A wide interpretation of the term vulnerable road user may refer not only to the individual road user's lack of a protective shell, as in walking, cycling and using motorized two-wheelers, but also include aspects of the individual's capability to cope with the traffic situation (e.g. due to young or high age). The Swedish term used (i.e. oskyddad trafikant) is clearly stressing the unprotected aspect of the description, and it is this aspect that is in focus of this pre-study proposal. Almost half of the over 1.2 million deaths in road traffic accidents worldwide each year strike unprotected road users [1). The typical accident scenario that comes in mind involving an unprotected road user is that someone is being hit by a car. Contrary to this preconception, statistics show that 7 out of 10 bicycle accidents are single vehicle accidents, and that these are often due to bad road conditions (slippery or bad maintenance) . Single bicycle accidents produce about half of the very severe injuries , and single accidents account for almost half of the fatalities for motorcyclists . An accident with a two-wheel vehicle may, even at fairly low velocities, lead to the driver getting unconscious or by other means incapable of calling for help. This situation is even more alarming for single accidents on rural roads with less traffic since noone may report the accident for a long time, and such roads are popular choices among motorcyclists and racing cyclists. In line with the eCall concept for cars, where an automatic emergency call is issued when the embedded sensors of the car detect a collision, the driver of a bicycle, moped, or motorcycle can be equipped with sensors and a SmartPhone application (embedded sensors in the SmartPhone may be enough) that makes an alarm when changes in position or velocity outside what is considered normal when using a specific vehicle is detected. A concept for such a system for motorcyclists has been suggested in the bachelor thesis by John Vikstrom [4).
Vulnerable Road Users: An eCall service for two-wheel vehicle users