Dutch bike lock will block cyclists' phones to stop phone use while cycling

Dutch bike lock will block cyclists' phones to stop phone use while cycling

A Dutch telecoms company has teamed up with the country's traffic safety authority to develop a bicycle lock that also blocks its mobile network in a bid to protect youngsters who regularly cycle through busy streets while looking at their phone.

An app opens the lock and simultaneously blocks the KPN mobile network, meaning that the cyclist's phone can only be used to call emergency services.

Once the bike is locked using the app, the mobile phone will work again.

The app does not stop users listening to music stored on their phone, but would prevent them playing streaming content.

The Dutch Traffic Safety Association said that the Safe Lock is expected to go on sale by the end of the year for around €100.

The association said that one in five bicycle accidents involving children is caused by smartphone use.

KPN spokeswoman Victorina de Boer said the combination of a network-blocking app and lock, made by the AXA company, is believed to be a world first.

By blocking the network, the lock and app halts not only calls but also the beeps and buzzes that alert users to new messages.

"If you want to assure yourself of not being disturbed by ... notifications which can take away your attention from the traffic around you, then this is a good solution," Ms De Boer said.

The lock will initially only be for KPN clients "but of course we're open to working together with other providers on this. Anything to increase the safety of children on their bike in traffic", Ms De Boer said.

The app and lock, which will be tested over the summer, will initially only be available for Android phones, but Ms De Boer said KPN is also looking into the possibility of a version for Apple's mobile software iOS.

AP

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