Overall, cycling is a healthy choice, even potentially extending lifespans, but it’s not without its risks, especially in the U.S., where cities aren’t always designed for cyclist safety. Each year, hundreds of cyclists are killed on American roadways (though bike-shares, it turns out, are very safe). And in Europe, despite cities like Amsterdam that are cycling havens, about 2000 cyclists die on the road every year [PDF].
A Swiss cycling safety startup called Velohub wants to make urban cycling a little less risky by making cyclists more visible. Blinkers, a new bike light launched on Kickstarter, includes signals for both turning and braking.
Its creators write:
As cyclists, we find ourselves in many risky situations while riding in the city. Other vehicles don’t respect our space, or don’t understand our intentions, and we feel it’s unfair that we are not seen as a natural part of the road. We are not able to speak the same language as the other vehicles we share the road with (when we are braking or turning), and this makes us vulnerable.
The company is developing bike lights for both the front and rear of the bicycle that blink in the direction the rider plans to turn, controlled by a remote attached to your handlebars. The Blinkers also include a safety perimeter light that creates a light-up bike lane, warning vehicles not to get too close, much like the laser lights planned for London’s bike share cycles.
Velohub is still working on the technology, and the rear light and front light combo—which costs about $100—won’t be shipping until approximately February of next year. While better bike lights certainly can’t prevent injuries on the same rate that say, installing bike lanes or reducing traffic speed would (protected lanes have been found to reduce cycling injuries by as much as 90 percent), they’re certainly a good move for riding around in cities that don't have good bike lane networks.
All images courtesy Velohub via Kickstarter