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Youngster inspired to create invention for CBBC series after friend killed while out cycling

A ten-year old boy from Conwy in North Wales has won a national award after using the experience of losing a friend killed in an accident while out cycling to invent a safety device that warns motorists of cyclists ahead of them on the road.

The device, called the Bike Bleeper, was dreamt up by Tybalt Melia from Capel Curig, who submitted his invention to CBBC’s My Genius Idea competition, as reported on the BBC North West Wales website.

The Bike Bleeper clips onto the handlebars and sends a signal to cars behind via their radios, warning them that there is a cyclist ahead on the road.

The BBC said that the youngster has already met with management of a satellite navigation company with a view to producing a commercial version of the safety device, and a bicycle firm is also said to have expressed interest in it.

Tybalt’s mother, Alice Douglas, said: "The meeting was on the 20th floor of one of the highest buildings in London. He was half sitting there, talking seriously about his product, and then running to the window and saying, 'Wow, this is really cool!'

"The guys were really sweet with him, but it was very funny to see him in this big boardroom."

Judges said that they had been especially impressed by the way in which the youngster had worked hard to refine his invention during the series, such as responding to tests that discovered the device worked best in rural areas, rather than cities including Cambridge where there is a high number of cyclists.

He also agreed that the Bike Bleeper should be fitted with an automatic cut-off to prevent it continuing to send out signals when the bike was not in use.

"I never thought I'd get this far,” said Tybalt, “and I thought Emily [the other finalist, whose invention sought to warn sea mammals from swimming into dangerous waters] did really well.

"It's been a great experience and I've really enjoyed it."

With the series filmed in advance, Tybalt needed to keep the outcome secret, which was made harder by the fact that his sister, Hero, also reached the final of another TV talent series, Must Be The Music.

"When Hero was being congratulated, he'd already won his show, but couldn't say anything," said Tybalt’s mother.

"They are different,” she reflected. Hero will work very hard, but Tybalt will do things when he wants to.

"I tried to sit him down and make him think of the 10 minute presentation he had to make for the final, but he just said, 'No - I've got it in here. I know why I made it and you can't put words in my mouth.'

"And he was right," she added.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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5339 [21 posts] 5 years ago
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This is a cracking idea. However, this device would need some sort of intelligence in order to know if other cyclists with the device were also in the area otherwise motorists could well get bombarded with messages from every nearby cyclist. Not only that but city motoring could bring up constant messages that would become annoying, possibly in popular rural areas too. Frequency and numbers of messages to motorists could be an issue.

I hope that's all been thought of otherwise motorists will just switch off the receiving of such warnings, if they could.

A big benefit could be the SMIDSY scenario in the event of an accident.

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antonio [1126 posts] 5 years ago
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Great idea, never mind the 'ifs and buts', refine it.

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G-bitch [322 posts] 5 years ago
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Hero and Tybalt?! WTF?

A feel good story and all, but those names simply couldn't pass without comment..

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 5 years ago
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G-bitch wrote:

Hero and Tybalt?! WTF?

A feel good story and all, but those names simply couldn't pass without comment..

I'm guessing the parents are into their Shakespeare  26

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cavasta [216 posts] 5 years ago
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Genius! Well done old chap!

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londonplayer [620 posts] 5 years ago
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There is already an old fashioned device that drivers often don't use for seeing cyclists ahead. It's called their eyes.

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RuthF28 [100 posts] 5 years ago
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I think if I had one of these I wouldn't use it in town but would switch it on when on winding and often narrow country lanes. Though I'm tempted to think that it's not that cars don't see cyclists, they just think they can pass when there's a car coming the other way.

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austen [30 posts] 5 years ago
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Sounds like a great idea for people riding out on fast open roads, although I suspect in town it might be switched off very quickly.

In off road rallies (dakar et al) there is a similar system that car drivers activate to let the motorcyclists know that they want to overtake. Apparently they often give very little warning to the bikes who then have to get out of the way PDQ to avoid an accident. It is seen by the bikers to just allow the cars to be more aggressive when overtaking.

So as long it's a warning for the driver that there is a cyclist ahead, and not the other way around, it all sounds good.

Capel Curig isn't that near Conwy either!

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Dog72 [106 posts] 5 years ago
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Little bit rich coming from someone called G-bitch.

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don_don [149 posts] 5 years ago
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londonplayer wrote:

There is already an old fashioned device that drivers often don't use for seeing cyclists ahead. It's called their eyes.

Don't be discriminatory londonplayer. What about all the blind drivers out there, who would find this device very helpful?  3