WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL

 

Advertisements

BUCKINGHAM PALACE POLICE ACCIDENT: Police car overturns during speedy chase in London

London – VIJAY SHAH via JOE ROBERTS and Metro

While the police in London are largely renowned for their exemplary vehicle handling during high-speed car (and moped) chases, one unfortunate squad car and its occupants came a cropper while chasing a moped near the world-famous Buckingham Palace, part-time residence of the UK’s royal family.

 

According to a report in tabloid newspaper Metro, the police vehicle was called out to a report of a stolen moped being driven by a seventeen-year-old boy and carrying one passenger at 4:30 am at Hyde Park Corner yesterday. The police gave chase and that chase carried on through central London. Upon arriving at Grosvenor Place’s junction with Chapel Street, just outside the Palace’s grounds, a second police car, which may have also been involved in apprehending the suspects, collided with the moped, leaving the bike’s driver with leg injuries that needed medical treatment. The police car itself flipped over and ended up resting on its roof at the side of the road near a high wall.

The 17-year-old was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers after being discharged from hospital. He is being charged for ‘a number of motoring offences’ according to police sources cited in the Metro. A police spokesperson said: “The vehicle, rider and pillion passenger matched the description of a moped believed to have been involved in a series of offences”

The passenger fled the scene and is being hunted by police. As is the norm in police situations where people are injured or killed, the incident has been forwarded to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for further investigation. An IOPC representative told Metro: “An independent investigation has been launched following a collision between a moped and a marked police car in Westminster, London, this morning.

‘A 17-year old boy has suffered serious leg injuries and been taken to hospital. A police vehicle overturned during the incident but no police officers have sustained injuries.”

Mopeds in London are often a popular choice of vehicle stolen by criminals due to their ubiquity, ease of theft, and that police are often unable to bring them to a halt, due to their high speeds and manoeuvrability.

SOURCES:

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

“Police car flips over chasing moped near Buckingham Palace” – Joe Roberts, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (4 August 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/04/police-car-flips-chasing-moped-near-buckingham-palace-7799119/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Emergency Vehicle Operator’s Course aids JBPHH first responders in arriving on time, every time” – U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden, Pacific Air Forces (27 March 2014) http://www.pacaf.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/591508/emergency-vehicle-operators-course-aids-jbphh-first-responders-in-arriving-on-t/