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Product Design alevel project

LFC-LFC- Posts: 3
edited May 2019 in Commuting chat
Hi my names Freddy and I’m currently looking at whether to produce a bike indicator for my a-level project. I’m wondering if you can help me, as in targeting commuters. I’m looking at a bike indicator either enhanced features. Could you please answer these questions as it would be an enormous help,
Thanks in advance Freddy.
What problems do you face as a current cyclist, which is the most significant and why?
Do you believe indicating is an issue that needs to be addressed, if so, why, in terms of the problems. How do you believe they can be eradicated?
Do you face any issues with bike lights that could be improved?
Do you believe an electric bike light is better than a battery powered bike light? What makes you think this?
Do you find cycling as a struggle for a commuter? What makes you believe this?
How much do you believe as a commuter, you should pay for a bike indicator? How much for an advanced cyclist? How much for a beginner?
Do you find getting through stand –still traffic is a problem? Is this because of, confidence or genuine unsafety? How much does this disrupt your timings of cycling to work or is it mainly cycle paths?

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  • -Dash-Dash Posts: 179
    What problems do you face as a current cyclist, which is the most significant and why?
    Moronic drivers. Too many cars on the roads. Red traffic lights.

    Do you believe indicating is an issue that needs to be addressed, if so, why, in terms of the problems. How do you believe they can be eradicated?
    No. I do not have an issue sticking my arm out and that is a lot more visible than a little light. I don't think I've had any near misses with drivers due to a lack of indicating... in general they haven't even looked properly so they would not have spotted an indicator. I've had plenty of drivers fail to spot my motorcycle indicators though...

    Do you face any issues with bike lights that could be improved?
    Nothing major. Battery life could be improved sometimes. Many cyclists could learn to dip their 100000lumen portable suns. Price could be lower.

    Do you believe an electric bike light is better than a battery powered bike light? What makes you think this?
    A battery powered bike light is still electric. I'm not quite sure what the difference is? I'm assuming we don't carry a generator along to power it? :D

    Do you find cycling as a struggle for a commuter? What makes you believe this?
    Not really. It's less of a struggle than sitting in a car. It would be nice if it could be a permanent tailwind.

    How much do you believe as a commuter, you should pay for a bike indicator? How much for an advanced cyclist? How much for a beginner?
    £0. I don't want one. Should an advanced cyclist pay more? What's the definitions for advanced vs beginner cyclists?

    Do you find getting through stand –still traffic is a problem? Is this because of, confidence or genuine unsafety? How much does this disrupt your timings of cycling to work or is it mainly cycle paths?
    On narrow roads - yes. In general it's not much of an issue as long as you take it easy. Generally the standstill traffic is in the same place every day so it doesn't make much difference to timings. Mostly road. Cycle shared use pavements used when there is standstill traffic and the option exists.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    With all respect, do some research into the history of previous bicycle indicators and see how well they are still selling/being used. To save time and cash, don't bother, even with lights and hi-viz cyclists are still getting hit by car drivers not paying attention yet it's our fault that a driver isn't paying attention.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,019
    redvee wrote:
    With all respect, do some research into the history of previous bicycle indicators and see how well they are still selling/being used. To save time and cash, don't bother, even with lights and hi-viz cyclists are still getting hit by car drivers not paying attention yet it's our fault that a driver isn't paying attention.


    While I understand your hope and aspirations, and that this a learning project, please do the above.

    No amount of lights will help you be seen, if a driver isn't looking, or aware of their width.

    The top ten causes of crashes in the UK in 2017, according to https://www.regtransfers.co.uk/content/ ... n-britain/ , which uses the police's assessment of a collision Contributing Factors, as recorded on the STATS19 form:

    1.Driver failed to look properly – 42,189 accidents reported
    2.Driver failed to judge other person’s path or speed – 21,211 accidents reported
    3.Driver was careless, reckless or in a hurry – 17,845 accidents reported
    4.Driver had poor turn or maneuver – 15,560 accidents reported
    5.Loss of control – 12,151 accidents reported
    6.Pedestrian failed to look properly – 8,687 accidents reported
    7.Slippery road surface – 7,327 accidents reported
    8.Driver was travelling too fast for conditions – 6,468 accidents reported
    9.Driver was following too close – 6,040 accidents reported
    10.Driver was exceeding speed limit – 5,102 accidents reported
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
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  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783
    LFC- wrote:
    Do you believe an electric bike light is better than a battery powered bike light? What makes you think this?

