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Systems in cars designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists

In the past, systems designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians were limited primarily to passive systems on the front of the car. Recently, however, active systems such as emergency brake assist systems have been increasingly coming to the fore. 

Together with Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka), the UDV (German Insurers Accident Research) developed a method of comparing the effect of passive and active systems. This assessment method was used on 16 current series-production vehicles.

The model calculations showed that cyclists have a significantly higher risk than pedestrians of suffering serious head injuries in collisions with the front of cars. The risk of suffering a serious head injury is generally lower for children than adults. A pop-up hood has only a limited effect regarding the reduction of the risk of head injuries for cyclists and pedestrians. In some cases, it can even be counter-productive. The risk of head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists could be reduced by a windshield airbag. A reduction of the speed of the car on impact from 40 km/h to 20 km/h would reduce the risk of head injury most significantly in all cases. This applies to pedestrians and cyclists, children and adults and all types of vehicle fronts investigated. Emergency brake assist systems are also capable of completely preventing such accidents.