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The Safest Bike Lights in Existence (Thus Far)

by Will Wlizlo


Tags: bike lights, biking, safety, Revolights, Kickstarter, science and technology, Fast Company, Will Wlizlo,

revolightsBicycling through city streets at night entails swerving around pot holes, dodging careless drivers, and crossing your fingers. Bike lights are crucial for any serious urban cyclist, but most products on the market do a poor job of illuminating the asphalt and alerting motorists to the presence of bicycles. Revolights, an innovative Bay Area-based start-up, hopes to, well, revolutionize the world of bike lighting.

Revolights are basically blinking LED bulbs mounted to the front and rear wheel-rims. Like a car, the lights are white in the front and red in the back. What makes them special is a small magnet also installed into the bicycle’s fork, which communicates with the LED system—mostly indicating the bicycle’s speed. As the cyclist accelerates, the lights are programmed to blink in clusters as they reach either the front or back (white and red, respectively). At cruising speed, Revolights’ timing makes an approximately 2-foot-long, solid band of light. (Watch the video below.)

Revolights solve a number of night riding problems. As Fast Company’s Alissa Walker points out, they can help “drivers to understand the full length and size of the vehicle.” Further, “the light doubles as a headlight for the biker improves upon most bike lights which just flash or shine without much assistance to the rider.” These two elements are critical: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2008 report on bicycle safety, 58 percent of reported bicycle accidents are collisions with motor vehicles (70 percent of those on account of inadequate side visibility, the report claims) and 30 percent of accidents are personal falls. In other words, this is an area that is in dire need of innovation. Optimistically, Walker speculates that, “[b]y mimicking the light arrangement on a car, it also might help drivers to see bikes as a car’s equal.”

One downside is the battery life, which is a mere four hours for the front light and a little longer for the rear. But according to the project’s Kickstarter page (funding is still open), they plan to develop Revolights that are powered solely by wheel rotation.

 

Source: Fast Company