Government makes app to prevent smartphone use on bicycles

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The government has created an app to prevent smartphone use by young people on a bicycle. Users have to turn on the app before getting on their bike and if they don’t use their phone then they can win small prizes.

The campaign would be necessary, because according to the government, smartphone use is a cause in 18 percent of bicycle accidents involving young people. Research would also show that dozens of people are killed and hundreds injured every year due to smartphone use in traffic and people who use the smartphone are 25 times more likely to have accidents.

Those numbers seem to be based on quicksand. In various studies, SWOV, citing the government as a source, says that there is little data on the subject and that the data often comes from abroad or relates to other smartphone functions, such as calling, so these are rough estimates at best. . “One of these studies shows that cyclists who say they call every ride themselves, answer the phone
answering questions and listening to music have a factor of 1.4 times higher risk of a (self-reported) crash than cyclists who never use equipment while cycling.” However, that research comes from 2010, when smartphones were much less common than today.

To combat smartphone use, the government and various providers have created an app called Fietsmodus. That app checks whether users grab their phone. By turning the app on at the start of a bike ride and turning it off again at the end, users can earn points and win prizes such as T-shirts and movie tickets. In any case, the app for Android has access to location to keep track of where users are.

The government will draw attention to the Fietsmodus app through an advertising campaign in the coming months. Despite the campaign, it remains unclear what the exact influence of smartphone use on traffic safety is. The government claims that a similar campaign targeting motorists made sense last year, as more car users find a parking space to use social media. The government is not sure how big that effect was.

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