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University of Brighton Senior ‘Blazes’ Bike Trail

Photonics.com
Jun 2011
EAST SUSSEX, England, June 16, 2011 — A laser image of a bicycle can now be projected onto the road ahead of bicyclists to alert oncoming traffic of their presence.

"I wanted to tackle the issue of safety of cyclists on city streets by increasing the visibility, footprint and, ultimately, the awareness of the bicycle," said Emily Brooke, inventor of "Blaze" and a University of Brighton student.


Blaze in action. (Image: University of Brighton/Emily Brooke)

Blaze is a small, battery-powered device that can be attached to the handlebars of bicycles, motorcycles or scooters. It projects a bright green bicycle symbol, which travels ahead of the cyclist, alerting others to its presence. It has the option to be flashing, maximizing perception, and the image is visible even in daylight.

"Eighty percent of cycle accidents occur when bicycles travel straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them. The most common contributory factor is 'failed to look properly' on the part of a vehicle driver," Brooke said. "The evidence shows the bike simply is not seen on city streets.

"Even when lit up like a Christmas tree, a bicycle in a bus's blind spot is still invisible. With Blaze, you see the bike before the cyclist, and I believe this could really make a difference in the key scenarios threatening cyclists' lives on the roads," she said.

Brooke worked with road safety experts, the Brighton & Hove City Council, the Brighton & Hove Bus Co. and driving psychologists in developing Blaze, an idea that has won her international recognition.

Brooke has been shortlisted for an Enterprise Award and is one of only three UK students to attend a paid-for course at Babson College in the Babson Park section of Wellesley, Mass., where she will work on developing the product. She was nominated by Beepurple, the University of Brighton's enterprise network.

For more information, visit: www.brighton.ac.uk  


GLOSSARY
blaze
1. A plane that forms one side of the groove ruled on a diffraction grating. 2. To form the individual grooves of a grating with flat smooth faces, inclined to the surface by an angle known as the groove angle. In this way, spectral energy may be concentrated into one angular region.
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