The effects of a steer assist system on bicycle postural control in real-life safety challenges

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Abstract

With aging, the sensory, motor, and central nervous system deficiencies lead to inadequate bicycle postural control in older cyclists. Similarly, variety in riding skills leads to different bicycle postural control strategies. Cycling seems to be an automated task but keeping the bicycle stable at low speed, pedaling, and steering requires continuous physical and cognitive effort, and in long term may lead to fatigue induced by steering and stabilizing the e-bike at low forward speeds especially in older cyclists. E-bikes enables riders to cycle for langer duration and distance by reducing the physical fatigue. There is an increasing societal interest in electric bicycles where in 2021, 26. 73 billion US dollars worldwide have been invested on e-bikes and by 2027 this global market size will increase to 53.53 billion US dollars (Statista). However, with increased numbers of e-bikes, bicycle accidents due to inadequate steering and balance control by older cyclists have increased, which suggests needs for extra safety measures to maintain balance on a bicycle for challenging situation such as facing undesired disturbances or low forward speeds. We developed a prototype steering assist which aims to increase safety and improve the user experience, by reducing the steering effort and enhancing the bicycle postural control (rider-bike balance control). We investigated the potential effectiveness ofthe steering assist technology in real life challenging situations. Our present study should be considered exploratory research to find the potential effectiveness of the steering assist technology in improving the user experience and safety compared to a non-assistive e-bike. The improved bicycle postural control is validated by smaller range, variability, and rate of steering and roll trajectories when the rider is subjected to an unwanted disturbance. Improved bicycle postural control is expected based on the reduced need for compensatory behavior in the presence of assistive technology. Decreased steering effort is expected due to reduced demand for acute steering control in the anticipatory control strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Cycling Safety Conference
PublisherTechnische Universität Dresden
Number of pages3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event10th International Cycling Safety Conference - Dresden, Germany
Duration: 8 Nov 202211 Nov 2022
Conference number: 10

Conference

Conference10th International Cycling Safety Conference
Abbreviated titleICSC 2022
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityDresden
Period8/11/2211/11/22

Keywords

  • steer-assist
  • aging
  • bicycle
  • safety
  • ICSC
  • postural control
  • assistive technology

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