A British entrepreneur has designed what he calls "the safest bike in history", featuring a protective cage positioned around the rider and a double seatbelt.
The hybrid bicycle was created by Crispin Sinclair after he bounced off the side of a turning van. The Babel Bike is equipped with a safety cell, similar to the roll cage that racing cars have, with the rider being strapped in and wearing a seatbelt.
The two-wheeler was designed so that in the event of collision the cyclist will be pushed away by a turning truck or bus, not crushed by it, while also improving protection from any impact with cars.
Talking about the process that went into the Babel Bike, Mr Sinclair said: “We went through hundreds of different prototype models. We tried side bars, stabilisers, foot protectors and many other weird ideas.
“We also played around with different gear systems, different motors, different seats and seatbelt designs and eventually took our prototype and did some final testing against a 38-tonne lorry.”
The team has been working over the past two years with automotive consultancy company MIRA and other UK safety authorities to develop the bicycle’s safety-testing regime.
For instance, in accidents involving vans, lorries and buses turning at junctions - which account for 50 per cent of all cycling deaths - the Babel Bike is designed not to fit the gap along the front and sides of these vehicles, being pushed away instead of being run over.
It is also fitted with an automatic alarm, which sounds like a loud car horn triggered immediately when the bike is hit. The front and rear of the bike have built-in lights that come on as soon as pedalling starts, ensuring the cyclists are easy to spot at all times.
The Babel Bike also has indicators, in an attempt to offset the necessity of the rider having to stick an arm out to the side to indicate when they are making a turn, as well as hazard lights, brake lights, a loud car horn and rear-view mirrors.
It comes in electric and non-electric versions, with the electric versions having a range of up to 80 miles, electrically assisting the cyclist at speeds of up to 15.5 miles per hour.
Sinclair is the son of famed British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, whose own one-person, battery-powered, electric bicycle-style vehicle, the Sinclair C5, passed in to invention legend in the mid-1980s. Technically an electrically assisted pedal cycle, sales of the C5 never took off as Sir Clive hoped, although his invention has since acquired cult collector status.