    What A-level is it for?
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Couple of thoughts:
    - For indicators on a bike to be useful, they'd have to have very widespread takeup, or drivers aren't going to look for them. My gut feel is that you'd probably have to have indicators on 50% of the country's actively-ridden bikes before drivers started noticing them.
    - How are the indicators going to be activated? Unless they turn off automatically, as they do in a car, you're going to get lots of cyclists riding along in a straight line with one of their indicators flashing. Above a certain threshold this will lead to drivers ignoring all indicators, because they have no way of telling which ones are activated on purpose.
    - What problem does this device solve? If people are frustrated by a genuine problem, and then a device comes along to solve that problem, they're likely to go out and buy it (if the quality and price are right). If it's a solution looking for a problem, it's going to be a much harder sell. My advice for anyone developing a product like this would be to spend some time defining the problem, in as much detail as possible, before you start looking at how to solve it.

    As a reasonably experienced cyclist (30 miles a day through London for 10 years), this doesn't solve any of my problems; I don't feel I have any issues communicating my intentions to road users who are actually looking at me.
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I had another thought about this yesterday: Since starting to use cycling-specific infrastructure in London I've noticed a breed of cyclist who basically can't do hand signals because they can't ride one-handed; they'll let go of the bar with one hand and move it an inch to the side for a split second, before gripping tighter than before. These people might be interested in an indicator, not for improved visibility (drivers probably aren't going to be looking for it) but because it's easier to operate than performing a normal hand signal. I doubt you'll find those riders on this forum, but you might find some at school...
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  • LFC-LFC- Posts: 3
    Thanks for the help. For electric question I mean USB rechargeable or battery powered. Apparently the more harder to understand the question the better=-).
    TGOTTB, I did think this that as a new cyclist I find the experience of looking right to check if okay to cross into the other lane tends the bike to move right. Then looking again to see if clear with an arm out to signal right turn is quite difficult. I feel this task should be easier, if a new cyclist.
  • -Dash-Dash Posts: 179
    I'd rather have USB rechargeable but for long time durability the option to swap out the rechargeable battery. Think how the Gopros etc do it... removable batteries but can be charged via the USB port on the device.

    And actually thinking more about indicators... will it decrease the likelihood of a cyclist to actually shoulder check before moving out? I've seen a lot barely even glance but those who indicate well tend to have a good look behind. I'll even shoulder check a left turn when I'm hugging the kerb because i've had idiots come up the inside before.
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    LFC- wrote:
    as a new cyclist I find the experience of looking right to check if okay to cross into the other lane tends the bike to move right. Then looking again to see if clear with an arm out to signal right turn is quite difficult. I feel this task should be easier, if a new cyclist.

    The answer is to practice cycling, not to make it easier to move without looking.
    By all means have a flashing light to show where you intend to move, but if you're using it as a substitute for checking it's safe to move then you're doing it wrong.

    We complain about cars that left hook people and use the excuse "I was indicating". Cyclists that just sling an arm out and then weave across the road, oblivious to what's going on around them, is the equivalent.
    /rant :wink:
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    dhope wrote:
    Cyclists that just sling an arm out and then weave across the road, oblivious to what's going on around them, is the equivalent.
    I've had a couple of instances of cyclists slinging their arm out as I was overtaking and hitting my arm. I saw it coming, but they were both somewhat surprised...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    -Dash wrote:
    I'd rather have USB rechargeable but for long time durability the option to swap out the rechargeable battery. Think how the Gopros etc do it... removable batteries but can be charged via the USB port on the device.

