21. September 2022 | Magazine:

With distance to more safety in cycling Sandkasten project "OpenBikeSensor Braunschweig" is looking for students

Since the amendment of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) in 2020, motor vehicles must maintain a distance of 1.50 metres when overtaking cyclists and pedestrians in built-up areas – and 2 metres outside built-up areas. But is the rule always followed in practice? The project OpenBikeSensor Braunschweig, funded by the Sandkasten Platform, wants to find out and collect data about the traffic conditions for cyclists in Braunschweig. This data will be used to increase road safety for the most vulnerable road users.

OpenBikeSensor is a Citizen Science project by Zweirat Stuttgart, a community of cyclists in Baden-Württemberg’s state capital. The device is mounted on the bicycle. It measures overtaking distances with the help of sensors and assigns them to GPS coordinates. Where is it safe and when, and where not? The data can then be analysed and made visible. Building instructions and the required software are open source.

Students can borrow sensors

The sensor cannot be ordered ready-made, it has to be built by onself. The material costs amount to around 50 to 70 euros. The volunteer team of the Braunschweig offshoot, which is funded by the Sandkasten of Technische Universität Braunschweig, has already completed five overtaking distance measuring devices. They are now looking for students who would like to put the sensors on their bikes and on the road to support the data collection.

Interested persons can contact “OpenBikeSensor Braunschweig” by email and will receive the measuring device for a fixed period of time after a short briefing. People who ride a lot in urban traffic are particularly in demand for meaningful data collection. Those who are not (any longer) studying can build their own measuring device together with the team and in this way also get involved in the project.

Development of a freely accessible database

What happens with the collected data? The team of employees and students of the TU Braunschweig will use the data to create a freely accessible database that can be accessed by mobility associations in the region and interested citizens. The aim is to identify critical points in Braunschweig’s cycling infrastructure. In a further step, the aim is to work towards improving these points. In the long term, more sensors are to be built and distributed for students. They are also looking for volunteers who are familiar with soldering, 3D printing or design.