Bikes for hire in London will be fitted with lasers to improve cyclist safety

Thousands of hire bikes in London will be fitted with laserlights that project the image of a bike onto the road to improve safety.

London’s hire bikes have become more high-tech and even brighter. Santander Cycles, which manages London’s bike sharing programme in collaboration with Transport for London, decided to use irony to present its new invention: a light installed on the front of vehicles projecting the image of a bike onto the road.

laserlight bike sharing
London will use 11,000 Santander cycles fitted with a laserlight projecting the image of a two-wheeled vehicle onto the road.

The Star Wars-themed video

Given the presence of lasers, the initiative has been promoted via a Star Wars-themed video. This features three sportspeople: Jenson Button, winner of the Formula 1 world championship in 2009, golfer Rory McIlroy and Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.

After an experimental phase the British city will fit 11,500 hire bikes with a built-in light projecting the image onto the road. Three quarters of those who tested the laserlight on the bikes said they felt safer when using it and half affirmed they would be more willing to use the vehicles at night if fitted with this feature.

“I’m delighted that through this great partnership, we’re able to help improve safety and support the enterprise of another brilliant London start-up,” said cyclist and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who welcomed the innovation in the city’s bike sharing system.

The laser was produced by Blaze, a start-up company led by founder and design expert Emily Brooke, and promoted through a crowdfunding campaign launched on Kickstarter. Thanks to this, the company collected 55,000 pounds. A single Blazer laserlight costs 125 pounds.

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Users can be given the codes to use the bikes via the London bike sharing programme app (available on Google Play as well as iTunes). They can also check what docking station have bikes available, consult maps, receive notifications about costs and other information and view their service use history.

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