Bike symbol lights aim to cut cycling accidents

New Brainy Bike Lights use bike symbol to enable fast and accurate identification of cyclists

by Mat Brett   April 7, 2014  

Brainy 2

A cyclist has combined LED lighting technology with brain science to create Brainy Bike Lights, which use a bike symbol instead of plain lights.

According to Brainy Bike Lights, “Testing and research conducted by the University of Oxford suggest the new bike symbol lights could create significantly better cyclist standout than anything currently available because they enable quicker and more accurate identification of cyclists by drivers.”

Brainy Bike Lights consist of a pair of front (white) and rear (red) lights. The idea is that they create fast cyclist recognition and clear stand out because the brain detects and interprets the bike symbols more quickly than standard lights.

Inventor Crawford Hollingworth says that the lights project a clear symbol that’s clear from all angles at up to 20 metres distance in daylight or darkness. He claims that original research on the bike symbol lights proves they can be quickly and accurately identified even at a distance and work effectively even in adverse conditions.

Professor Charles Spence at the Experimental Psychology Lab at the University of Oxford, where the tests were carried out, believes this bike symbol light could make a major contribution to cyclist road safety, and that the test results demonstrated the superiority of Brainy Bike Lights over traditional bike lights in terms of a driver’s response in detecting and discriminating the presence of a cyclist.

Go to the Brainy Bike Lights website for more info on the testing.

The theory is that because our brains interpret symbols rapidly, within 0.001 of a second of seeing something we make a decision about what it is and how to respond .

Brainy Bike Lights say the research demonstrated that since drivers will be able to identify cyclists on the road more quickly, they would also be able stop significantly more quickly, should they need to.

Although the front and rear lights in flashing mode conform with road vehicle lighting regulations, Brainy Bike Lights say they should be used together with a BS 6102/3 approved light.

The lights weight 122g each and run from four AA batteries with a life of up to 50hrs (front) and 200hrs (rear) in flashing mode. The other options are intense flashing, static and intense static modes. They fit to your bike via two screw-free easy-fasten straps.

Brainy Bike Lights cost £45 for the pair and they’re available from www.brainybikelights.com.

By the way, this product has nothing to do with the Blaze laser bike light that projects a laser image of a bicycle onto the road ahead.

25 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

WOW....I was really waiting for another terribly put together kickstater campaign Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8905 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:19

36 Likes

Doesn't look very aero ...

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [288 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:27

48 Likes

1st April for this year has passed.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [336 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:39

45 Likes

This are quite small, the photos are all close up so it's not clear if drivers will actually be able see the symbol itself...

posted by Bokonon [22 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:39

28 Likes

I was about to buy one, until I noticed that my bike is also bike shaped. Apparently that can help people recognise that it's a bike.

posted by bikebot [587 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:42

78 Likes

It's absolutely true that the brain processes images very quickly.

But most* accidents happen in daylight, not at night, and are caused by the cyclist not being seen. A standard (bright) light achieves that perfectly well.

* facts not checked

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [871 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:45

22 Likes

At least drivers with 20/20 vision will be able to see you?

I'd struggle to make out this symbol, while it's moving to boot, in a busy streetscape.

posted by jacknorell [412 posts]
7th April 2014 - 12:49

24 Likes

If you're struggling to drive as close as possible to cyclists as you punish pass em, this handy light will help you see cyclists more clearly Tongue

When are people gonna realise that hi-viz and these gimmicks have very little to do with safety

posted by sfichele [101 posts]
7th April 2014 - 14:16

25 Likes

"because they enable quicker and more accurate identification of cyclists by drivers"

but its a bit like a light bulb joke - the driver has got to want to identify cyclists - I find it hard to understand that having a symbol of a cycle will improve driver ability to spot cyclists in the dark when many fail to look for a bike shaped object and rider in daylight

as to research how about looking at how cyclists appear to drivers in a typical urban environment at night - when I drive I find it hard to pick out cyclists mixed in with cars because the car headlights are very bright - these headlights are designed for 50mph plus non-urban roads not for cities - at low speeds with street lights side lights should suffice making easier to pick out cyclists in the mix - ok when speed picks up revert to headlights but at 10/20mph headlights just don't contribute to road safety for pedestrians or cyclists

posted by antigee [156 posts]
7th April 2014 - 14:16

36 Likes

Beam me up, Scotty.

posted by Geoffroid [17 posts]
7th April 2014 - 14:21

17 Likes

i've been after a bicycle light where most of the lens is black for years, i'm in!

posted by VecchioJo [750 posts]
7th April 2014 - 14:23

23 Likes

So they work in the same way as pedal reflectors (unique bike identification in the dark), but only from really close up? Cracking...

If they removed the cycle image and just made the entire big square glow red, I'd be much more interested. Big and bright enough beats tiny and eye-watering any day.

posted by Darkerside [62 posts]
7th April 2014 - 14:36

45 Likes

Any news article which uses the words 'science' or 'scientific' and then incorporates the word or quotes someone saying 'could' is frankly complete and utter rubbish. even if the person saying 'could' is a scientist.

