This morning, a fellow cyclist I see almost every year at the NTU Bike Rally, send me this news release about BLAZE, a light projection devise to alert drivers about your presence in congested cities, especially those who might not see you when pulling into your lane. Emily Brooke of University of Brighton suggested,
"Even when lit up like a Christmas tree a bicycle in a bus's blind-spot is still invisible."
- Lighting the way." University of Brighton News and Events, 01 Jun 2011.
This reminded me of something I came across a few months ago. It projects a lane definition to the rear of a bike possibly for use with night rides. Designed in Singapore, it's called Laser Lite Lane
Would you use any of these? I guess we'd have to see this in action or try it first. Green Idea Factory, however, is quick to argue against these, with a cautionary post last year: "Don't believe the Hyper-illumination".
Certainly adequate, blinking illumination should be a requirement for all cyclists on the road and I hardly think BLAZE will be the solution to city traffic collision woes.
I am not a cycle to work guy, so I avoid peak hours and practise defensive riding - origins I credit to the theory lessons for my motorcycle 2B license by some very experienced ex-traffic cops in the late 80's.
This is important because cyclists in Singapore are in no man's land in public roads - we are in a "ride at our own risk" situation. So I ride like a prey species, am unlikely to battle for a lane with a larger vehicle and am alert to pre-empt interactions. I watch motorists like a hawk, am situationally aware and happy to compromise speed for safety in an instant, even choosing alternative and longer routes to avoid messy spots.
Cycling in dense urban traffic has its own joy and requires specific bursts of acceleration, clear and early indication of intention, steady riding and confluent with the flow of traffic, complete attention and alertness. One indication of success - cars aren't honking you. But I've pretty much given that up these days. I like the PCNs and smell of fresh air too much.