Ok, first – this is so effing cool that I am excited to try to DIY my own for those times when I'm out biking in the dark. My good buddy Erich Friend from Teqniqal Systems in the Dallas/Fort Worth area sent me the initial article about this thing below – Erich is a technology and safety consultant for our industry, and he's one of the smartest and innovative people I know in this business.
Ok, check this thing out – so freaking cool. This is called BLAZE, and it's been invented by a student at the University of Brighton.
Emily Brooke is the inventor of the BLAZE unit, from a press release sent from the University of Brighton:
The final-year product design student said: "I wanted to tackle the issue of safety of cyclists on city streets by increasing the visibility, footprint, and ultimately the awareness of the bicycle."
BLAZE is a small, battery-powered device that is attached to the handlebars of bicycles, motorcycles or scooters, and which projects a laser image ahead onto the road. A bright green bicycle symbol travels ahead of the cyclist, alerting others to its presence. It has the option to be flashing, maximizing perception, and the image is visible even in daylight.
Emily said: "Eighty per cent of cycle accidents occur when bicycles travel straight ahead and a vehicle manoeuvres into them. The most common contributory factor is 'failed to look properly' on the part of a vehicle driver. The evidence shows the bike simply is not seen on city streets."
She said: "Even when lit up like a Christmas tree a bicycle in a bus's blind-spot is still invisible.
"With BLAZE, you see the bike before the cyclist and I believe this could really make a difference in the key scenarios threatening cyclists' lives on the roads."
The image says it all for me above – if you're riding your bike in town, perhaps especially at night, and you get into someone's blind spot – that's it for that bike ride, if not any other bike ride again. BLAZE is a product that projects a "HEY! HEADS UP!" sign way in front of you, enough so that people will realize that they're about to take away your birthday, so to speak. Or "blow out your candle." Or "pee in your cheerios." Any of them.
We commend you, Emily! Awesome innovation!