Three years ago, Blaze Laserlights were an idea on a Kickstarter page, waiting to be brought to life. Yesterday, it was announced that 250 Santander Cycles (Boris bikes) had been fitted with the lights in a pilot project by TFL to see if they reduced accidents in London.
The lights, designed by Emily Brooke, won Innovative Product of the Year in the 2014 Total Women’s Cycling Awards. They display the image of a bike 5 metres in front of the rider, and are designed to help prevent accidents caused by drivers turning into the path of a cyclist.
This is the first time they have been built directly into the frame of a bike – meaning they are guaranteed to stay in the right position.
Before the trial could begin, the effectiveness of the lights was tested by the Transport Research Laboratory – they confirmed that in their trials the light increased visibility to bus drivers from 72 per cent to 96 per cent, when compared to standard LED lights when both parties were stationary.
The lights, powered by a dynamo, have been fitted to just 2 per cent of the 11,000 strong fleet of Santander bikes. They've been funded via the annual budget for the scheme.
James Mead, General Manager of Santander Cycles, said: "We will be robustly testing both the technology, its effectiveness and peoples’ opinions of it during the trial and hope to make a further update later this year."
Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer for Santander, said: “We know that safety remains one of the barriers to some people trying the scheme and enjoying the benefits it offers both the individual and the wider community. Blaze is a London based start-up and we believe the use of its revolutionary Laserlight on Santander Cycles will help people riding to feel safer."
Phil Ellis, COO and Co-Founder of Blaze, told us: “As a company we are dedicated to continuing to drive forward the improvement of road safety for cyclists through innovative design and technology, with the Laserlight product being the first of many things to come. This trial with Santander Cycles and TfL is a big step in the evolution of cycling safety in London and an important step for Blaze."
Check out this review of the Blaze Laserlight to hear how it faired when we used one on the roads.