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Door Opening Warning Light

Give (motor)cyclists a chance
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When cycling, you have two choices: Cycle right in the middle of the road, or over to the side. The latter has the advantage of enabling moving cars to pass, this is a good thing. In towns and cities there are often lines of parked cars, cars have doors, doors are sometimes opened by people. A sudden door opening is one of the many interesting types of cycling accident.

Now, how about a little sensor on the inside of the door handle? This sensor, when touched, turns on a little light under the door mirror, or perhaps the indicator lights for that side. This would be watched for by cyclists as it is better than the current surveillance method, which is based largely on desperate superstition in the absence of actual information.

bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014

Same as this idea Illuminated_20car_20door-handles
[hippo, Jan 04 2016]

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       Unless you are proposing a time delay interlock on the door (which has major safety implications in an accident), the delay between someone reaching for the door handle and opening the door is typically in fractions of a second, not nearly enough time for the cyclist to respond.   

       Just don't ride in the door zone.
MechE, Oct 10 2014
  

       This is brilliant, but why not just have the blinker turn on until the door is opened when the engine is turned off? The blinker is the universal signal that the car is about to put part of itself into the area to it's left (in left hand driving countries)   

       What's the difference between being aware that a car might turn into your path leaving it's parking space or open a door into your path because the person is getting out? Either way you pass with awareness and caution and give a wide berth.   

       I think you're really onto something here. As a bike rider and a driver, I think something along these lines would be a really great feature to offer.   

       Bonus, driving around in a parking lot looking for a space, left hand blinker means they're not leaving, they're just getting out.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       Hmm, while the amount of time between grabbing the handle and opening the door CAN be in the milliseconds, it usually isn't. It's often grab handle... check keys... crack the door then push. Half a second can be sufficient avoidance time.
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       That's why the blinker starting the minute the engine is turned off makes more sense. Plenty of warning.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       That effectively means you can't sit in your car with the engine off, maybe there could be a subtle glow rather than the full on flashing indicator?
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       We haven't engineered the optimal execution yet, but the concept is golden (+)
normzone, Oct 10 2014
  

       Convert all cars to welded-door General Lee style window entry? Or top loading?
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       //Maybe have the light attached to the seatbelt warning system.//   

       Yes.   

       Here's the proposed solution:   

       The blinker only turns on when the following happens:   

       1) Car turns off 2) Seatbelt gets unfastened 3) key is removed from ignition   

       Then the blinker clicks to tell you you're warning people you're going to get out of the car, if you're just sitting there, put the keys back in the ignition, very little inconvenience. And remember, when you get into your car none of this happens. It's only after it senses engine off, seatbelt off/key out of ignition.   

       This really is a very very good idea.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       I think you need a seat weight sensor (already widely used) a seat belt sensor (widely used) and an key sensor (widely used). This is literally a software problem/opportunity in new cars.   

       The sticking point is all those fancy cars with no keys, just a card in the wallet or whatever.
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       Well, problem with that is the weight sensor only works after you've already opened the door.   

       As far as keyless cars, engine off/seatbelt off is probably good enough. Blinker goes on, if you're going to sit in your car for a while, just turn it off the way you would always turn your left hand blinker off, move the blinker handle up.   

       Intuitive, simple, easy to do.   

       I'm telling you B, you've got a Halfbakery classic here. This really should be a feature on new cars.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       //Well, problem with that is the weight sensor only works after you've already opened the door//   

       No it doesn't. The "stop being a rebel and put your seat belt on" light/sound works by recognizing a weight in the seat and no seat belt plugged in.   

       Either way, it doesn't matter, the weight sensor is there, and providing information. What the computer does with it is just software changes.   

       //just turn it off the way you would always turn your left hand blinker off, move the blinker handle up//   

       So does this mean that when the car turns the indicator on, it PHYSICALLY moves the indicator stalk? This would require hardware, might be a little complex. It might be easier to program the computer to turn off the indicators if you move the stalk down and then back to the middle. that puts it back to the software-only realm.   

       //I'm telling you B, you've got a Halfbakery classic here.//   

       Nah, no custard, Ninjas, cat maiming, needless over- engineering or bears. I've solved a problem without creating a MUCH bigger one. No one is confused to the point of rage, it doesn't have any of the hallmarks of a real classic. But thanks!
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       //No it doesn't. The "stop being a rebel and put your seat belt on" light/sound works by recognizing a weight in the seat and no seat belt plugged in.//   

       Well, yea, but I think we're assuming that the person is in the car, not sure what information we get from the seat sensor.   

       //it PHYSICALLY moves the indicator stalk?//   

       No, it just senses that the thing has been moved the same as you would if you're turning the left hand signal off.   

