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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Newly Recognized Invisibility Effect Causes Hundreds of Bicyclist Deaths Each Year

02/11/12 # 0m

You may be familiar with military research over the past few years moving from stealth technology into invisibility devices, the very "cloaking devices" of science fiction. For instance, a Japanese team is working on an "invisibility poncho" that includes cameras and projectors to make the poncho's wearer somewhat camouflaged, if not invisible.

European scientists have taken another approach to the issue, focusing on making vehicles invisible, initially attempting to duplicate reports of Albert Einstein riding an invisible bicycle in Prague:

Some progress and in fact success was made in this European research, although a few persistent problems proved insoluble:
  • bike manufacturers resented it
  • bicyclists look stupid without bikes
  • they kept losing the bikes

An American inventor was able to develop a somewhat invisible bike by using transparent lucite rather than carbon fiber:

His work proved to be commercially unsuccessful because while he appealed to several market niches — hipsters liked the single-speed configuration, minimalists liked the spare design, and bearded Unix-admin recumbent riders liked the sandals — the niches were mutually exclusive and the conflict was intolerable. He did, however, win a design award from Hincapie Sports for introducing clothing that normalizes traditional bicycle kit.

While interesting or amusing, these approaches did little to advance the body of knowledge. Inevitably, a British researcher solved the problem by using Google to search the amassed content of the internet. His technique? He did Google searches on driver didn't see bicyclist.

His initial search strings were "driver didn't see bicyclist wearing helmet" and "driver didn't see bicyclist no helmet", but then realized that the terms relating to helmet use were redundant since every single article seemed to invoke them.

The research, to be published in an upcoming issue of The Royal Scientist, indicates that in order to achieve invisibility of both rider and bicycle, the following items should be assembled:
  • brightly colored clothing
  • bright yellow jacket
  • body visability augmentors- reflective anklebands, helmet blinkies, bright gloves, etc
  • a brightly colored bicycle
  • reflectors
  • lights (either battery or dynamo powered, no discernable difference)
  • one additional element of bike schwag - a messenger bag, a U-lock, a spoke card, etc
Apparently, the integration of all these items into a single quantum unit moving on a paved road at a speed over 8 kilometers-per-hour (kph) introduces a special field effect that renders both the bike and bicycle invisible. The effect is not noticable on unpaved surfaces such as trails.

Warning: Combining these objects on a paved surface may result in unexpected invisibility!

In response to circulated drafts of the peer-reviewed article, public safety experts are alarmed that this newly described phenomena may account for hundreds of previously unrecognized (and preventable) tragic deaths each year.

(Thanks to The Invisible Visible Man for inspiration.)

   2/11/12 Week 5    this week:
80 miles
   1st Qtr 388 miles
2012: 388 miles
Weight: Sun:237 Sat:237 Trend: BAD

1 comment:

  1. Type 2 Clydesdale Cyclist,
    I'm enormously touched by your hard work on my basic research breakthrough - peer review should be a breeze.
    The next step for you is to work out why so many people behave so stupidly on roads, a subject I take up in my latest post at http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/
    I look forward to further detailed research.
    Invisible Visible Man.