Honda to launch bicycle simulator

Fun way to learn road safety skills?

Honda have developed a high-tech bicycle simulator to teach people how to stay safe in traffic.

The device, which looks like something Heath Robinson might have dreamt up rather than a gleaming product of the motor industry, will go on sale in Japan in Feburary.

According to Honda, it will help people "improve their ability to predict risks and increase safety awareness" by letting them experience the possible risks faced by cyclists.

Users have to sit astride the built-in bike and take part in various scenarios shown on the computer screen in front of them, ranging from "going to school" to "going to the grocery store".

They can check over their shoulders using secondary displays, there are speakers behind their head to make the experience more realistic, and the machine can even recognise when they get off and walk.

After they have completed each task, they can replay their journey and view it from multiple vantage points. Afterwards, they are expected to take part in evaluation sessions where they are taught "traffic rules and manners in an enjoyable way".

The imaginatively named Honda Bicycle Simulator is aimed primarily at school children and senior citizens, and the plan is to sell the 732,900 yen (approx £4,995) device to driving schools, police forces and colleges.

In recent years, the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Japan has declined but the number of fatal crashes involving cyclists has increased, with over-50s and children aged between 10 and 19 most at risk. Honda already sell car and motorbike simulators.

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