Polite & Pleasant Greenway Passing Etiquette - a talking signaling bicycle helmet for safer cycling - Make: Community
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Polite & Pleasant Greenway Passing Etiquette - a talking signaling bicycle helmet for safer cycling

By Gary Yohe

This talking and signaling bike helmet assists greenway safety & courteous passing communication while bicycling.

Type: Social Impact

State: VA
Country: United States
Affiliation: None


What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?

I enjoy riding bicycle on the greenways.
Weekend greenway traffic can be congested. A lot of people are distracted by phones, media players, or talking with companions.
The greenways host a lot of bicyclists, some are pedaling at a leisurely pace, while some cyclists are in competition training.
Safety is a big concern.
I first used a 90 dB siren on my bike to give folks advance warning of an approaching bicycle and a likely impending pass. The siren startles folks and really annoys others.
Greenway etiquette also calls for cyclist to announce their approach and passing directly to other users.
After 2 or 3 quick repetitions of passing alerts, my voice may be dry, I may be out of breath, or my patience may grow weary on a busy day.
The solution to always be pleasant, polite, courteous, and clear on the greenway is to use a pre-recorded announcement.
Bright flashing LED turn signals on the back of the helmet to warn people approaching from my rear that can't hear it.

What is your project about and how does it work?

The Polite Passing talking helmet uses short pre-recorded mp3 passing messages to politely alert greenway users on my approach from behind or the side.
The helmet includes rear-facing LED strips to alert greenway travelers coming up from behind me that a passing move is to be expected.

The helmet has a pushbutton on the left side and the right side discretely mounted for passing in those directions. The helmet has pushbuttons in the front for less critical messages.
The pushbuttons are wired into an Arduino Nano, The Arduino Nano is programmed to trigger and flash the LED turn signals, and send a message to the DFPLayer mp3 module for which audio track to play. The DFPlayer feeds into an LM386 audio amp and speaker for a clear verbal announcement with adjustable volume.

What did you learn by doing this project?

A polite passing message is appreciated on the greenways. A too loud polite passing message sometimes can be just as startling as a 90 dB horn, so the volume should only be as loud as needed.
I also learned that adding proactive safety measures does not mean that other safety measures & etiquette can be disregarded.

I am a fairly experienced bicycle rider and have no problem quickly pushing a button on my bicycle helmet. Seeing Inexperienced, weary cyclists or cycling on a rough road may present bicycle control issues for taking a hand off the handlebars for pressing a helmet pushbutton. For a design improvement, I'm working on the next version of the talking bike helmet. The LED passing signals and audio messages will be activated using head gestures rather than pushbuttons. The speaker & controller electronics will be mounted on the handlebars, receiving sensor data via Bluetooth Low Energy from a gyro sensor mounted on the bicycle helmet.

What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?

Bicycles are fairly quiet and can approach quickly and unexpectedly from behind. The helmet helps protect the rider and people enjoying the outdoors from life altering collisions.
People enjoying the outdoors don't always have traffic etiquette & safety as the #1 priority. Lets keep them and ourselves safe by adding engineering controls.


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