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If you're out on your bike tonight, consider trying this

Kaid Benfield

Posted December 12, 2012 in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  BLAZE image projected on the road (courtesy of Emily Brooke & Kickstarter)

For pedestrians and cyclists, visibility is a very big issue.  Especially at night.  Every time I see someone jaywalking or riding across a busy street at night while wearing dark clothing, I cringe.  It’s a fatal accident waiting to happen. 

Fortunately, only a few turn out that way.  But it makes sense to do everything you can to increase your visibility to motorists, who generally aren’t looking for us.  And that’s where British cyclist Emily Brooke comes in.

  BLAZE bike light (courtesy of Emily Brooke & Kickstarter)

Brooke has invented a light that dramatically increases a cyclist’s visibility, especially to drivers pulling up alongside.  Here’s how she describes it on a fundraising website:

“The BLAZE Bike Light is a completely new innovation for urban cyclists. It’s a damn good bike light, but it also tackles one of the biggest causes of cycling fatalities - being caught in the blind spot and vehicles turning across an unseen bike.

“(Here in the UK) 79% of cyclists are hit when they’re travelling straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them, largely due to their small footprint and position on the road. BLAZE tackles this.

"BLAZE is a front light with super-bright LEDs, but it also projects the symbol of a bike down onto the road ahead of the cyclist. It’s adjustable, but ideally about 5m in front. It alerts road users ahead of the cyclist of their presence, helping to prevent them turning across their path (especially the big ones like buses and trucks!).  Making the cyclist more visible and increasing their footprint on the road.

“Another common accident sees drivers pulling out of a side junction into the path of a cyclist, the bike can be right up close but overlooked due to its position; being tucked in closer to the curb.  BLAZE's flashing symbol ahead of the bike warns drivers (in time) that there's a cyclist approaching, and stops them pulling out.  The same applies to pedestrians, people often don't hear a cyclist coming and step out in front of the bike, warn them you're coming through.”

Nifty.  Watch this video to see the how it works:

 

The light is available through REI, Amazon, and other retailers.

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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in the national media.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s sustainable communities video channels.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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