Recently, a couple of readers emailed me to mention the LightLane concept by Alex Tee and Evan Gant. The concept has been posted recently on various design and tech blogs including Core77, DVICE, and Yanko Design to name a few. I always appreciate reader tips, but actually, I had already seen this one. The LightLane concept was one of the 65 entries in the commuter bike competition on this blog. As a whole, we as a jury liked the concept, but felt like it didn’t exactly fit the brief. Also, I had seen a very similar concept, though not as complete, on Dirt Rag and Cyclelicious not all that long ago. Anyway, despite the fact that this entry didn’t make it to the finalists, I think it is a good idea that is worth passing along, so I will join the other sites on the web in doing so.
If you haven’t already read it, here is the designers’ explanation of the idea behind the LightLane:
A close brush with a distracted driver is enough to intimidate the most avid bikers from riding at night. The problem isn’t just about visibility, as safety lights are effective at capturing the attention of a driver. However, these lights are typically constrained to the bike frame, which highlights only a fraction of the bike’s envelope.
Bike lanes have proven to be an effective method of protecting cyclists on congested roads. One key is that the lane establishes a well-defined boundary beyond the envelope of the bicycle, providing a greater margin of safety between the car and the cyclist. Yet, only a small fraction of streets have dedicated bike lanes, and with an installation cost of $5,000 to $50,000 per mile, we shouldn’t expect to find them everywhere anytime soon.
Instead of adapting cycling to established bike lanes, the bike lane should adapt to the cyclists. This is the idea behind the LightLane. Our system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing the driver with a familiar boundary to avoid. With a wider margin of safety, bikers will regain their confidence to ride at night, making the bike a more viable commuting alternative.