London’s Santander Cycles are getting safer and more sophisticated. You may have noticed a new feature appearing on some of the bikes recently. The feature, which uses laser technology is already beginning to be rolled out and will improve the visibility of cyclists across the capital. The ‘Blaze Laserlight’ will improve London bicycle users’ safety significantly, lighting the cyclist’s path with a bright green laser projection of a bicycle image. By summer 2017, the Laserlight will be fitted to all 11,500 Santander bikes in the city. The new feature is getting a lot of praise, including from Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill who is a well known face of the Santander brand. It is likely to cut the large number of bicycle-related injuries and fatalities on London roads, with over seventy deaths last year alone.
The designer of the light is Londoner Emily Brooke who is herself a keen cyclist. Her idea was spotted by Santander, who currently sponsor the cycle scheme, after she grew traction during a Kickstarter campaign. Emily has designed it so that it fits to the bike and points to the ground, meaning whichever way you turn the bike, the laser will point, meaning it will always be one step ahead of you. Additionally the light can be seen from nearly all angles, which is a great benefit to those in larger vehicles which have the biggest blind spots. The lights are environmentally friendly, using kinetic energy. The projected image appears as the cyclist uses their pedals.
Although it is too soon to provide an in-depth analysis on the success of the new technology, initial reports suggest it has already given a form of reassurance to both cyclists and drivers.
Jessica Ennis-Hill using the new laser technology (Image Source: https://tfl.gov.uk/)
If you’re feeling inspired but the bikes in your area have yet to be fitted with one of these lights then, in the meantime, hop on an exercise bike and listen to this:
This piece is also published at www.london360.org/author/josepha