University of Brighton design students makes biking safer with BLAZE projection system

June 13, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog
University of Brighton design students makes biking safer with BLAZE projection system

( -- Emily Brooke, a design student at the University of Brighton, may just be the best friend that a biker has ever had. Anyone who has tried to ride a bike on crowded city streets knows how much of a challenge it can be to get in and out of traffic unscathed will be grateful for her new invention. Known only as BLAZE the handlebar mounted system. The system projects a laser image onto the road in front of the bike, alerting near by drivers that there is a cycle in the lane in situations where the driver may not have otherwise been aware of the presence of a bike rider. Hopefully, this early warning system will prevent drivers from changing into lanes with a bike in them.

"Eighty per cent of cycle occur when travel straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them," Ms. Brooke, told reporters. "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."

The system, which Ms. Brook developed in consultation with Brighton & Hove City Council, the Brighton & Hove Bus Company and driving psychologists projects the sharrow symbol in a green light bright enough to be seen in full daylight. For those of you not familiar with it the sharrow symbol is the sign for a shared lane. The system can be mounted to pedal bikes, scooters and motorcycles.

This design has already won its inventor a paid course at Babson College in Massachusetts, where she can continue to develop BLAZE. No word yet on when BLAZE will be on sale.

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1 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2011
With the way the handle bar jerks around while avoiding objects this could become a serious distraction to motorists and could probably blind small children in the path of the laser beam.
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
...shortly before the child gets run over by the bicycle? I could imagine a gimble mounting with some inertia, to reduce the lateral motion.
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
There's no way you'll get this laser projection system bright enough for people to see in daylight, and yet safe enough not to do damage to people's eye's in the event of a reflection.

Interesting idea, but it won't work.
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
Wear a helmet covered in blinking LEDs.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 13, 2011
With the way the handle bar jerks around while avoiding objects this could become a serious distraction to motorists and could probably blind small children in the path of the laser beam.

I imagine it is a push-button type thing that you only use when needed. Not always-on. Kind of like "Hi - I am in this lane you are about to change into..."
Can't see it working any other way.
Haven't seen the specs though.

not rated yet Jun 14, 2011
Sound interesting. And most people here seem to have never ridden a bike (or at least never have use headlights on one). It doesn't 'jerk around' and you're not 'constantly avoiding obstacles' - even in inner cities.

As for protection of eyesight: The system is aimed downwards. If you're not smaller than 1 meter in height and standing right next to it then that shouldn't be a problem. Even for children this should be safe.
not rated yet Jun 14, 2011
Wear a helmet covered in blinking LEDs.

Which requires that driver pays attention which is kind of the whole point of this safety device. You really needed to read the article! Personally i think this is a good idea as i know from personall experience just how unobservant drivers can be despite me wearing the right reflective clothing and the bright blinking lights to allert drivers to me being there. My only cncern is just how bright is the projected image during 'average' daylight and even during a sunny and bright day?

Other than that i applaud any attempts to make biking safer and so should you.

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