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Car-Based External Airbag for Bicyclist Protection in Side Impacts

Journal Article
ISSN: 2641-9637, e-ISSN: 2641-9645
Published March 29, 2022 by SAE International in United States
Car-Based External Airbag for Bicyclist Protection in Side Impacts
Citation: Carroll, J., Enanger, M., Jeppsson, H., and Lubbe, N., "Car-Based External Airbag for Bicyclist Protection in Side Impacts," SAE Int. J. Adv. & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 4(5):1898-1905, 2022,
Language: English


Cyclist injuries and fatalities are a world-wide concern and often a consequence of interaction with cars. The MICA2 Project (Modelling of Interactions between Cyclists and Automobiles) is aimed at protecting bicyclists from getting injured by a passing car. This study addresses the need for new protective safety systems through the development and testing of a novel external car airbag. The airbag was designed to add protection to the center side part of the car, in the B-pillar area, to protect the head of a bicyclist impacting a car in this area. Two methods were used to evaluate performance of the system. For full system tests, a Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummy was seated on a city bike and projected into the side of a car at either 30°, 60° or 90° to the car side. In additional component tests an adult pedestrian headform was launched towards the roof rail or B-pillar structure of the car. The highest injury risk was found in a perpendicular (90 degree) impact between the bicycle and car. In oblique crashes the bicycle slid along the side of the car and that decreased the linear accelerations in the head. Glancing collisions (30 degree) resulted in low injury risk as there was no direct head impact. The airbag was very effective in reducing the HIC for the dummy or headform, by about 30%, in the 90 degree impact case with dummy and more than that with the headform.