Sure-Footed Cycling with RFID
One study conducted by an insurance company in 2007 showed that in the U.K. alone, 1,200 bikes are stolen each day. The researchers "planted" locked bikes in 10 cities, and thieves stole most of them within 24 hours.
Now, with the help of RFID, cyclists can protect their bicycles from theft. Not only that, the technology even helps them to ride safer.
For instance, a U.K. company is offering an alarm system that combines RFID with closed circuit TV. If someone tries to steal a tagged bike, the motion sensor on the lock signals an alarm that alerts a closed-circuit camera to zoom in so that police monitoring the cameras can react to a potential theft.
According to the company, the system prevents theft of bicycles with minimal resources, allows for an immediate, targeted response and produces evidence for a successful prosecution of the bike thief.
Alerting car and truck drivers
RFID can do more than just prevent thefts. Each year, thousands of people die in bicycle accidents around the world. Several companies have come up with ways to make streets and bike lanes safer for cyclists. In Denmark, a company has developed and tested a system that alerts drivers of cars and trucks. When a rider approaches an intersection, the RFID tag on his or her bike sends a signal to an RFID reader mounted at the intersection. An alert for the driver flashes right under the traffic light. Researchers have tested a similar system that combines RFID with GPS technology. It would send alerts directly to the GPS device inside a driver’s car.
Last but not least, RFID is making more bikes available for citizens and tourists in cities across Europe and the United States. Various companies offer systems that use RFID to operate unattended bike rental stations. Cyclists use an RFID-based smartcard or chip to check out bikes from racks that carry RFID readers. Since each bike carries an RFID tag, the system knows which bikes are available or rented and can calculate when bikes were returned for billing purposes.
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