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July 26, 2023 6 min read

The UK and Ireland are home to a huge community of cyclists. In fact, in England alone, 2021 saw approximately 6.5 million people taking to their bikes for sport, leisure and travel. Whether you cycle as part of a group, with your friends or family, or even just by yourself, by getting out on your bike, you too are a part of this ever-growing community. 

However, historically, a priority has always been given to building car infrastructure rather than bike infrastructure, meaning that cycling conditions are not as safe, convenient, or attractive as they could be in the UK and Ireland. While risk of injury while cycling is small given that according to Cycling UK, there are around 9 to 10 million safe cycling trips for every cyclist fatality, it is undeniable that more can and should be done to improve cycling experiences everywhere.

But how?

In order to improve cycling, be it in the UK and Ireland, or further afield, the people designing our roads need data; they need to know where cyclists are facing difficulties, and where cyclists are successfully integrating into traffic. Here at See.Sense, our mission is to help cyclists by doing just that - by sharing our anonymised data insights to improve conditions for cyclists. Here’s how…

How See.Sense collects data

If you’re an avid cyclist, you may have already heard of our smart bike lights such as the ICON3, an innovative light whose brightness and flash patterns adapt to your surroundings whilst cycling to keep you visible. However, See.Sense bike lights do much more than JUST keeping you seen and helping you to see whilst on your bike (although that’s already an advantage!). 

When our customers purchase a See.Sense bike light, they have the option to either use the light manually, or to connect their light to their phone via the See.Sense app

Upon downloading our app, customers have the option to opt-in and share anonymised data insights. 

With this data, we’re able to learn a lot about how cycling works on our roads;

  • We can see where frequent collisions are happening and gain insights into ‘near miss’ events that usually go un-reported from swerving and braking data (for more information on how we correlate our data, check out our RoSPA case study
  • We can locate areas of dangerous, uneven road surfaces
  • We can see which routes cyclists are avoiding, and from there, we can find out why
  • Similarly, we can narrow down areas where cyclists are having successful journeys and find out why

On top of the data collected by our sensors, the See.Sense app also allows users to log a See.Sense report where they can submit specific data regarding issues they encountered on their journeys, or infrastructure requests where they can request improvements to cycle routes and roads that they have travelled on.

We then collaborate with local councils and city planners to use that data to improve cycling infrastructure. This data is also available to the public, who can access an interactive map detailing infrastructure issues and requests in their own areas and around the world. 

That means that just by switching on your See.Sense connected bike light and going for a ride, you’re able to provide feedback on cycling conditions that is accessible to the people who can do something about it - pretty great, right? 

What data sharing means for you

For a lot of us, data sharing can be an unfamiliar topic, leading us to instinctively respond ‘No’ when asked to share data. That’s understandable - keeping your information safe is incredibly important. 

But here at See.Sense, we only collect the data necessary for our goal of improving cycling for everyone. When you choose to opt-in to sharing your data with us, we make sure that it is stored securely in compliance with GDPR laws, and that any data shared is aggregated and anonymous. Our data is crowdsourced, meaning that we’re less interested in the journey’s of individual cyclists and more interested in examining the patterns that arise amongst a community of cyclists. These pattern include, but are not limited to, areas of;

  • High braking
  • Swerving
  • Road surface conditions
  • Collisions
  • Speed
  • Dwell time

That’s why, we’re trying to encourage as many of our light users as possible to opt-in to data sharing; because it benefits your cycling community, and it benefits you.

What’s in it for your cycling community?

The positive effects of the data insights shared by See.Sense customers on cycling communities around the world has already been seen in our case studies.

For example, See.Sense data insights were able to help Transport for London enhance the effectiveness of their risk models and contribute to their Vision Zero POC by helping to identify locations where cyclists faced riskier journeys across the city.

In the West Midlands, 200 Birmingham cyclists were able to gather 800 million lines of data over 26,000 miles to help to analyse close pass incidents - data that was previously unavailable. Transport for West Midlands was able to use this data to build their Road Safety and Close Pass Campaigns to help keep their community of cyclists feel safer on their journeys.

Closer to home, insights provided from See.Sense data have helped to make our cycling community a map of the most cycle-friendly and cycle-populated coffee shops across Ireland. This project with Cycling Ireland has allowed all bike-enthusiasts who double up as coffee aficionados to set course for a shop where they know they can get their hands on a great quality cup of joe, and have peace of mind knowing that other cyclists have loved the bike facilities there. 

Meanwhile, over in Victoria, Australia, the Light Insights Trial (LiT) gave 1000 cyclists our smart lights so as to gather data on safe cycling in the area. In the first 6 months of the trial, participants cycled over 45,000km, saving of over 232 tonnes of carbon and collecting over 107 billion sensor readings. The data gathered from the project is now being used to inform safe-cycling initiatives in the area.  

With further insights to be published from this project later in 2023, the positive impact of sharing your data for your cycling community is clear to see; across the world, local authorities are using the data to improve cycling infrastructure, making cycling more accessible and safe for everyone. 

What’s in it for you?

By opting-in to using our app, not only are you contributing to the wider project of improving cycling experiences for yourself and your community, but you also unlock a host of incredible features that help to improve your cycling experience;

  • Using our app unlocks Theft Alerts, a feature in which if the sensors in your light detect someone tampering with your bike while your away from it, you’ll be notified
  • Using our app unlocks Crash Alerts, a feature that will send your location to your emergency contact if your light detects that you’ve been in an accident
  • Using the app also allows you to access your Ride Stats, helping you to monitor how far you’ve cycled, how much Co2 and fuel you’ve saved, your average speed, and numerous other statistics
  • Using our app Unlocks Low Battery Alerts, a feature that notifies you when your light reaches 20% battery or lower. From there, you can even choose to turn on the Get Me Home function, a program that will dim your light and give you at least one extra hour of light to make sure you get home safely. From there, you can charge your light easily via the USB connection (don’t worry though, most See.Sense users only have to charge their light once a week!).

Be part of the difference

In the end, whether you choose to opt-in to use the app and share your data is entirely up to you. However, doing so helps to improve cycling experiences for yourself, and your cycling community. Already, See.Sense has welcomed over 120,000 customers who are sharing their data for their community, and we’d love for you to get involved too!

Want to start being part of the difference? Check out our range of lights on our online shop front.

You can also sign up to our Newsletter for the latest on our impact on the cycling community