You remember Nintendo's Paperboy, right? Back in Triassic era of videogames, you had to deliver the day's print to the right house while not getting run over by a car or taken out by a tire. Not exactly the most direct way to learn bicycle safety, but it was fun. A more efficient way to stay safe on a bicycle is Honda's new simulator, which aims to teach two-wheeled folks better on-the-road safety.
Traffic fatalities have fallen in Japan but bicycle fatalities have apparently risen, with teens and older riders the biggest victims. The majority of the problems apparently stem from breaking traffic rules, so the simulator allows riders to learn the ways of the asphalt without getting clobbered by a Daihatsu, and provides both learning and a "rider evaluation session" after the demo.
Honda is accepting pre-orders now, and the simulator will go on sale in Japan starting next February. For the full scoop, check out the press release after the jump.
Honda to Begin Sales of Honda Bicycle Simulator Developed for Traffic Safety Education
TOKYO, Japan, October 15, 2009 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced plans to begin Japan-wide sales starting February 2010, of the Honda Bicycle Simulator developed for the purpose of traffic safety education. By safely experiencing the possible risks bicycle riders may face, users will improve their ability to predict risks and increase safety awareness. In addition, rider evaluation session which will follow the riding simulation will help users learn traffic rules and manners in an enjoyable way. Honda will aim for widespread use of this simulator by a range of customers including public offices, law-enforcement organizations, driving schools and educational institutions which conduct bicycle safety education programs primarily for school children and senior citizens. Honda will begin accepting pre-sale orders in November of this year.
In recent years, the total number of fatalities from traffic accidents has declined in Japan. However, the ratio of fatalities in accidents involving bicycles has increased. Bicycle riders aged 10 - 19 in and above the age of 50 have the highest chance to get involved in an accident, and approximately 70 percent of bicycle accidents are caused by violation of traffic rules.
Leveraging the know-how accumulated through its activities to promote traffic safety since 1964, Honda has been developing and selling motorcycle and automobile simulators since 1996 and 2001, respectively, as traffic safety educational devices which enable users to safely experience the risks based on real-world traffic situations. By offering these simulators, Honda's goal is to improve people's ability to predict risks and increase safety awareness. Striving to realize a richer mobility society in the future, Honda developed the Honda Bicycle Simulator as an educational tool for a wider range of people.
Key features of the Honda Bicycle Simulator
・ Compact design (length 2,270mm × height 1,400mm × width 990mm, weight 88kg)
・ Equipped with monitors to check right/left and behind.
・ Equipped with a "walking sensor" which recognizes the user's action of walking the bicycle.
・ Contains different courses such as "going to school," "going to the grocery store," "going to cram school" and "going to a local shopping street" to offer realistic experiences for user groups of different ages.
・ Contains a course for the user to learn traffic laws and manners to ride a bicycle in mixed traffic.
・ After the simulation, the rider's path can be reviewed from multiple vantage points -above/below and right/left- and the riding situation and evaluation will be displayed on the monitor.
Sales Plan (in Japan): 500 units per year
Suggested Retail Price (in Japan, including delivery fee): 732,900 yen (698,000 yen before tax)