4heron has recently worked with the award-winning start-up company Busby to refresh and redesign its renowned cycling app: Busby 2.0.

Busby is a sophisticated incident detection app that promotes road safety amongst cyclists across twenty four states and six continents. The Busby app monitors your smartphone’s speed and movement to identify when users have fallen off their bicycles as well as their location and response time. In the event of a fall, cyclists are given 30 seconds to move or respond. If the cyclist is unresponsive, then Busby will send their location to their emergency contacts via what3words to ensure that help is on its way immediately.

In this article, we will examine the development of Busby, its digital transition from hardware to app, achievements and its newfound relationship with 4Heron Ltd.

Busby’s journey

In 2015, Liverpool based company K-Safe formed ‘Busby’ after the company’s founder Barry was in involved in a severe cycling accident on the road with a truck. Fortunately, the truck driver contacted the emergency services to aid Barry. Following Barry’s incident, the K-Safe team was determined to create a solution that would recognise not only road traffic incidents but also diminish assistance arrival time to give loved one’s peace of mind. According to statistics, cyclists are 15% more likely to die in an accident than motorists; therefore, Busby is committed to creating a safe environment for cyclists through innovative technology.

Busby then introduced its cyclist detection hardware to the market. Still, throughout their years of trading, the company realised that its merchandise presented a barrier in entry to the market as it required consumers to pay upfront before using them. To combat this issue, Busby decided to develop a free app instead. Australian based tech firm ‘Saltwater Ventures’, invested £150,000 into K-Safe to support the development of Busby.

Digital shift

In November 2019, Busby officially launched its free mobile app on the App Store, and Google Play for both IOS and Android devices. However, users of the free app are limited to assign only one emergency contact unless they upgrade to the premium subscription for £1.99. Nevertheless, users can still enjoy exclusive discounts from its partnership hub.

The Busby app has a 4.8 star rating on the App Store and a 4-star rating on Google Playstore (out of 5).

Busby premium is an ad-free subscription that enables users to assign up to five emergency contacts and grants them access to premium member offers and discounts outside of the free tier offers. Furthermore, users will also have full access to the upcoming GroupRide feature.

The new GroupRide feature is for club cyclists who engage in group rides or tour guides and is designed to keep everyone within a set radius to prevent anyone from getting left behind or lost. If a cyclist falls out of range, then everyone will receive a notification which will prompt them to slow down or go back.


Since October 2019, Busby has successfully saved three lives and has received an abundance of positive user reviews. Overall the app has been downloaded around 7,000 times since it was released last year, and it has gained a considerable amount of recognition which led them to achieve numerous awards including;  KPMG’s National Top Tech 2017, and more.

“I was out riding this weekend and was involved in an incident. I was unconscious for a little while but Busby recognised the incident and sent a message to my emergency contact of my exact location straight away. Help arrived really quickly without me having to do anything. Thank you Busby! Highly recommend this app to anyone!”

Sarah H – App User

There are absolutely no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds and this is real.

— Gilbert K. Chesterton

Busby & 4Heron collaboration

The exciting relationship between Busby and 4Heron will enable the pair to enhance the popular cycling safety app further. Besides from registering near-misses and creating prompt response times, there is also scope to improve road conditions for cyclists and motorists. For instance, they are using the near-miss data to distinguish accidental hotspots and notify haulage company drivers of when a vulnerable cyclist is nearby.

If we had any ideas 4Heron would scope them out and come back with ideas on how best to implement them into the app. Any changes where easily made with the Adobe design process where we could comment and adjust or add anything.

James Duffy – Busby App Commercial Director

The cyclist detection feature is called ‘RoadRadar. It is currently in development and once complete will work in conjunction with Busby to allow haulage drivers to identify when Busby equipped cyclists are nearby. James Duffy, Commercial Director of K-Safe, told Forbes that “The algorithm recognises that there may be more than one cyclist present, but it only goes off once”. James Duffy also added that most trucks come equipped with an Android device built inside; therefore, they can allow the devices to be linked up to RoadRadar once they have purchased the anonymised cycling detection information. We will keep you updated on the release of RoadRadar.

All development and code work carried out by Phoenix Innovate.

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