BYO Bike Lanes Coming Soon

Via Gizmodo: A laser device that allows cyclists to project their own bike lanes has gone from cool idea to prototype. Positive reponse to the concept from Alex Tee and Evan Gant of Altitude Inc. was significant enough to put LightLane into production. See the beta version in action above. Thoughts?

  • Kate


  • s

    It’s clever and cute to call this a “BYO bike lane,” but it’s really just an amped up bike light. It may provide additional guidance to drivers who need to know how much space to give a rider, and that’s a good thing, but it’s not a bike lane. Marketing it as a way to project a boundary around you is smart, but if the media — this blog included — spread the “bike lane” meme, then that’s not good.

    Bike lanes have a purpose beyond their immediate use by riders. Even when empty, they project messages to drivers that something like this can not: watch for bikes, bikes have equal rights to the road, etc. As someone who needs bike lanes on more of his commute, I’d worry that this sends a message that riders are solely responsible for their own safety. I’d rather have a bike lane that extends for miles and miles behind me and ahead of me, since drivers need to be kept aware that they could come across a rider at any moment. This helps with immediate dangers, but not long-term awareness.

    Still…it’s pretty darn cool and I’d love to get one!

  • I like that this device defines an explicit “space cushion” around the cyclist for other vehicle operators to respect. It also helps cyclists gauge their distance from the dooring zone.

  • Sign me up! I bet a lot of tight squeezes are simply due to drivers misjudging space.

    And Stacy, the link you pointed out was from the initial concept of the same product. Today’s post is about the first working prototype of that concept.

  • oscarfrye

    i guess it only works after dark

  • cr

    Sorry, but I fail to see how this is useful. How many drivers are going to process this as a “bike lane?” Not many me thinks. The person above who said that is basically a high-tech light is correct. A bike lane doesn’t swerve around or head into traffic. I’m waiting for the first person with one of these to swerve into traffic, get hit by a car, and then come out all exasperated like “But, but, but… didn’t you see my bike lane!?!”

    What’s next, every gets their own personal sidewalk?

  • Why do you need a laser on the right hand side? A longer one on the left seems more useable.

  • BikingViking, riding on the left (with the light on the right) is the preferred method on one way streets

  • If I could wear flashing lights like a police patrol car I would. Riding on the street at night here in Phoenix scares the bejesus out of me, so personally I think anything to draw attention to the bicyclist on the side of the road is a good thing.

  • I use a down low glow at night, and it does seem to get drivers to give me plenty of room.

  • You know when I first heard of this I was kind of like “interesting, but silly”, but the more I watch this, if someone wants to spend money developing this and people want to buy it, I say great! One thing: I would find this somewhat useless in cities like New York, but if you are in a less illuminated area riding at night, I think it would be very useful and I might even use it.

  • s

    The Down Low Glow light is expensive! $115! For that price you could buy at least 5 or 10 LED lights and stick ’em all over your bike for the same visibility.

  • Shemp

    It would be better if it projected further ahead of the rider – then you could yell “get out of my lane” at people, cars etc in the road ahead of you.

  • gecko

    A pack of cyclists riding together with LightLanes would be interesting and probably improve safety.

    Duane Verner has been proposing dedicated motorcycle lanes on his Exclusive Motorcyle Lanes website

    He has come up with the idea of SWARM – A Safety Mobility Network which can also be used by cyclists:

    “SWARM is a real-time safety mobility network that allows vulnerable road users to connect based on common origins and destinations. Providing safety in numbers, SWARM will increase the two-wheeled mode split, improving mobility and efficiency.”

    “SWARM is a real-time safety mobility network that allows vulnerable road users such as bicycle, scooter and motorcycle riders to connect based on common origins and destinations and form groups, or “swarms” for safer travel. It is proven that two-wheeled vehicles traveling together, such as in bicycle pelotons or a pack of motorcycles, are significantly safer due to increased visibility and roadway presence.”

    (I would like to copy here his entire description but, best left for elsewhere; OK one last piece.)

    “By improving safety, SWARM will encourage a logical shift towards smaller, more efficient and affordable modes. This shift will be most prevalent amongst the over 80% of US SOV commuters, especially in temperate climates. As the mode-split continues to shift towards two-wheeled vehicles, appropriate infrastructure such as cycletracks and exclusive motorcycle lanes will follow, further increasing safety.”


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