British student Emily Brooke has invented a laser projector that should help bicycle riders to tour more safely in cities. BLAZE is a battery-powered device that can be attached to the handle-bars of a bicycle. It projects a figure of a bicycle in green light two meters in front of your bike. The idea is that other people using the streets will first see your laser light, and then give you some space. The projection is just as visible in daylight as it is in the evening.
“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.”
With BLAZE, Brooke has won a competition which will make it possible to really produce the device. Two years ago a comparable idea called LightLane was introduced. LightLane produces a personal bike lane projected on the street using a laser beam, and is attached on the back side of the bike. It therefore protects the biker from behind. Due to the high costs of installation, bike lanes are not widely available in most cities around the world. Instead of forcing cyclists to adapt their behavior to the existing infrastructure, the idea of LightLane is that the bike lane should adapt to the cyclist.
Although both ideas have the main purpose to make cycling more save, I can’t suppress the urge to note that when installed together on thousands of bikes, these inventions must generate a beautiful urban laser show. Happy cycling.