After a successful pilot project, Blaze's Laserlight, a safety device for urban cyclists, is to be rolled out and fitted across London's entire cycle hire fleet this winter. Though with a planned completion of July 2017, it’s a shame the scheme couldn’t be finished in time for the end of British Summer Time this weekend (29/30 October).
(This article was updated on 24 October, 2017)
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Santander Bank, which sponsors the London cycle hire scheme, says its research suggests nearly half (48%) of those cyclists who plan to ride less in winter are doing so because they’re worried about being visible at night.
Step forwards the Laserlight, which projects an image of a bicycle onto the road six metres ahead of the cyclist using a green direct-diode laser, alerting drivers ahead on the road or at junctions to the presence of a cyclist. The units are waterproof and built to withstand vibration and heat fluctuations, and are also eye-safe so there's no worry about causing damage if you do flash someone in the face — though we'd certainly recommend you don't.
A trial of the Blaze Laserlight was conducted in 2015 and it's based on the success of this initial test that the lights are being rolled out across the entire fleet.
Emily Brooke, CEO & founder of Blaze, says that her company has been shipping the consumer version of Laserlight for over two years now, to more than 60 countries. “This incredible partnership immediately takes things to the next level and will make thousands of cyclists more visible and safer on our roads. The stats speak for themselves — independent research from the TRL [Transport Research Laboratory] showed a Laserlight decreases the blind spot around an HGV by over 25%.”
To celebrate the roll-out, Santander ambassadors Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jenson Button launched ‘The Blaze Witch Project,’ a Halloween themed film — take a look above to watch it.
Santander Cycles' London hire fleet is 11,500-strong and the machines are colloquially known as 'Boris bikes', after the incumbent mayor of London Boris Johnson, but are currently sponsored by the Santander banking group.
Blaze recently expanded its product line with the Blaze Burner, an LED rear light consisting of 24 LEDs pumping out 100 lumens of light with magnetic charging, a feature also present on the Laserlight.