As you might have heard, about a week ago Uber announced their plans to roll out their self-driving fleet in San Francisco. As exciting as the prospect is for passengers, cyclists are less thrilled because according to a report from The Guardian, the company’s self-driving cars apparently pose a danger to cyclists.
This is apparently due to the hook turn the self-driving cars make that is also one of the common causes of crashes between cyclists and cars. In a message released by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, “This kind of turn is… known to be one of the primary causes of collisions between cars and people who bike resulting in serious injury or fatality. It’s also an unsafe practice that we address in all of the safety curriculum we offer to professional drivers, including the videos we consulted on for Uber as recently as this fall.”
The coalition also reached out to Uber’s policy and engineering teams and were told that they would work on it, but it seems that they decided not to wait to implement any safety features and released their self-driving fleet a couple of days later. When exactly will their cars be updated remains to be seen, but cyclists should probably be more careful.
In the meantime California regulators have tried to halt Uber’s self-driving plans, claiming that the company had failed to obtain a testing permit. Legal action has also been threatened but it seems that Uber is forging ahead with their plans all the same.