Sunday 3rd December 2017
The bike light is business is a competitive one but one with much importance. We take the stance that you can not fully put your trust in road users that they've seen you and will move safely around you. Our approach is a sad one that we expect every driver to be the worst one (the majority are clearly not and it's the bad ones that leave their mark in the memory bank). The Orb is an interesting concept. It's designer Andrew Phillips has seen there's an issue from being seen from all angles and where else to put another beaming light but as a bidon in your bottle cage!
The Orb is brand new light designed to give cyclists 360° visibility while out on the road at night. The Orb uses super-bright LEDs to illuminate a bike bottle, allowing drivers to see the light from anyangle. More than 1/3 cyclists killed and seriously injured are hit from the side by a vehicle, and accidents at night more likely to be fatal. Current front/rear lights provide little visibility from the side, and many of these serious collisions could be preventable with proper side-illumination.
The Orb functions as a normal 600ml water bottle, and requires no specialist fittings beyond an ordinary bottle cage. It is USB rechargeable, and the lithium ion battery will last for between 5 hours (constant on, full power) and 12 hours (flash). Although The Orb is intended for use with both front and rear lights, it makes your bike far more visible from every direction, and will help get cyclists home if one of the other lights fails. Pictures and designs of The Orb can be found attached to this email. Work began on The Orb in early 2016 and, after partnering with a team of UK designers, the bottle began to take shape. A final design was settled on in November 2016, and the CAD and electrical designs have since been approved. The Orb is now almost ready for manufacture.
The prototype received incredibly positive feedback from the cycle industry, people were almost unanimous in agreeing the necessity of improved side-visibility. The only criticism being that people expected a wider bottle mouth to accommodate energy powders and gels. As a result, the design team worked on the model and made the necessary changes to widen the mouth in line with people's expectations. The final design is now ready to go.
The Team behind The Orb is ready to start manufacturing the final product, and are looking to raise money for tooling via Kickstarter, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Andrew Phillips, Creator of The Orb said, “Having had a number of near misses in London and been knocked off once in Manchester, I began clenching my teeth every time a car approached from a side road - wondering whether it had seen me. That’s when I began my search for an effective, USB rechargeable side light for my bottle cage, but was unable to find anything suitable. I quickly saw a significant gap in the market for a product which was not only useful for cyclists on a day to day basis – but has the potential to save lives. Since that initial idea, development of The Orb has gone from strength to strength – and we’re really excited to be so close to launching the final product. Within 10 years we want side lighting to be considered as important as front and rear lights are today. By doing this, we will reduce the number of cyclists killed and injured on our roads.”
The Orb has a patent pending. The following statistics demonstrate the danger to cyclists at night from side-impact collisions:
75% of accidents occur at or near junctions,
Drivers failing to see cyclists contributes to 57% of serious collisions at junctions,
35% of cyclists Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) by a vehicle are hit from the side, and accidents at night are more likely to be fatal.
Absolute numbers of incidents are also high; 20,000 injuries are recorded on UK roads every year and up to 500,000 more injuries are thought to have gone unreported in the last 3 years. Although the primary design case was for The Orb to be used in an urban environment, it would be equally suited to rural environments, where road users are less likely to be aware of cyclists and a higher proportion of accidents are fatal. The team behind The Orb are now looking to raise money for the tooling required ahead of an initial manufacturing run.
If The Orb has lightened up your safety awareness or would like to find out more about their funding initiatives, please visit kickstarter