Roughly 3,000 cyclists are killed or injured on Britain’s roads each year. Their greatest danger? The classic “blind spot” scenario. Their greatest defense? The innovative, new BLAZE Laserlight, a reimagined bicycle light, invented and patented by physicist turned designer turned bicyclist turned entrepreneur Emily Brooke, a Woman You Should Know.
At it’s core, BLAZE is a front bike light with super-bright LEDs. But what makes it unique is a safety feature, which Emily calls “built-in intelligence” and we liken to a cyclist “super power”. Much like how reserved physicist Bruce Banner turns green and into the superhuman Hulk when things get tense, the WYSKy physicist’s buttoned-up bike light becomes a badass, green Laserlight when vehicles get a little too close for a cyclist’s comfort, jeopardizing their safety.
In its high alert, green-state, the Laserlight projects the image of a bike down onto the road, about 16 feet in front of the cyclist. Emily designed it as a way to alert drivers of an approaching cyclist, before she or he even comes into view, making the cyclist less vulnerable to a driver’s “blind spot”. This visual “hey dude… I’m coming up on your right (or left)” warning helps prevent drivers from turning into an unseen cyclist’s path.
The 28 year old inventor calls her BLAZE Laserlight, “A very simple idea for a very big problem.” According to the statistics she quotes, 79% of cyclists in the UK are hit when they’re traveling straight ahead and a vehicle turns into them – the classic “blind spot” accident. BLAZE is her potentially lifesaving solution, which is why we’ve dubbed her “the guardian angel of urban cyclists”.
The way she came to develop this gadget of self-preservation is as impressive as the Laserlight itself. Art and design had always been Emily’s passions, but a knack for math and science led her first to Oxford University’s Physics Department. After a year of perfecting her abstract thinking skills, she finally gave in and pursued Product Design in University at Brighton. It was a long bike ride for charity that changed Emily’s life.
That one ride sparked an intense passion for biking, which became the impetus for her final project at Brighton. She focused on “Urban Cycling”, looking at the challenges facing city cyclists. That’s when she came up with the idea for her Laserlight.
To develop the concept, Emily worked with Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, road safety experts and driving psychologists. The excitement it generated triggered her to start her own company. And the rest, as they say, is history for the now Founder and CEO of BLAZE.
Emily’s BLAZE Laserlight retails for $200 U.S. (a small price to pay for your personal safety… maybe even your life) and just started shipping free worldwide this month.
As the BLAZE site explains… because the human eye is most receptive to light of that wavelength. Luckily, it also takes relatively little energy to generate green light, resulting in the Laserlight’s impressive run times – 13 hours with light and laser both flashing (it’s also rechargeable, USB compatible and 100% waterproof). What’s more, blue light is reserved for use by the emergency services, and red light can only be projected backwards to avoid confusion on the roads.
While all that’s really cool and interesting, we still favor our Hulk theory. Emily has gotta be a Bruce Banner fan.