       //No one is confused to the point of rage//   

       Give it time, the idea is still a fairly new posting.   

       I'll get the ball rolling:   

       So your idea is an indicator light allowing you to time the door perfectly so you can hit any bike rider coming by? Excellent. Clearly anybody who doesn't like this idea is worse than Hitler.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       //allowing you to time the door perfectly so you can hit any bike rider coming by?//   

       Backup camera + recognition software + door opener - you don't even have to be in the car.   

       [+], but not the turn signals: something on the doorframe: lights up orange when the vehicle is put into Park, flashes when the doorhandle is pulled, returns to solid when weight is removed from the seat (or the door is reshut).
FlyingToaster, Oct 10 2014
  

       Problem is that this is a development exclusively (or primarily) for the benefit of cyclists. It will be difficult to get some, many or most carmakers to implement it. And, as noted, it may not give sufficient warning.   

       Howevertheless, there is another way which stands a better chance of being adopted.   

       The car I hired recently (a mid-range Merc) had a sensor to tell you if someone was about to overtake you. As they approached, it turned on a red LED on the wing mirror, alerting you. It was actually quite effective (I was driving on the other side of the road, being in Germany, so the reminder was appreciated once or twice).   

       The same sensor and indicator could tell you if a cyclist were approaching while you were parked. All it would need is a little tweak to the software (to make the system active when the car is parked).   

       Given the usefulness of the system when driving, I can imagine that it will be widely adopted. Tweaking it to work for cyclists would be natural - and free - progression.   

       It could even be adapted (again, at almost no cost) to sound an alert if the driver unlatches their door while there's something about the pass. Cars already have sensors that detect when the door is unlatched (ie, before it begins to open).   

       It's much easier to sell something that stops you inadvertently opening your door into a passing car/bike/truck than it is to sell something seen as benefitting only the cyclists, however deserving they may be.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2014
  

       Just don't ride in the door zone. — MechE, Oct 10 2014
pocmloc, Oct 10 2014
  

       Motorcyclists may be able to avoid the door zone most of the time. Cyclists, in general, cannot without incurring the wrath of moving traffic.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2014
  

       // It's much easier to sell something that stops you inadvertently opening your door into a passing car/bike/truck than it is to sell something seen as benefitting only the cyclists, however deserving they may be.//   

       Great until it malfunctions because there's a squirrel giving you stink eye that the sensor reads as a bike. (Note: for humor purposes only, squirrel scenario is not an actual criticism)
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2014
  

       [MB] as a cyclist I never ever cycle in the door zone. I would say that in my judgement the wrath of the randomly opening door terrifies me a lot more than the wrath of the impatient motorist.
pocmloc, Oct 10 2014
  

       OK, but many cyclists do.   

       So, the most practical solution is to use existing systems (passing-vehicle sensors) to alert a door- opening driver to an approaching cyclist (or car, motorbike...).
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2014
  

       Allow motorcycles to mount short range surface-to-surface missiles. Put a "EMERGENCY DOOR REMOVAL" button by the horn.   

       This will encourage increased caution by car drivers.
8th of 7, Oct 10 2014
  

       //Allow motorcycles to mount short range surface-to- surface missiles.//   

       Why limit it to motorcyclists? My rear rack will carry a single use wire guided light anti-tank weapon (I've checked).   

       //Cyclists, in general, cannot without incurring the wrath of moving traffic.//   

       And, in general, that's fine. The probability of being hit by someone who sees you, no matter how annoyed they are, is much lower than the risk from someone who doesn't.   

       If I'm in the lane, and you have to wait 15 seconds for oncoming traffic to clear so you can pass me, deal with it. I'm in the lane because it's not safe for me to be elsewhere at that time.
MechE, Oct 10 2014
  

       Almost all the roads here in downtown Philly are one way, and supposedly two lane. They're really not though. You have to ride in the door zone if you want to allow cars past you. The alternative on many streets is riding in the zone occupied by the death-dealing trolly/tram tracks.
bs0u0155, Oct 10 2014
  

       //Problem is that this is a development exclusively (or primarily) for the benefit of cyclists. It will be difficult to get some, many or most carmakers to implement it.//   

       About 20% of car-bike accidents are being "doored" . And it's anywhere from 20-100% Driver fault. Car makers think a lot about insurance premiums, hence all the automatic braking/lane departure or your blind spot warning example.
bs0u0155, Jan 04 2016
  

       // Same as this idea //   

       This one has more features now. And if we're going by idea body only, this one optionally uses the turn signal lamps, while yours only lights up the handle.
notexactly, Jan 04 2016
  

       We still very much favour the "short range surface-to- surface missile" approach to the problem.
8th of 7, Jan 04 2016
  


 

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