Go back and work on it again and when you have published and peer reviewed scientific study on your side then I will listen, until then this is no better than the Mails claim that 'X' causes cancer.

posted by leqin [109 posts]
7th April 2014 - 15:02

19 Likes

The image of the cyclist in the light would be more recognisable if there were a tiny tiny image of a cyclist attached to it.

posted by vbvb [245 posts]
7th April 2014 - 15:15

19 Likes

Would it make it safer, if there was a highlighted message as well? Say:

If you knock me off my bike, my family will hunt you down and smash your balls with bricks

posted by sfichele [101 posts]
7th April 2014 - 15:56

27 Likes

For these to work you need a driver that both looks and cares.

Often they are in short supply otherwise normal lights etc would work fine.

posted by gazza_d [226 posts]
7th April 2014 - 19:23

31 Likes

Quote:
Any news article which uses the words 'science' or 'scientific' and then incorporates the word or quotes someone saying 'could' is frankly complete and utter rubbish. even if the person saying 'could' is a scientist.

Go back and work on it again and when you have published and peer reviewed scientific study on your side then I will listen, until then this is no better than the Mails claim that 'X' causes cancer.

To be fair, most peer reviewed science concludes that this might mean this, or perhaps that, and to find it which one it is, then we need to research the other as well - more often than not, scientists do conclude that they don't really know, but it could be this - saying something is definite (like the mail do) is a very unscientific thing to do, saying maybe isn't.

posted by Bokonon [22 posts]
7th April 2014 - 19:39

23 Likes

I see this message, and I approve. Tomorrow, I shall be prototyping car shaped stencils to put over car headlights, so we can all tell that the two ton heap of metal coming out of the side road is in fact, a car. No really.

I shall be patenting stickers with pictures of guns to apply to their firearms so people don't accidentally mistake them for oh, mobile phones or electric guitars. I will kickstart hi viz pictures of houses, and glow in the dark pictures of aeroplanes (is it too soon?), and retoreflective elephant, rhinocerous and wildebeest stickers. When those beasts charge at you en masse, you're going to want to know what is reducing you a bloody stain on the serengeti, I can tell you.

Oh for goodness' sake, any world that relies on a autonomous, free thinking grown up human being adjudged to be capable of voting, reproduction, choosing their own tie in the morning and, ye gods, driving to recognise that I am in fact riding a 64 inch long, 40 inch high, 25 inch wide bicycle based on a two inch light picture of that very same machine deserves at least half its nuclear weapons to be under the control of a deranged psychotic monkeyman who bases his decisions on how soft his bananas were that morning.

I'm not sure how I ended up at saying George Bush Junior should be back in the Whitehouse, but here we are.

posted by Argos74 [295 posts]
7th April 2014 - 20:23

22 Likes

You're solving the wrong problem! Drivers can already tell it's a bike. What some (2% at most) don't do is act appropriately and pass at a safe distance. Can you invent a device that forces them to pass wide enough, please?

posted by a.jumper [709 posts]
7th April 2014 - 21:15

26 Likes

sfichele:

Nice one, but how is this going to work with women drivers?

posted by ChairRDRF [134 posts]
7th April 2014 - 23:14

20 Likes

Oh dear me, whilst the concept in the mind of the uneducated or the inventor look ok, the fact is that visually recognisable images alert the brain to immediate danger with this does. But surely the sight of another human being is more than enough to warrant action? The drivers mindset needs to be enforced at the testing phase and driver awareness seminars for speeding.

dughs's picture

posted by dughs [11 posts]
8th April 2014 - 6:07

15 Likes

the lights project a clear symbol that’s clear from all angles at up to 20 metres distance in daylight or darkness.

That's good. That's all of two thirds of a second away for a car doing 60mph. Hope the drivers are good at making split second decisions.

posted by Tony [68 posts]
8th April 2014 - 19:46

14 Likes

The purpose of lights for visibility is... visibility! A light catches the eye better than something that is not lit and draws the eye to it. This is especially true for peripheral vision, where the eye doesn't usually resolve details like that and responds only to things that draw attention by movement - detected by changes in color and brightness.

The problem of visibility is NOT related to the shape of the image cast by the lens of the light.

Brainy? Far from it.

A long time ago, I saw a light that was attached to the cable part of a disc brake. Whaaa aaa aaa at? An actual functioning brake light that worked the same way brake lights on cars do (usually due to legislation that regulates them)???

Now that's brainy... but I've never seen one in a store.

posted by eschelar [39 posts]
9th April 2014 - 2:28

4 Likes

eschelar wrote:
A long time ago, I saw a light that was attached to the cable part of a disc brake. Whaaa aaa aaa at? An actual functioning brake light that worked the same way brake lights on cars do (usually due to legislation that regulates them)???

Now that's brainy... but I've never seen one in a store.


Magnic Lights do that (they're mounted on the brake arms and brightness depends on how close to the rim they are), or less trendily, there's the B+M Toplight Line Brake Plus reviewed at http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/achterlampen/BM_topli...

posted by a.jumper [709 posts]
9th April 2014 - 17:30

3 Likes

eschelar wrote:
n actual functioning brake light that worked the same way brake lights on cars do (usually due to legislation that regulates them)???

Now that's brainy... but I've never seen one in a store.


I doubt the need for brake lights -- we're going fairly slowly compared with cars anyway (speaking for myself Wink ) -- but I've always wanted proper indicators that keep flashing when you put your hand back on the handlebars to brake / control the bike. I once saw some toy ones in a Dutch bike shop, but they were too close together and didn't fit my pannier rack.

posted by arowland [91 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 10:16

4 Likes