June 13, 2011 weblog
University of Brighton design students makes biking safer with BLAZE projection system
(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 accidents occur when bicycles 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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