Sensors in London

Hello! I am a Masters student based in London at the Universty of Westminster. I am about to start my thesis which will look at the impact of drivers overtaking proximities towards cyclists using a cargo bike and having a children’s bicycle seat.

I can see there are no UK based bulk buy groups set up, and I’m slightly intimidated building a sensor by myself. I wondered whether if anyone has a sensor I could temporarily borrow?


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Hi @gcorr, welcome to the community.

We’ve had that question for a while in the back of our minds, whether visibly different bicycle setups (also: hi-vis clothing, helmet, kids trailer, …) had an impact on the proximities. We’ve been thinking about how one would tag the data in a way that it describes this, the biggest challenge is that these setups are not static and change for each user per track, so it would have to be a per-track setting, preferably customizable while starting the recording (because you quickly forget these modalities after the ride, and won’t be able to tag them later on hundreds of tracks). But it is hard to build a user interface on a one-button device :wink:

This is our biggest challenge – there is a metadata line for arbitrary key-value pairs a the start of each track file that could be used to store this data, and adding support for it to the parser and database in the portal would be trivial.

I’m looking forward to seeing your work and hope you keep us updated. If you need help translating content or internationalizing it in other ways (we’re not very consistent with the left-hand/right-hand traffic support across all software parts yet, for example), please reach out.

Regarding the soldering of a sensor, if you have access to the required equipment and a little bit of technical understanding, it is not that hard, we’ve had very good success with complete beginners building the sensor. The biggest hurdle might be that the (rather well developed) building instructions are only available in German, but I guess online translators are good enough by now for that. Borrowing one will be much easier though, hope you find someone to lend you a device :+1:

PS: I’ve put your inquiry on the agenda for tomorrow’s community meeting, hopefully that generates enough visibility. You’re welcome to join the meeting, though it is usually held in German and I don’t think everybody speaks English comfortably enough to switch.

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Hi @gcorr,

I’m able to lend you a DIY set for self-assembly. Also, I could help with the translation of the assembly instruction. In case you are stuck at some step.

We could have a further discussion (except your postal address) about the next steps in this thread.

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@gcorr great to hear we have the first potential user outside of the German-speaking countries! As you’re planning to work with the OBS in a research context I’d like to drop a link with research papers on the overtaking distances. You may be already aware of it as some of the questions are quite similar to the ones you mention. Bicycle overtaking research |

@SubOptimal Would the case be part of your kit? Otherwise I could contribute the case.

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Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly - and for your really kind promotion to the wider community!

That sounds like a hard problem to solve. Luckily in my case, I’ll be controlling the rider characteristics for each journey, so it should help to simplify the process. I’m planning to test a number of different road infrastructure types, but to overcome some of the challenges you mention I’ll be sticking to a predefined route. Very interested to hear what data the projects gather and how cities respond to it!

There are a couple of pieces of really interesting research in this field that’s already been done, mainly by Ian Walker based in the UK, as@gluaphas pointed out, which looks at the influence of gender, infrastructure type, road positioning and so on.

I’ll keep you updated on how I get on and what results I find!

Thanks so much again!

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@SubOptimal @gluap thank you both so much for your generous offers to loan me a sensor, case and your experitse - that’s amazing news! I’m very excited to be the first (of many!!) users outside of Germany to put the sensors to good use.

@SubOptimal I will message you separately to discuss shipping :slight_smile:

@gluap I am very familiar (maybe a little too familiar) with Ian’s great work in this field. If you’ve found any other gems, please send them my way as I haven’t come across much research.

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@gcorr I also have a completely assembled sensor I could send to you. Its property of the OpenBikeSensor e.V. and intended to be given to politicians, administrations and research for short to medium intervals. How long do you need it?

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@gluap The 3D printed case would be included.

edit: I have seen the answer from @thomaso too late. An already assembled sensor seems to be the better offer.

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That would be amazing, thank you so much @thomaso! Three months at most please, would that work?

thank you for all of your help @SubOptimal! Really appreciate it :slight_smile: Once I’m finished with this research, I’m sure I’ll be in the market to have my own sensor for cycling anyways!

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Sure, please send me a private message with the shipping details.

That’d be great thank you! I don’t seem to have permissions to send private messages, but my email address is (Edit by @gluap removed it and sent it to @thomaso diirectly) so if you could send me an email that’d be much appreciated.

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