The new Blaze bike light has been designed to protect you

Faint bike light next to cars

Picture the scene. You are a bus driver in London and you want to turn left. You glance around and it looks clear. As you start to make your turn you spot a flashing green light with a symbol of a cyclist on the ground. You look in your mirror and see the cyclist coming.

That’s the thinking behind a new bike light called Blaze, that has just been successfully funded  for over £25,000 on Kickstarter. Is it worth the money? 416 backers seem to think so.

Cyclist with blaze bike light

Rather than regurgitate the Kickstarter page for you, I wanted to take a look with my own eyes. I met with Emily and William in an area than must have the most hotels in London and got a first glance.

The buzz word “revolutionary” is thrown around a lot, particularly by Boris Johnson, but the Blaze really is revolutionary. There are hundreds of bike lights out there, yet, none of the engineers have thought about attaching a laser that projects a symbol of a cyclist. The closest thing is the laser lane rear bike light.

Of course the innovations don’t stop there. The Blaze can also sense when it is not attached to your bike and will turn the laser off. This is a useful safety feature.

For someone accustomed to riding with tiny bike lights, the Blaze looks rather large. However, this shouldn’t be an issue in most scenarios, and I’m sure most cyclists would prefer a larger bike light, if it meant better visibility.

The Blaze can be used as a standard bike light. A separate button activates the laser. You can also choose whether it should be flashing. This helps draw further attention.

Blaze bike light attached to handlebars

The light currently lacks in USB charging capabilities. Fortunately, according to Emily, this was the most requested feature and will be included in the first 300 that are shipped out to Kickstarter funders.

Will the Blaze bike light actually keep you safe?

That’s the million dollar question. 

The Blaze certainly greatly improves visibility. The laser is bright and vivid. It remains visible even as car headlights shine on the location the light is pointing. At a glance, it instantly draws your attention.

Buses have large windows providing good viewing angles. This is less so on a Heavy Goods Vehicle, where the position of the drivers cabin, results in huge blind spots. This is why over 50% of fatal incidents involve a cyclist not been seen by a HGV driver.

As a HGV driver glances, there’s a chance they’ll spot the light on the road ahead, as long as you have it pointing far enough in front. According to the Kickstarter page, the Blaze is best positioned so that it shines 5 metres ahead of your bike.

It still greatly depends on the attentiveness of the driver.

It’s also most useful during the winter, when we have less daylight hours. During the daytime, it becomes much harder to see the laser projection.

If you’d like to be one of the first people to get hold of a Blaze bike light, you can do so for the next 20 days on their Kickstarter page. In the next 6 to 12 months, it should also make its way in to bike shops.

Overall, the Blaze bike light is a welcome innovation and I’m excited to see it more widely used and tested.

Blaze bike light symbol shining on the road

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19 Responses to The new Blaze bike light has been designed to protect you

  1. Tom 03/12/2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Hmm… might be a bit distracting for drivers they’re morel likely to be wondering what the green thing on the road in front of them is, unless they knew about this light as without knowing about the product there’s nothing to tell people that it means there’s a cyclist coming along a few metres behind.

  2. Kellyman17 03/12/2012 at 7:20 pm #

    while i like the idea, i have to agree with tom that it may be a little distracting for drivers, and i dont think that using green is particularly good idea,if a driver sees the green glare on the road and thinks that means the lights are on green, they could drive straight into oncoming traffic.

  3. Helen 03/12/2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Seems superficially appealing but I’m not sure about it. Will drivers know what it means? And if they start to, will they expect all cyclists to have one? It’s putting more emphasis on cyclists to be seen and not enough on drivers to look.

    I think if you already have a good light set, this might just be over the top. That, and sort out your road positioning so that you don’t sit in drivers’ blindspots. Of course, that doesn’t help when drivers overtake, stop, and forget you’re behind them, you just have to anticipate that, and assume that they’re stupid.

  4. Toria 03/12/2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Sorry if I missed it but how much?

  5. Ray 03/12/2012 at 9:53 pm #

    They mean well, but, this is pointless. For the same reasons as above. As well, it will distract other cyclists. I’d be more than annoyed to have a green little laser man hovering around my feet. I.e. what happens in congested scenarios when there are many bikes in front of you. What if the group of cyclists in front of you have chrome/reflective racks/fenders etc? Can this reflect off into drivers and cyclist faces? Is it legal? Here in Tokyo where it can get very congested I just don’t see it working.

  6. Eve 04/12/2012 at 3:00 am #

    Nice idea, but a bit pointless, just like the laser rear light bike line – there are reviews of it that suggest that it actually can’t be seen from a car as it’s not in the drivers’ line of vision. Has the Blaze been tested to check if it can be seen from a car? Buses and cars don’t stop pedestrians from stepping into the road, so I don’t believe the Blaze would either (especially if they’re not paying attention).
    I also think it might give cyclists a false sense of security (‘I have a Blaze so they see me’/ same as high vis/reflectives) instead of reading the road correctly – if a bus/lorry/car is indicating left (as it would if it was to turn) as a cyclist you shouldn’t undertake it.

  7. Jason 04/12/2012 at 11:32 am #

    I gotta be honest I cant see the point of this at all.

    Even in the photos (especially the top 2) the light logo is just a splodge and I just don’t think it’ll work – apart from the one scenario you mentioned with the lorry driver looking down while stopped at the lights and seeing this…but even then I’d say that idea has a major flaw – what if the lorry driver doesn’t look down and understand what it represents? And why has the cyclist positioned themselves in a lorry blind spot anyhow? (yeah the lorry might have pulled up after the cyclist but if they didn’t already notice the cyclist then they aint gonna notice a small green splodge on the road)

    Nice idea, but a bit of a gimmick from what what I can see.

