Rowan Schultz, 17, has invented a sensor which will assist drivers avoid accidents when they are carrying bikes and sporting equipment on the car roof.
Rowan Schultz, 17, has invented a sensor which will assist drivers avoid accidents when they are carrying bikes and sporting equipment on the car roof. Alison Paterson

Rowan's wheely good bike idea

CYCLISTS who have forgotten their bike was attached to their car's roof rack and attempted to drive into an underground carpark will be cheering when young inventor Rowan Schultz gets his sensor idea into production.

While most of his mates spent the summer holidays relaxing, the 17-year-old Alstonville High School student and keen mountain biker spent his time refining his invention which is part of his Year 12 major project for design and technology.

"The idea came about because we had wiped out so many bikes and carriers,” he said.

"I've put up an online survey on the Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club and most people seem to think it's a good idea.”

Rowan said the invention comprised a module which was mounted to the roof of a car and contained an ultrasonic sensor to detect close objects.

"If it detects an object, it will send a signal to another module with a speaker inside your car which will set off an alarm to warn you,” he said.

"It's runs off a small computer-type chip.”

Rowan is now in the process of patent registration for the invention.

"I'd like to have a model which would retail for around $100,” he said.

"It's an affordable investment for people with expensive bicycles.”

Rowan's invention would not only be welcomed by cyclists but also other sportspeople, according to Velosure chief financial officer Rob Conroy.

Mr Conroy's firm specialises in covering bicycles and said a significant percentage of claims involved damage caused by driving into underground carparks.

"We definitely do get claims of this nature when people have bikes on their car roof,” he said.

"It's not only when they are driving home and potentially distracted or another place like a carpark or a drive-through, so this idea definitely has it merits.”

Alstonville High School deputy principal Brett Price said Rowan's invention had enormous potential.

He praised Rowan for his intelligence and hard work on the sensor project.

"Rowan has an outstanding future and has a great practical turn of mind,” he said.



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