Laserlight: An Invention Which Could Save Cyclists’ Lives
If you’ve ever tried cycling on busy roads at night, you’ll relate that actually, it’s quite a terrifying experience.
I once had a pretty awful experience myself when I was a young teenager, which almost put me off cycling completely. It basically involved me being in the blind spot of a bus, the bus almost not seeing me and missing me by inches, and an angry, and apparently misogynistic, male driver telling me that “women shouldn’t be allowed on the road”, among other expletives (yes, in front of his partner). I ended up walking my bike the entire way home, sobbing my eyes out over something which was very scary and almost entirely not my fault.
When I read about a new invention, dubbed Laserlight (like the song), this event immediately jumped into my mind and I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe if I’d been in possession of this new gadget, perhaps I wouldn’t have had such an awful experience – and if others have it too, they may be able to avoid much worse fates.
What is it?
The concept is simple. Laserlight is an aluminium device which combines a light and a laser, which projects a green image of a bike onto the ground five metres in front of the cyclist. It is intended for those who cycle at night (as 50% of bicycle commuting occurs in the evening or in the dark) and attempts to make drivers aware of the presence of cyclists, as they might be in their blind spot.
The idea for the invention was thought up by Emily Brooke, who envisioned it during her final year studying Product Design at the University of Brighton. She told the Guardian that she was once – similarly to myself – cycling next to a white van, and realised that if it turned left, it would squash her as she was in its blind spot.
“I thought that if I was just five metres ahead, I would be safe – I wished I had a virtual me just five metres ahead, if I could just project myself there.
“Naysayers are people who have not seen it. I completely agree with them, it sounds completely wacky. But when you see it in practice, it is a passive green bike, passively travelling on the road in front of you.
“It is the symbol of a bike clearly attached to a moving object moving along the ground in one direction, you see it and you orientate to ‘where is the bike’. If it doesn’t make sense when you first see it, you see it once [more] and then it makes sense.”
After leaving university, she created a prototype for the product and launched it on the then-new website Kickstarter. She received £25,000 of investment in five days and proved there was demand for that kind of product.
That was three years ago and the 28-year-old has now sold more than 3,000 of the products through her company Blaze, priced at £125 per light. Pre-orders for the product have just been completed and Evans Cycles are to sell the product across the UK very soon (and you can find them on the Blaze website).
Blaze has raised more than £500,000 so far, from investors such as Richard Branson, and another investment of £1 million is currently being finalised. I for one hope that more safety inventions will come out of this company, and that soon the price will drop so regular cyclists will be able to get their hands on it. You never know, it could save a life.
What do you think of Laserlight? Let us know in the comments below!