The creator of a new app aimed at making roads safer for riders, cyclists and pedestrians believes it could make a “massive difference”.
Henry Backhouse is behind the app Ride and Seek, which uses GPS technology to alert drivers to the presence of vulnerable road users.
Once downloaded by the motorist, it flashes up the position of anyone who is also running the app.
The smartphone can be left in a bag or on the front seat while the app is running, and it also issues a verbal warning of other users’ presence, so the driver does not have to look at his phone.
Mr Backhouse, 25, does not ride himself, but his mother does, so he said he is aware of “the risks riders take when they go out on the roads”.
His own experiences of driving near his home in rural Lancashire also led him to create the app, initially with riders in mind.
“You come round corners some days and get a bit of a fright when something’s there,” he told H&H.
“I thought there must be something we can do about this.”
Mr Backhouse worked for about two years with a friend whose background is in IT to create the free app, which has been available for about a fortnight.
He admitted the challenge now is to increase the number of people using the app, as both drivers and vulnerable road users have to have downloaded it.
“It’s a chicken and egg situation,” he said. “It needs both to be using it to work. It would be good if the riders downloaded it, so the drivers also using it could see them.”
And Mr Backhouse, who works for a major car manufacturer, has plans to expand the app in future.
“I want it built into cars, as modern ones have the capability for it,” he said.
“My bosses did show an interest, but they’d need a certain number of people to be using it first.
“It could also work the other way round – to alert riders of big vehicles’ presence for example. We haven’t made it that way but we could if people thought it was important.
“I want to take away that shock, when a driver comes round a corner and thinks: ‘Oh no, there’s a horse’ and has to slam on its brakes.
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“I hope this will one day help reduce the number of accidents on the roads between cars and horses.”
The app is free and available for download from the Apple and Google stores.
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