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January 19, 2021

Bicycling during lockdown – this is how we keep cyclists safe

Some places seem like they were made for cycling. Copenhagen, for instance, is so flat that if you stand on a loaf of rye bread you can pretty much see Sweden across the sound – something the city has embraced and adapted its infrastructure around. But that’s far from reality in other cities, where cyclists face considerable risks on the road.

Bicycling’s popularity continues worldwide during the coronavirus crisis. Many local and national governments are either starting or accelerating plans catering to cyclists. According to the European Cyclists’ Federation, more than 2,300 kilometres of “Covid-cycle-paths” have been planned across Europe. Traffic congestion and pollution have decreased.


Cycling has positive economic impacts, too. In the UK, a 2018 study conducted by Matthew Carmona from University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning reveals that those not in cars (cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users) spend 40 per cent more money each month in local shops than motorists. So, it seems cycle-friendly cities make sense for our future.


The World Health Organization has flagged that cyclists are among the most at-risk road users and – unlike car occupants – their risk is not decreasing. This statistic isn’t surprising for our safety experts.


Magdalena Lindman, our technical expert in traffic safety data analytics, has worked for decades on collecting data to help keep cyclists and other vulnerable road users safe on the roads.


“We have our own cyclist and pedestrian crash database,” says Magdalena. “This allows us to better understand the exact way in which the design of Volvo cars affect any interaction with vulnerable road users, and how we can change things to improve safety.”


Using data from real life accidents, we launched our pedestrian detection with full autobrake in 2010 and cyclist detection with full auto brake in 2013. Both technologies now come as standard in all new Volvo cars as part of the City Safety package.


On a wider scale, we continuously align ourselves with Sweden’s Vision Zero policies. It aims for zero road traffic incidents and emphasises that the road transport system comprises different components: roads, vehicles and road users who must interact to ensure safety and reach this goal.