Everyday cyclists come into harms way on our roads. While the traditional safety kit such as a helmet, bright clothing and lights are a big help there are new innovations designed to make cycling even safer.
I'm always on the lookout for new technology that can reduce the chances of cycling accidents. Here are some of the best cycling safety tech I have found.
Ever experienced an aggressive driver while your riding and wished you'd caught the drivers number plate? Riding on the roads of Brisbane I tend to find it doesn't take long until you get an inpatient or inconsiderate driver who passes you to close. I've had a few incidents where drivers have come close intentionally while revving and swerving to the point their wing mirrors almost hit my handlebars. On these occasions my initial reaction is to try to stay on my bike. Having got my balance back the drivers have normally driven on and it's too late to get their details.
This is where a new bike light called Fly6 comes in. The Fly6 is a rear LED bike light with a built-in HD camera that records everything on your ride. Developed right here in Australia by Kingsley Fiegert and Andrew Hageh the light is currently being funded via Kickstarter. From the test videos shown on their Youtube channel the wide-angle lens seems to be very good at picking up cars and other road users as they approach.
While providing evidence of an incident if something did happen would be handy the main aim of the Fly6 is actually to change drivers behaviour by making them aware that they are being recorded. A set of white lights around the camera lens create a spinning effect designed to alert drivers and road users they are being recorded. The idea is that drivers will then be more cautious around you as they know they are on camera. It's a great concept although I'd be keen to try one out and see if I notice a difference in drivers behaviour. I wonder if many drivers would not pay enough attention to spot the camera lens and would just think it was a normal bike light. If we get our hands on one I will test it out and report back.
Update (May 2018) - Cyclic have updated the Fly6 a couple of times since this article was written and also now offer a front light, the Fly12. The updated Fly6 and 12 are both shown the in the video we've added above.
The Blaze light is an innovative product coming out of the UK and starting to ship worldwide this month (Feb 2014) designed to reduce the risk of driver blind spots causing cycling accidents by projecting a laser image of a bike onto the road ahead of the cyclist.
In the UK there are a shocking 3,000 cyclists a year killed or seriously injured. According to a recent UK study 79% of cycling accidents involve the a vehicle turning into the path of a cyclist who is going straight ahead. 2013 saw a number of horrific incidents on London roads involving buses and large vehicles turning into the path of cyclists they had not noticed.
At around $200 the light is certainly not cheap but it does have the potential to increase your safety if riding after dark. I like the use of a clear cycling icon onto the road. As this icon is likely to be seen by drivers before they see the bike it needs to be something obvious. Even though most drivers would be unaware of this device it would make them think before turning into it's path.
Last year I wrote an article on laser light tech by Audi which projects the safe distance for following cars at the rear of the car. I'd love to see Blaze create a rear light that clearly marked out a safe passing zone for drivers.
Update (May 2018) - Latest version is 125 GBP via the brands online store and ships free worldwide. The brand has recently been renamed to Beryl.
Cycling gloves with indicators. This is what VentureBeat is calling "the greatest gift to cyclists since the helmet". That's a pretty big call in my mind but I do think these gloves are a great idea. I've often thought it would be good to have indicators on a bike but wondered how you might achieve this without it being too much hard work (compared to sticking your arm out).
Zackees are designed to enhance the traditional arm signals of cyclists through cycling gloves with built it high visibility LED lights in an arrow formation. To activate your lights you just bring your thumb and index together to connect the metal contact switch. While the two contacts are touching the lights in that glove will flash.
I like the fact that these can be worn and seen during the day and night and double as stylish cycling gloves. The founder of Zackees is Zach Vorhies an ex-Google software engineer who quit Google to focus on these gloves. You can pre-order the gloves now for $75 USD (plus a small shipping fee outside the US).
Update (May 2018) - The Gen 2 version of the gloves is now selling and priced at $55 USD.
This is one of my favourites in terms of looks and functionality and Men's Journal is calling it 'the best bike lighting system in the world'.
Revolights serve as front and rear lights for bike but don't use the traditional handlebar and rear seat post set up used by most other lights. The lights are made up of a series of LED lights fitted to your wheels. Speed sensors are used to create an arc of light on each wheel.
I think there is little doubt that these are the coolest looking bike lights I have seen on the market to date but there are two safety aspects that set it apart for me. Firstly, Revolights offer a huge increase in side visibility compared to traditional lights. I'd feel safer knowing I can be seen more easily from the side. The other is the brake light functionality on the rear light. As you brake the lights detect the drop in speed and light up
The pricing is not cheap at close to $200 for a full set or $109 for the rear lights with brake light functionality. There are reports that the installation process can take a while as is quite fiddly. To overcome this you can buy entire wheels but that gets even more expensive. If I end up buying these I'll probably start with the rear only as the brake light functionality seems to offer the best safety feature.
Update (May 2018) - There are now a range of lights available online with world-wide shipping priced from $149 to $249 USD for a full set. The lights have been redesigned and are now much easier to fit than the original version which is a welcome change.
Tell us what you think of these bike lights. Would you buy them? Do you own one or have you discovered something even cooler? Let us know in the comments below.