I saw these 2 new concepts for bike lighting and had to share them. Lighting is the biggest component of bicycle safety in low visibility or nighttime conditions. There is nothing worse than turning your lights and the batteries are dead. This fear typically makes riders pack additional batteries, reflectors, or they just take their chances and ride. These systems are on the wheels and automatically are generating power and make the bike and the roadway visible.
The first is Revolights. Revolights consist of 2 thin profile LED rings (white in front, red in back) that mount directly to each wheel rim (just below the brake calipers) using a series of rim specific clips. Power is supplied via a thin wire to the hub where a lightweight and slim, USB rechargeable polymer lithium-ion battery is held in a special bracket. A small magnet is secured to the fork to provide speed and orientation information to the rings.
They are on prototype design version 4. V4 currently demonstrates all of the critical functions: it is simple to install, does not interfere with the ride, and is fully functioning. But further design elements need to be tested to get it to a production ready status; i.e. to a place where it can be used by everyone. This involves construction of a 5th, possibly 6th, prototype version in quantities that will allow testers to assure the lights are ready for prime time.
On the road, bike lights contribute to rider safety in two ways:
1) lighting - allows riders to safely navigate at night by illuminating their forward path.
2) sighting - increases the rider's front, back, and side visibility which signals their presence (i.e. i am a bike) and location to those sharing the road.
In 2008: The two most frequent causes for the 52,000 reported bicycle accidents are collisions with motor vehicles (58%) and individual falls (30%). Of the 716 reported fatalities, 69% occurred in urban areas and 39% were between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight. Nearly 70% of all nighttime Bicycle-Car collisions are due to inadequate side visibility.
Gizmag has additional pics and info. The Revolights inventor and two partners are trying to raise money to take the idea to market via Kickstarter. As of this writing, he has more than $26,000 pledged toward a $43,500 goal. Who wants one? $220 is the expected price.
Project Aura: Bicycle Safety Lighting System from Project AURA on Vimeo.
The second light of note is the Aura system. Again, if you're tired of regular bike lights, check out these two ideas for illuminating your bike on the road, via the rims. Not only do they look cool, they allow you to be seen from the side, instead of just the front and back with traditional bike lights. Safe and sharp at the same time.
According to Gizmag: Aura comes from two industrial design sophomores at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, using six groups of three tri-color LEDs powered by a dynamo generator. The design won an international Core77 award for helping address the issue of nightime bicycling accidents.
An increase in bicycle lighting and sighting has the potential to reduce rider injuries and fatalities. It's time to provide rider's with a single bike light solution that allows them to safely experience the joy of riding, regardless of the time of day.