If safety and visibility when riding are important to you – as it damn well should be – then this new light from British company Brightside is worth a look. Aimed at commuter and road cyclists, it's designed to increase side-on visibility when on the road.
The product packaging says Brightside is a bike light that's 'bright, amber and sideways', and that pretty much sums it up. A cylindrical bike light with LEDs at each end, it shines amber, like a car indicator, with either a steady or flashing beam.
The Brightside light is the creation of Aidan Gribbin, and the concept came to him from an slightly unusual angle. "I had the idea after nearly hitting a cyclist on a roundabout as he passed in front of my car" he said. "As his front light was pointed away from me, there was nothing on the side of his bike "shouting" for my attention and it took my headlights to find him again by which time it was nearly too late. That split second of not being able to see him was all it would have taken."
Brightside quotes some interesting statistics. "With over 70% of accidents happen at junction and roundabouts, having a light at just the front and back of one's bike leaves 72% of the cyclist unlit."
Launched in the UK, the company sell online and ship internationally
Brightside is Gribbin's first foray into the world of product design, though he points out that his background in wood-turning and car restoration gave him the engineering and design basis to develop the size and shape of the product he wanted. "The first lights and prototypes were made on my wood lathe using some parts from other lights. I also used 3D print for the final models. Finding a manufacturer to make it was the hardest part and networking through friends helped make contact with a factory in China, where I visited in November."
Although only recently launched, Gribbin told us the response to his product has been strong. "We are sending lights out every day to clients all over the world, about 25% of which to the US. Once the first Brightside light is off the ground there are a few other products that we'll be listing (not all light related) and there are other Brightside lights that are in the final design stages at the moment that we are hoping to release in time for autumn," he said.
Simple fitting and operation
The cylindrical Brightside light is based on two amber side-facing Cree LED bulbs, and attaches via a pop-on plastic bracket that fits around the cylindrical body of the light, and a stretchy rubber strap that fits it into place. No tools are needed. There's a lot of stretch in the strap so the light should fit most frames, and while the imagery associated with the product has it fixed below the top tube, you could also attach it elsewhere on the bike.
The Brightside bike light has a simple one-button control that powers it on and off, and also rotates the light through its various flashing modes. Both sides of the light are controlled by the single button, and can't be programmed independently. The lithium ion battery-powered unit is USB rechargeable, comes with a short USB to micro-USB charging cable, and Brightside claim a 20 hour run-time.
Brightside says the light is water resistant and bright enough to provide up to 500m visibility. It retails online at £34.99 and the firm will ship internationally.
The light is controlled with a single power and settings button, which also indicates battery power levels using green and red lights
While additional visibility, particularly on areas of the bike where there are dark spots, certainly seems like a great idea, we do still have a few concerns.
When the amber light is on the flashing settings, it's reminiscent of a car indicator light so has the potential to confuse motorists who might interpret it as a signal the vehicle in question is planning on turning. This is a question Gribbin has encountered before. "There were discussions between customers at the NEC Cycle Show about the colour of the light. The outcome was that it couldn't be any other colour and that job of the light was to get the cyclist noticed by drivers." he commented to BikeRadar. "It doesn't flash like a car indicator but is the correct colour for a warning light and is recognised the world over."
There are a few other products that also deal with the issue of lateral visibility and visibility at junctions, including the Blaze Laser Light which projects an image of a cyclist on the road ahead to forewarn other road users of their approach.
Would you use a Brightside side light? Do you think it's a brilliant idea? Do you have any other questions about the product? Let us know in the comments below.