle safely as they are distracted by all the other things their lives impose on them.
One safety feature I would like to see implemented is a localized cell phone scrambler that engages when a car is in motion. It has been long established that phone conversations, whether hands-free or not, are a major distraction to driving. This could most easily be enabled on a GPS capable phone--Once the phone is moving at faster than 10KPH (6.4MPH for the metric challenged) shut off the radio until speed drops to near stopped pace for over a minute. The delay is to prevent excessive battery usage from frequent on/off cycles and to insure the vehicle is parked rather than temporarily stopped in traffic. This could more effectively be enabled with an RF scrambler built into the vehicles (keyed to the shifter in automatic transmission vehicles, to the parking brake in stick shifts) but this has huge potential for undesired effects if not implemented perfectly.
Does anyone else have ideas for improving the safety of road users who aren't encased in a steel cage?
On Yer Bike!