Published on February 26th, 2014 | by Cynthia Shahan


Increased Safety For Night-time Bicyclists With BLAZE

February 26th, 2014 by  

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.

blaze bike light

blaze best bike light

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!

BLAZE Specs:

  • 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:

“Project Aura” — More Protection on the Road

Bikes With Great Lights

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • denis gallagher

    Excellent idea, I was in a warehouse in Nebraska last week and their Caterpillar forklifts had a blue flashing light directed to the ground about 15 feet behind the forklift. I thought this was a great safety idea. you saw the light before you saw the froklift backing out from the aisles. Funny now to read something similar for cyclists, i think this is a real winner. Best of luck with this .

  • jeff wegerson

    Volvo introduced daylight running lights because they increased safety. will help with bikes as well.

    Dooring! That’s where I want help. a light aimed at a parked car driver’s window ahead might help.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Cars are starting to come equipped with collision avoidance warnings. I wonder if it would be affordable to build a bike system that detected dangers such as turning cars and opening doors?

      Danger detected, activate some lights and noise to alert driver and biker.

  • Benjamin Nead

    I generally agree that staying out of blind spots in the first place is good advice. The scenario in the video with the bus is one I would certainly would have avoided at all costs, even if I had a light like this. But I have found myself in situations similar to the ones in the video showing the intersecting car and pop-up pedestrian (most whom are texting-while-walking these days.) Those are far more difficult to avoid.

    I don’t ride often at night but I do have a good light. The current crop of affordable Chinese-made LED units, like mine, typically have 3 lighting modes: bright, normal and bright strobe. The bright setting is overkill for street riding and hardly ever used. The normal setting illuminates the street sufficiently and isn’t a distraction to oncoming cars. That’s where it typically stays. The bright strobe setting – only a button click away from normal – is the one I use to suddenly alert cars if I’m entering an intersection and I’m fairly sure they’re about to pull forward from the stop sign to collide with me. Same goes with cars pulling out of driveways. While I happen to be pedaling by.

    Best advice: stay visible and ride defensively. Flashing strobes or forward projecting lasers can help in the visibility department, but aren’t a substitution for avoiding dangerous situations in the first place.

  • MTams

    Major problem is, most accidents occur during the day when these lights are barely visible. It might work for England though, it is gloomy during the day most of the year, and so are the mood of the people causing accidents.

  • In a single word: Brilliant.

    And the added comment that this is so logical, so simple and (apparently) so effective that I’m surprised nobody thought of it sooner. Why didn’t I invent this? 😉

  • Kyle Field

    I can see this working well and meeting a real safety need. I dont see it helping a lot during the day which is unfortunate, but a good start for after hours riders.

  • Mighk Wilson

    Unfortunately the inventors/promoters have a poor understanding of how cyclist/motorist conflicts and crashes actually occur (something I’ve been studying professionally for 20 years). The only real solution is for cyclists to learn how to stay out of the blind spots in the first place. Taking a traffic cycling course like CyclingSavvy ( is the best way to learn.

    • For my passing driver’s license exam, one of the most important criteria was knowing how to observe correctly, use your mirrors and look over your shoulder so no one can hide in a blind spot. But then again, not all exams are equally rigorous around the world.

      The situation in which this is most helpful, is the one where the cyclist has the right of way. You seem to be suggesting those cyclists need to be taught a lesson, as if they are the problem!

      It is always the first responsibility of the driver of a motor vehicle to be responsible for the danger he creates with his large and fast means of transport. To suggest the less well protected road users should be educated in how to avoid the danger is turning the world upside down.

      Finally a question for you:

      When driving on a cycle path along a road, how do you pretend the cyclist has to stay out of the blind spot, when cars are passing by continuously and you never know which one will make a turn (many motorists do not use turn signals, they simply go right or left)?

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