Thursday, July 28, 2011

I am enthusiastic about being brightly lit, to increase my visibility and lowering risk of an accident and write about this a year ago in "How brightly lit are you? Tail lights and other stories"

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.
News and events - University of Brighton

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

Introduce to Laser Light 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.


danny said...

What a great post. This is a great resource for cyclists. If you are interested in more road safety tips and cycling, visit

Unknown said...

My group of classmates are also researching on this conflict between Singaporean motorists and cyclists as part of our project. In my opinion hyper-illumination may not work so well here since drivers drive at speeds that tend to make such lighting hard to notice at all...

We're exploring on other ways to reduce cyclist-motorist accident rates here, and would gladly appreciate if you could take this quick survey for us:

Help us to spread this link around too! :)

Back2Nature said...

@btcprox but your survey is for motorists who are not the main reader population of this blog although many cyclists drive.

It would be good to also survey cyclists.

Unknown said...

@Back2Nature we've already conducting another survey and interview with cyclists, so we've got that covered ;)

And we've also posted this survey link on other sites, not just those related to cycling only, so we do still reach out to many motorists...

Anonymous said...

You need better lights. After putting 2000 lumens of flashing lights on the front and 2 x 3watt flashing lights on the back there is a noticeable difference in the way cars give way to me. Before I had some AA powered blinkies which seemed pretty bright, but now I can see the flashing reflection from signs 100s of metres away and my taillights are visible from hundreds of metres in bright daylight. Cars just stop dead - most probably blinded by the light.

Its much, much safer. Of course some drivers couldn't care less and just attempt to ram or intimidate me - but what else can you expect? For those drivers who actually drive ok, the added visibility is a big bonus.