Young scientists blaze bike invention to alert drivers
A YOUNG inventor has devised a potentially life-saving bike light which beams a laser image of a bicycle on to the road ahead to alert motorists of their presence.
University of Brighton graduate Emily Brooke, 27, hopes her invention, called Blaze, will help cut the number of cycling deaths on Britain's roads.
Her small device is battery-operated and projects a bright green image of a bicycle from a bike's handlebars by about five metres to help eliminate blind spots.
The product, which has been launched to the public following two years of development and currently costs £60, operates either in flashing or constant modes.
Miss Brooke, from Bath, Somerset, worked with Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove Bus Company, road safety experts and driving psychologists to develop the device.
She said today: "Three years ago I had never been on a road bike. To raise money for charity, I decided to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats.
"That challenge set me on the path to becoming a cycle nut. At the time I was studying product design and for my final year project I chose urban cycling.
"As part of the project, I studied the statistics for cycling accidents. And as I cycled around Brighton I thought to myself that 'that bus or van over there can't see me'.
"I thought how could I project myself in a way that a driver could see me, and came up with this."
The number of pedal cyclists killed on the roads last year was 107, down from 111 in 2010, according to a Department for Transport document released in the summer. Pedal cyclist serious injuries were up 16% and total pedal cycle casualties rose 12%.
Miss Brooke, who graduated last year, won a place on an entrepreneurial scholarship at Babson College, Massachusetts, after being nominated by Beepurple, the University of Brighton's enterprise network.
Her course leader in Brighton, Richard Morris, principal lecturer in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: "It takes great drive to do this so Emily is an inspiration for all budding student entrepreneurs.
"Blaze is a great product too, with the potential to save many lives, so we will continue to give Emily our best wishes and to support her endeavours."