Their bike-mounted gadget, called LightLane, beams two bright red lines and the universal symbol for cyclist on the pavement, neatly delineating a bike lane to remind motorists to yield a little space. It should make everyone feel a little more comfort on the road.
"Clearly one of the biggest benefits of bicycle lanes is that there is an established common boundary that both drivers and riders respect and must stay within," designer Evan Gant told Wired.com. "However, this requires a great deal of resources and planning to implement, so we decided to focus on the fact that the bicycle lane establishes a safety buffer outside of the bicycle's footprint."
It should cost around $50, and we think it's the best idea for a laser since Andy Samberg put one on a cat.
The LightLane started life as an entry to a design competition aimed at promoting bicycle commuting. "Having witnessed several friends be hit by cars while in traffic, we felt the intimidation of sharing the road was one of the bigger barriers to commuting by bicycle," Gant said. He designed the gadget with Alex Tee.
They experimented with different ways of increasing the perceived size of bicycles, but decided they wouldn't work. "We quickly realized all of these would compromise the rider's safety by increasing the probability of accidental clipping," said Gant.
Such an approach also didn't consider the appeal of small size and maneuverability. After all, if bikes were big and bulky they'd be called pedicabs. Once they decided tinkering with the physical boundaries were out of the question, Gant and Tee considered virtual boundaries created by lasers. They decided it was a much better approach.
"Although it doesn't establish a clear and predictable path for a rider to follow, it does encourage a driver to provide the rider with a wider berth by capturing their attention in a different way," Gant said.LightLane is only effective at night, of course, something Gant said underscores the need for proper bike lanes. "Permanent lanes are much more proactive and LightLane is more of a reactive solution to the problem," he said.
Gant and Tee are trying to determine the best color and orientation for the lasers. Once they tackle that question, they'll turn their attention to financing and building a prototype that is resistant to rust, easy to clean and difficult to steal.
If we're lucky, they'll figure out how to make it scorch the paint off any car parked in a bike lane