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Smart cycling scheme with 'world first data trust' will use bike lights to improve roads for cyclists

Jersey is hoping to improve cycling experiences on the island and test the idea of a "data trust" that it says will hold and protect user data...

Cyclists in Jersey are being asked to take part in a smart cycling scheme using a data trust to gather and protect user data, the latter part of which is said to be a world first. The data-gathering scheme, called LifeCycle, will use bike lights to collect information on people’s journeys on bikes, which can then be used to make improvements in the future. 

Digital Jersey, an organisation that promotes the digital sector on the island, is asking cyclists in Jersey to join the scheme. They will receive a smart bike light from See.Sense, which will collect data from their bike rides - not just on their itineraries, but also on their cycling experience: road conditions, busy spots and conflicts.

Participants are given See.Sense bike lights that use sensor and AI technology to gather information on their experiences. Digital Jersey say they will monitor the environment up to 800 times a second.

Rachel Harker from Digital Jersey said in a BBC Radio Jersey interview that the lights would track people’s journeys, gathering information on infrastructure, what condition the road is in, and hotspots for conflicts with cars.

The scheme aims to both gather information on what it’s like to cycle in Jersey, and to create the island’s first data trust, using trustees to hold information on people’s journeys.

Jersey’s first data trust will hold all of the information gathered by the lights: professional trustees are responsible for people’s data and will only pass it on to relevant organisations. At the same time as improving conditions for cycling, the scheme also serves as a trial for Jersey’s trust law - these are often used in the financial sector, but this scheme could be the start of a whole new sector on the island.

Digital Jersey explains on its website: "The concept involves the innovative use of a trust structure to hold personal data so that it can be stored, managed and shared safely, lawfully, in accordance with the trust parameters and applying fiduciary duties to the stewardship of data within a highly regulated environment."

Kristina Moore, Chief Minister of the Government of Jersey, said: “I think this is a great example of an innovation in our trust sector using the expertise of islanders and professionals working here that will also benefit islanders as a whole by tracking their cycling usage and enabling us to make our roads safer."

The organisation plans to create a pool of data which has been anonymised before being passed on to relevant organisations, in order to improve conditions for cyclists on the island. 

Previously, a trial in Glasgow used smart bike lights to make sure that children in a bike bus could all get through traffic lights together.

> “Game changing” device allows cyclists to control traffic lights so children stay safe

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