A British inventor says his Babel bike is the safest bicycle ever produced. Crispin Sinclair - son of famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - hopes the bike's safety cage, double seatbelt, and host of other measures will inspire non-cyclists to get in the saddle. Jim Drury went to see it in action.
The dangers posed by busy roads can deter city dwellers from getting on a bike. But that could change if a British inventor has his way. Crispin Sinclair says a host of unique safety features make his Babel bike the safest bicycle in the world. SOUNDBITE (English) CRISPIN SINCLAIR, INVENTOR OF BABEL BIKE, SAYING: "The main feature is the safety cage with the seatbelt, and the idea is that it's wide enough that it won't go under the side of a lorry, of a modern bus or lorry....and also if you're hit by a car it's effectively the same as a car roll cage. It's also got on the final version wing mirrors, indicators, hazard flashers, and a loud horn." / SINCLAIR BEEPS HORN Collisions with lorries are a major source of cyclist fatalities in London, as those on a bike can find themselves in a turning truck driver's blind spot. Sinclair's assistant Esteban Diaz tested the Babel in collisions with 38-tonne lorries. SOUNDBITE (English) ESTEBAN DIAZ, PROTOTYPE DESIGN ASSISTANT, SAYING: "We made the lorry turn and we saw how it reacts with the safety frame, so the safety frame was made of aluminium, aluminium tubing, and it turns out that it never gets underneath the lorry. It always gets pushed away and even dragged away, but it never puts the rider in a dangerous position, which is close to the wheels." Additional safety features include steel foot protectors and automatically-activated headlights and tail lights, while a Kryptonite U-lock and individual serial number protects against theft. There are two versions of the Babel - a pedal version like this rough prototype and a dual pedal-electric type. Sinclair is convinced he'll enjoy better luck than father Sir Clive Sinclair had with his ill-fated Sinclair C5, which flopped back in 1985. SOUNDBITE (English) CRISPIN SINCLAIR, INVENTOR OF BABEL BIKE, SAYING: "I hope it will be huge. I think there's for every person who currently cycles there's undoubtedly two or three that would if only it were safer. We can put bicycles lanes in, and they're fantastic but they're decades away from being put everywhere, and in the meantime I think a safer bicycle like the safer cars that we drive nowadays makes perfect sense." A crowd-sourcing campaign has been launched on Indiegogo. Sinclair hopes that, if successful, he'll be able to help nervous cyclists get back in the saddle.