It was only on for a matter of seconds, so you could say that if you blinked you could have missed it, but this is certainly not true of the innovative safety light, designed by Emily Brooke. Featured on BBC1’s The One Show, the BLAZE is a beautifully designed, high-quality bike light that also aims to significantly improve a cyclist’s visibility and safety. It takes cycle lighting to a whole new innovation, as it tackles one of the biggest causes of cycling fatalities – being caught in the blind spot and vehicles turning across an unseen bike.
BLAZE is a front light that works with super-bright LEDs, but it also projects, in a super green bright light, the symbol of a bike down onto the road ahead of the cyclist. It’s adjustable, but ideally about 5m in front. What it does is alert road users ahead of the cyclist of their presence, and therefore helps to prevent them turning across their path (especially the big ones like buses and trucks!). This all goes to make the cyclist much more visible and increasing their footprint on the road.
But is this just a question of another invention too far? Well, not when you consider that in the UK alone, a whopping 79% of cyclists are hit when they’re traveling straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them, largely due to their small footprint and position on the road. And if Tour de France and Olympic Gold medal winner Bradley Wiggins can get hit whilst out cycling, anyone can!
One other common problem is that drivers that are pulling out of a side junction cannot see a cyclist, even if the rider is up close, this is because they can be overlooked due to their position; being tucked in closer to the curb. BLAZE’s flashing symbol ahead of the bike warns drivers (in time) that there’s a cyclist approaching, and stops them pulling out. The same applies to pedestrians, people often don’t hear a cyclist coming and step out in front of the bike, warn them you’re coming through!
The BLAZE uses 1500mAh rechargeable lithium cells (though designers are exploring the use of larger cells) and with the LED light plus the laser module on constant, the current prototypes last up to 6 hours. On flashing mode, they will last up to 12 hours. This means if you’re using your light to commute to work for an hour everyday, you’ll probably need to charge it once a fortnight.
And the BLAZE device is a tiny 110 mm long! Super compact! Its aluminium casing and compact internals give it the reassuring weight of quality, yet still being less than 200g.
BLAZE is also waterproof and is sealed to make sure that all the internal workings stay dry and efficient. You can use both the white light and the green laser independently and both have the option to be flashing. When they are both on flashing mode, it is programmed for them to flash alternately, maximising visibility. The LEDs also have a ‘dim’ mode and it can be used as a torch off the bike.
BLAZE was a concept that founder Emily designed and patented at University in Brighton. She put the concept onto the entrepreneurial site KickStarter, in order to get funding for marketing, and on December 23, she finally achieved the amount required to take her product to industry.
The BLAZE is not on sale at this time of publishing, but you can keep upto date with all Emily’s progress by visiting the website – BlazeComponents.com, or following her on Twitter – @BLAZEfeed