    And actually thinking more about indicators... will it decrease the likelihood of a cyclist to actually shoulder check before moving out? I've seen a lot barely even glance but those who indicate well tend to have a good look behind. I'll even shoulder check a left turn when I'm hugging the kerb because i've had idiots come up the inside before.
    In my mind, there about:

    40% of people will indicate and go without shoulder checking / looking
    40% who people who shoulder check and go, without indicating, thinking the look is enough
    20% of people who shoulder check, indicate and then go.
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  • inbikeinbike Posts: 264
    What problems do you face as a current cyclist, which is the most significant and why?

    - Finding secure bike parking

    Do you believe indicating is an issue that needs to be addressed, if so, why, in terms of the problems. How do you believe they can be eradicated?

    - No

    Do you face any issues with bike lights that could be improved?

    - Remembering to charge them, theft

    Do you believe an electric bike light is better than a battery powered bike light? What makes you think this?

    - Battery powered lights are electric. Dynamo lights would be nice especially as they are harder to steal

    Do you find cycling as a struggle for a commuter? What makes you believe this?

    - No

    How much do you believe as a commuter, you should pay for a bike indicator? How much for an advanced cyclist? How much for a beginner?

    - £0 (don't need them)

    Do you find getting through stand –still traffic is a problem? Is this because of, confidence or genuine unsafety?

    - Yes when roads are narrow and vehicles are wide

    How much does this disrupt your timings of cycling to work or is it mainly cycle paths?

    - Cycling is a very predictable way of getting to work - my commute always seems to take about the same time
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Indicator lights on a bike will be a very niche product at the moment - of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't design one for an A-Level project.
    I don't think Indicator lights on a bike would be ignored - almost the opposite I feel - I think they'll be noticed - because they're different.
    The difficulties you'll have include placement & clarity - the width of a bike isn't enough to make intentions clear and distinguishable by just a blinking light.
    There are a number of solutions I've seen - including rucksack, helmet and glove/arm placed lights - the former being some kind of flashing arrow.
    Of course, you need to have some sort of trigger & cancellation mechanism - plus possibly a user indicator so the rider knows the device is on.

    Do I feel an indicator is a solution to a problem though - No I don't. Riding one handed is a skill that is usually learnt early on - most kids I see tend not to have any hands on the handlebars at all. Sure, it takes a bit of practice, but it's not that hard.
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    The reason you have them on cars is to give the following car an indication of what you are going to do such as change lanes or move out to overtake - well a bike. For cars coming towards you it causes them to react to your intention. Ignore if you are indicating left and be alert if you are indicating right.

    Maybe put that in to a biking context. Motorcyclists have main headlight on because people (car drivers) dont register them and it is a safety issue.
    From that I'd distil that the design should not be about indicating intentions but drawing attention to the cyclist and making the cars aware first and the direction of travel second. High intensity, high flash rate easy to charge suited for an average commute - you can research that.

    There should be a bypass circuit to trigger a 40 coulomb storage charge - like a photon torpedo and fry the cnt forker [email protected] who disrespects you, or less specifically just for fun on any random passer by or cat.
  • shambu31shambu31 Posts: 2
    very well explained..!! Thank you.

    Car painting in Pune
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,447
    This is going to sound negative, but bike indicators exist. No one buys them because they are a solution to a problem with cars that doesn't exist with bikes.

    They are dangerous because (a) a bike's not wide enough for them to provide clear signals (b) motorists aren't expecting them (c) it encourages cyclists not to use the internationally recognised sign of sticking your arm out sideways.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,811
    To turn safely it is NECESSARY to do a shoulder check to make sure that it is safe to make the turn. Anyone that can safely do a shoulder check can do an arm signal.
    Anyone that cannot safely do a shoulder check should not be on the road.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
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  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,447
    Btw a lot of the issues faced by the OP as a new cyclist are things you need to learn to do, not things you engineer around.

    For example, if you are punched in the face by a cyclist turning right it means you are passing too close and/or passing as you approach a right turn. You shouldn't do this in a car and it is no different on a bike.

    Conversely if you are the one punching other cyclists, you need to learn that the mirror signal manoeuvre philosophy also applies to you. Prepare to turn by looking then signalling then moving.

    If you turn when you look, learn not to for your own longevity. If you are running out of time before you turn, start sooner.
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