Even if the electric bicycle market is growing strongly, the feeling of insecurity prevents some people from making the transition. Indeed, a survey conducted by Shimano in 2021 during its annual “State of the Nation” report shows that the feeling of insecurity is a barrier to the use of electric bikes for 1 in 4 people. With 24% of responses, it is the second biggest obstacle to switching to an electric bike after price. It is a legitimate fear in an urban environment where cyclists are the third most exposed to the risk of death after motorcyclists and pedestrians according to a British study, and in rural areas where the majority of serious accidents occur. What if technology could help improve the safety of cyclists, and more generally of all road users? This is what is at the root of “V2X” or “vehicle to everything” technology in the cycling world, which makes it possible to make major advances in safety while increasing the comfort of cycling.
C-V2X technology: an innovation to protect cyclists
The automotive industry, a source of innovation to improve the cycling experience
V2X, originating from the automotive industry, is a technology that allows one connected vehicle to communicate with another, but also with smartphones, the cloud and the surrounding road infrastructure. Included in V2X are: V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2D (vehicle-to-device), V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure), V2N (vehicle-to-network), V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian) and V2G (vehicle-to-grid).
The vehicle equipped with this technology communicates continuously with its environment, with the aim of ensuring user safety, reducing traffic, saving energy and increasing user comfort.
When a car is connected to this system, it can receive and transmit a wide range of information that enhances safety on board. The technology offers collision avoidance features by alerting the driver to potential hazards and safety issues, as well as a wide range of possibilities, such as controlling lights and giving priority to emergency vehicles…
Beyond the on-road aspect, V2X technology makes it possible to inform the driver of any risk likely to impact on his driving: weather conditions, traffic conditions, etc. As the vehicles communicate with each other and share information in turn, this is called cooperative driving.
From V2X to C-V2X: what opportunities for the electric bicycle?
The move to the 5G network for communication allows this technology to be more inclusive. Bikes can now communicate with their environment and V2X technology becomes C-V2X (Cellular vehicle-to-everything). With the integration of e-bikes in the process, the notion of cooperative driving is more complete. C-V2X technology opens up possibilities for a more safe and enjoyable ride for the cyclist. In application it permits :
- To make the cyclist visible to other vehicles: each party will have information on the position, speed of movement and nature of the other. This makes it possible to be aware of the vehicles around him.
- Avoid collisions: For example, at an intersection or a bend, even if the driver cannot visually see the cyclist, his or her vehicle can.
- Be aware of traffic or weather conditions: Cycling can be more dangerous in different weather conditions. So being informed of the evolution of the weather will allow the cyclist to adjust his ride in real time.
In the long term, cyclists will be able to add this technology to their electric bikes by adding a box. It will also be possible for brands to integrate this technology directly into their bikes. This will enable them to stand out from the competition by removing one of the main obstacles to purchase.
Safety and the bicycle of the future, Velco’s digital solutions
At Velco, the safety of the cyclist and his bike is at the heart of our commitments. And while V2X technology may still seem futuristic, Velco’s digital solutions allow brands to support their cyclists on a daily basis in terms of bike maintenance and protection. The data collected by our IoT trackers are centralised on our white label mobile application which is the interface between the cyclist and his bike: Velco Rider.
A well-maintained bicycle keeps the cyclist safe
For an optimal experience with an electric bike, regular maintenance is recommended. Through a mobile application for cyclists, brands can provide maintenance tips. In addition to this, the rider is informed of upcoming maintenance actions in a dedicated tab. The rider can set up notifications to perform maintenance on sensitive components such as brakes or wheels, setting mileage thresholds at which alerts are triggered.
Good maintenance is essential for a safe and enjoyable cycling experience, avoiding accidents and falls that can be prevented by regular checks. Other features, such as fall detection, also enhance the safety of the cyclist, who in the event of an alert will be attended to quickly.
The analysis of traffic flows to adapt infrastructures according to the needs of cyclists
For fleet managers, the analysis of traffic flows allows them to understand the relationship between bicycles and infrastructure. Our partner Véligo, which owns a fleet of more than 20,000 electric bicycles in the Paris region, has been able to use the data to identify accident zones. In time, the analysis of cyclist flows and zones of high density or accident-prone areas will help to improve the infrastructure in these zones. The same applies to secure bicycle parking, the lack of which can be identified to secure bicycles against theft. Against theft, the connected solution is complete. From deterrence to recovery of the bicycle with movement notification, sound alarm, electric assistance cut-off and real-time geolocation.
By assisting the cycling industry with our solutions, we are helping to make electric bicycles more attractive and safer for everyone. A virtuous circle that contributes to the safety of both current and future cyclists, because as we know, the first shield for cyclists is numbers: the more people there are on bikes, the safer it will be to travel by bike.