  8. Gizmo 05/12/2012 at 11:00 am #

    I’m not sold. A tiny little blob of green light doesn’t say cyclist to me, and I’m sorry but if bus drivers are not looking into their blind spot or using their inside mirror then they’re still not going to see the cyclist who shouldn’t be there in the first place.

    My solution appears to be working well – touch wood – a big-ass Magicshine (clone) stomping out a huge amount of light. From a distance I look like a moped – in fact I think it’s brighter than most scooters’ headlights.

  9. Skippy 05/12/2012 at 5:58 pm #

    How come later comments are in BUT mine is still listed as ” waiting Mod ?

    Saw you on Sky News ( ? ) today , tuesday !

    Thought you were reluctant to remind the Drivers that this GBP 1Billion is ONLY 2% and that the TFL are trying to get % of Cyclists up from 7%( ? ) to 20% + !

    Clearly the public looking at you will walk away with the impression that you are a ” fringe dweller ” rather than ” one of them ” ? Could it be that a cleaner appearance with a Helmet , safety glasses and Hi Vis on the table with you , would remind them of what a Cyclist needs to stay safe on the roads ?

    TV chooses to highlight the things that suit their ” Agenda ” so we Cyclists struggle to get a fair portrayal of our difficulties !

    The Female Presenter of Sky Sport , later in the morning , was asked if she had anything to say about Cycle Sport and declined , moving to Cricket . Earlier in the day a TV News item covered Greg LeMond’s POV on the UCI , seems this was not news worthy for that Lady ?

    Perhaps you can advise your New Readers that ” Changecyclingnow.org ” has a petition on the go , Cycling Fans would enjoy reading of what this Group are trying to do for the Future of Cycle Racing .

    On a personal note , i feel that NOTHING is going tto change and the following petitions demonstrate the apathy that exists :

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wada-create-an-amnesty-in-all-sports
    &
    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/office-of-the-governor-general-of-australia-create-the-means-for-a-sports-amnesty-in-australia#invite

    ACTION NOW PLEASE !!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    • Andreas 07/12/2012 at 9:27 am #

      Hey Skippy – all comments with more than 1 link in them are held in the moderation queue. This is to prevent spamming. Nothing personal!

  10. Dom M 07/12/2012 at 10:26 am #

    The Blaze isn’t going to keep you safe on its own. Of course, it needs to be used alongside sensible road positioning and common sense.

    I ordered one on Kickstarter last week since I like the idea of supporting people who are coming up with interesting cycling ideas and because you can never have enough decent normal lights even if the laser isn’t all that’s promised.

    At junctions where there are lots of cyclists, people might choose to turn the laser off. The idea is to help at points where drivers may not see you – and if there’s a peloton waiting at the lights, you’re probably safe enough. There are a few points on my commute though where the roads are darker and lots of cars pull out of junctions or pedestrians through cars. I’m hoping that the green laser (however clear the bike symbol is) might at least make people stop and wonder what it is and take a second look. We’ll see.

    Here’s to continued innovation though!

  11. Big Softy 07/12/2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Judging from the comments, I think the consensus from riders is in.
    Sorry mate I didn’t see you because I was looking at that green light on the road.
    Nice idea Emily, but not too well thought out.

  12. Big Softy 07/12/2012 at 5:30 pm #

    And is there any reason why all these laser light promo photos all appear to be shot on wet roads?

  13. Paul 07/12/2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I already commented on another laser – not approved for use – so technically in a grey area of legality – is this one approved then? I think my last comment was ignored – but I know you are busy so shall not take it personally if this one is also.

  14. Steve 07/12/2012 at 10:32 pm #

    It needs to serve as a light at night which it does not, it needs to work in daylight when most cyclists are on the road, which it does not, it needs to fit easy on already crowded handlebars (and work efficiently yalongside the other lights that would be needed to see properly at night) which I doubt it will, if it were on dragon’s den I think they would say, don’t invest any more money into this one, it won’t take off.

  15. Colin Best 08/12/2012 at 4:33 am #

    The light looks great, I do agree with most of the comments but firstly we should wear reflective bibs or jackets and helmet should be advised.I note the cyclist in first picture was just a dark figure on a bike . We need to ensure we are ready for the words I could not see you and you were not wearing reflective wear.Our last sprint time trial at dusk a motor head said to me are you one of the marshal’s I said why he said those cyclists wear all over the road !! So he was not !! I accepted they might be further out than normal but the were doing 30 mph or more down hill. He kept going on about this and that and then he said they had no lights well it was not lighting up time ! then he said they wear in black well I agree some wear in dark tops. He was late for Tea if your late your late.He was a local man who lives in the Village we meet up in I would say he had a bad day and we were his outlet of all his anger. I will recommend bibs and safety motor bike at rear next year.

  16. Paul 09/12/2012 at 5:19 am #

    Further to my earlier coment;

    here is what I said abotu the lane marking laser:

    http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/laser-lane-courtesy-richardsons/comment-page-7/#comment-83870

    I have reservations abotu these lights – just suppose you fall off for some reason or the light is maladjusted and the laser catches a driver in the eye? Would they be so affected as to possibly ause and accident? I realise it says RoHS cert, but is that the relevant one? Doesn’t it need some sort of highways approval?

    Be interested to hear what folks (or Andreas) have to say on this!

  17. Nick 06/12/2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Scattered laser light and particularly reflections off a wet surface may enter the eyes of drivers, having the opposite effect of keeping cyclists safe. I am surprised that this method of lighting is even being considered for road use.

  18. andy 13/01/2014 at 7:00 pm #

    i think it is a great idea, but as usual all cyclists want to do is moan about motorists, okey heres another idea – keep on the right hand side of moving vehicles ! hey just a thought ?

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