Hidden radar warns that a bicycle is approaching as the driver opens the door.
Could this car finally bridge the gap between cyclists and motorists?
The new Audi A4 is the first car in the world with technology that warns drivers a cyclist is approaching -- before getting out of the vehicle.
It is designed to prevent “dooring”, which can have fatal consequences -- two reported deaths in the past five years in Victoria alone.
Despite the recent overhauls of bicycle-related fines, only Victoria, NSW and Queensland have a specific offence for “dooring” a cyclist.
In Victoria, it carries a minimum $379 on-the-spot ticket, or a fine of up to $1476 if imposed by a court.
In NSW the fine for “causing a hazard to a person or vehicle while opening a car door” is $319.
In Queensland, the penalty for the same offence is $117.
The technology is standard on every version of the new Audi A4.
Other states and territories are yet to introduce a similar law.
But hopefully new technology will soon make “dooring” next to impossible.
A radar hidden behind the rear bumper senses when a cyclist is approaching from 10 to 15 metres away, which triggers a red light to flash near the driver’s door mirror.
A second red light along the top of the door trim also flashes at the same time, as an extra warning for the driver.
The system works up to three minutes after the engine has been switched off, or when the engine is running.
The technology is standard on every version of the new Audi A4 luxury sedan, which went on sale this week priced from $55,500.
News Corp Australia tested the technology with the help of one of Australia’s top triathletes, Lisa Marangon, from Sydney, who gave it the thumbs up during a training ride this week.
“I wish more cars had this. A lot of drivers don’t look when they get out of their cars,” says Marangon.
“Everyone is just in so much of a hurry these days, they forget to take a quick look before they open the door.”
Marangon said “dooring” was one of the reasons cyclists often leave a gap of about 1 metre when passing a row of parked cars, because they don’t want to get hit.
The triathlete said she was saddened by the recent rise in animosity between drivers and cyclists.
“A lot of drivers don’t realise that we are looking out for danger as well, whether it’s pot holes or car doors,” said Marangon.
“I know a lot of drivers get frustrated, but waiting 10 or 15 seconds to pass a cyclist safely could prevent someone from spending the rest of their life in a wheelchair, or even save their life.
“If a driver hits a cyclist, that’s the driver’s day ruined too. They’ll be late getting to where they are going while dealing with the police or ambulance, and could end up having someone’s life on their conscience.”
Should more cars come with cyclist-detecting technology? Tell us what you think in the comments below.