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Matt Tucker
iRide

A bicycle handlebar console and computer gaming system designed to develop young cyclists’ road awareness.

The iRide system is the brainchild of product design graduate Matt Tucker, and is already receiving serious interest from road safety and cycling training organisations. Aimed at children aged between nine and 12 years, it provides a realistic interface for games and videos designed to train the necessary skills for on-road cycling.

Matt said: “The idea is to reduce accidents by developing a solid understanding of how to negotiate traffic, signs and signals and other potential hazards, before kids actually take to the road on their bikes.

“I was inspired to design it because of the poor cycling safety I saw when growing up. Lack of experience and the fact that children tend to take greater risks makes them vulnerable,” he explained. “The system addresses this by aiding visual perception, increasing reaction times and controlling risk taking by reducing impulsive behaviour.”

The handlebar console, which fastens easily to a desk or table, is plugged into the computer’s USB port and allows children to steer their way through a range of games and interactive videos. It provides a fun way for them to gain virtual road experience in a controlled and safe environment.

A recent study by road safety charity Brake found that, although the number of child cycle deaths has decreased steadily over the last decade, there has been a 55 percent increase since 2005. And with cycling gaining in popularity as a healthy, green and fun way to get around, the system will, Matt hopes, enable parents to feel more confident in allowing children to enjoy safe, independent cycling.

iRide was selected to represent some of the best work produced by Product Design students from the University of the West of England, at the New Designers 2008 exhibition at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London.

Matt Tucker, 28, graduated this year from the University of the West of England in Bristol, with a first class degree in Product Design and Innovation. Originally from the cycling city of Oxford, Matt has been a keen cyclist since he was a child.

kids’ on-road cycle safety inspires young product designer

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