Sometimes we can make our world a little too complex. Technology companies continue to innovate and bring us more ways to stay connected to all the things we feel are important to us. But sometimes I have to ask whether the technology is a step forward or a bad mistake. Samsung is the latest company to display innovative technology for motorcycles. The company has demonstrated a “Smart Windshield” fitted to a Yamaha Tricity 125 scooter. The display in the windshield connects to your smartphone through a Wi-Fi connection and a dedicated app. It can then display GPS and navigation information, which is probably the only useful thing a rider needs when riding. But the system also displays alerts for incoming phone calls, text messages and emails. Samsung is calling it “a new concept in road safety” and a “revolution for young motorbike riders”. The promotional video states that “it connects to your smartphone so you can keep both hands on the handlebars” (really!), and that “the windshield has been transformed into a safety device”. I like Samsung, but I love staying safe even more and would have to say that I hope this is an early April Fool’s joke. Distraction from mobile phones is now the biggest killer on our roads, and motorcyclists are our most vulnerable road user group. So surely making mobile phones more accessible to riders while they are actually riding is a seriously dangerous prospect. For ages we’ve all ridden with the phone tucked away out of sight, and so it should be. If it rings life still seems go on and we can deal with it when we stop riding. The same applies for emails and Facebook notifications. A panel in front of the rider will just encourage them to focus on the phone and not what’s important in front of them. Sorry Samsung, I agree that there is a safety benefit for making navigation information available to riders, but I’d seriously doubt the road safety benefits of receiving other text based information while riding. What can be so important? Maybe I’m wrong – I’d be keen to hear your thoughts?
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