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Victoria cyclist's smartwatch called 911 after collision with vehicle

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A mangled bicycle and a smashed windshield point to the severity of the crash that sent a Victoria cyclist to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries on Monday.

But police say the cyclist's smartwatch called 911 after the collision with a vehicle at Bay Street and Government Street.

While this collision happened in a busy area, Victoria’s cycling coalition says wearable technology can be especially useful – and potentially lifesaving – in rural areas of the region.

"Response time is super vital for people if they’re injured," says Capital Bike chair member Corey Burger says. "It could be hours before you’re found."

Many smart devices like the Apple Watch have fall-detection features that trigger a call to an emergency contact or 911 when activated. They can also share the watch's location.

"Fall detection isn’t just a technology that athletes are interested in," says tech analyst Carmi Levy. "It’s a tech that senior citizens like my 80-something mom could benefit from… I literally bought my watch just because it had that capability, and I absolutely rely on it every time I leave the house."

He says one drawback is false positives. Maybe you bump into something or are a particularly passionate dancer. He says he sometimes finds himself looking at his wrist to make sure it hasn’t called 911.

While smart watches can respond to crashes, the Victoria bike coalition says smarter road features can prevent them.

"It’s all about making sure that there’s as many things as possible that prevent a crash, and then reduce its severity if it does happen," Burger says.

Investigators are still working to determine what caused Monday's crash. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has video of it is asked to contact Victoria police at 250-995-7654.

  

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