Emily dreamed up BLAZE to address some of the most significant blind spots of drivers. Her ingenious idea looks like a winner.
79% of bicycle accidents (in the UK, Emily’s home) occur from drivers turning into bicyclists. This is partly due to driver blind spots. Emily conceived BLAZE to help address this. BLAZE is a projected neon light that warns drivers visibly that they are sharing the road. With this projected neon image of the bicyclist on the road, ahead of the driver, the driver becomes conscious of a bicyclist sharing the road even if she or he does not see the bicyclist.
The image of the bike is projected well ahead of the actual bicycle on the road in the form of a bright neon bicycle. The image/light warns the driver not to turn. The driver may not yet see the bike — however, the light in the shape of a bicycle should bring the possibility to their attention. The driver becomes alert and can guess that a cyclist is immediately behind – to the side of the vehicle.
From the BLAZE site:”tackles the most common cause of cycling accidents — vehicles turning across an unseen bike.”
There is good reason to call this light the ultimate bike light. As the Kickstarter campaign for the product informs us:
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!
- Power: Current prototypes are using 1500mAh rechargeable lithium cells (though exploring the use of larger cells) and with the LED light plus the laser module on constant, the current prototypes last up to 6 hours. On flashing mode, they will last up to 12 hours. This means if you’re using your light to commute to work for an hour everyday, you’ll probably need to charge it once a fortnight.
- Dimensions and Weight: Our current prototype is a piddly 110 mm long! Super compact! Its aluminum casing and compact internals give it the reassuring weight of quality, yet still being less than 200g.
- Materials: The casing is machined aluminum with a beautiful finish and acid-etched, silver nickel control panels. The prototypes in the video are milled by hand, so the real thing will look even sexier done by machine! Damn right we believe a bike light can be sexy. Especially ours.
- Waterproofing: Yep! All the correct seals are in place to prevent your precious internals being fried in the season’s first downpour… Like water off a duck’s back!
Brightness: Blimmin’ bright! Currently settling on which LED configuration to use, but the prototypes in the video are using LEDs >90lm/W efficacy, giving >80 lumen.
Modes: Both the white light and the green laser can be activated independently and both have the option to be flashing. When they are both on flashing mode, it is programmed for them to flash alternately, maximizing visibility. The LEDs also have a ‘dim’ mode and it can be used as a torch off the bike.
- Safety: BLAZE contains a neat internal magnetic sensor, so it knows when it’s in its bracket. When you take it off the bike you can use the light on ‘dim’ mode as a torch, but not the laser or LEDs on full beam – as a safety mechanism and also preventing them activating in your backpack and draining the battery!!
BLAZE and Emily’s Story
BLAZE was a concept that founder Emily designed and patented at University in Brighton. After doing a long ride for charity, Emily got the biking bug badly and started her final year of Product Design with the theme “Urban Cycling” – looking at the challenges facing city cyclists. BLAZE was her final year project and she worked with Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, road safety experts and driving psychologists to develop the concept.
Read more on innovative bicycle lights and related stories: