The Bikesphere, a high-tech laser safety ring, could be the future of biking

Michelin's Bikesphere can make roads safer for cyclists.
Source: Michelin
Michelin's Bikesphere can make roads safer for cyclists.
Source: Michelin

Riding a bike is dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say bicyclists are at greater risk of injury and death caused by a crash than those in cars. In 2015, there were 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in the United States and over 1,000 fatalities.

Now, Michelin has greenlit an open source project that could change cyclist safety. The concept, called Bikesphere, is simple: a double laser spotlight cast on the ground guides both drivers and bicyclists on how to share the road.

The Bikesphere is a spherical device that sits between the handlebars of a cycle. The technology uses a light sensor and a proximity detecting sensor, which work together to evaluate a cyclist’s surroundings and emit a red halo of light.

The Bikesphere is a spherical device that sits between the handlebars of a cycle.
Source: Michelin

In daylight, the Bikesphere serves as a traditional bike lamp that automatically turns on when you travel through dim-lit areas.

In the night, the Bikesphere casts a single-lined red sphere that circles around you and your bicycle throughout your entire journey. When a vehicle approaches your proximity, the laser intensifies: the single line turns into a double line and spins faster to notify both the individual behind the wheel of a car and the person riding the bicycle.

When a car approaches a cycle, the single line laser turns into a double line laser and spins faster.
Source: Michelin

The Daily Dot reports that a similar product hit the market last year: British technology firm Blaze’s Laserlight. This product projects a green bicycle symbol roughly 20 feet in front of a cycler to alert pedestrians and drivers. Though largely similar, Michelin's gadget is different from Blaze's Laserlight — which costs 125 pounds (about $159) — as the red light circumference does more than just alert a driver of a cyclist; it helps them know exactly how far to stay away when overtaking a person on a cycle.

The idea for Bikesphere came from Michelin’s “trendy drivers” crowdsourced campaign, which aims to make roads a safer place by awarding inventors 6,000 euros to make their ideas a reality. Bikesphere is the first project to be awarded by Michelin’s initiative.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

MORE FROM

NASA just clapped back at Anonymous after its alien conspiracy theory went viral

A NASA scientist debunked the baseless claims on Twitter.

Just seeing your phone can make your brain's cognition worse, according to a new study

There's only one way to stop getting distracted by your phone.

China may have achieved a seemingly impossible renewable energy goal

For seven days straight, China says it powered an entire province using only non-fossil energy sources.

Snapchat Maps raise privacy concerns. Here's how to turn off your location.

You can change your mind if location-sharing isn't your thing.

Can't download iOS 11 public beta? Having trouble installing it? Here's a quick fix.

Want to download iOS 11 public beta but can't figure it out? Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting.

NASA just clapped back at Anonymous after its alien conspiracy theory went viral

A NASA scientist debunked the baseless claims on Twitter.

Just seeing your phone can make your brain's cognition worse, according to a new study

There's only one way to stop getting distracted by your phone.

China may have achieved a seemingly impossible renewable energy goal

For seven days straight, China says it powered an entire province using only non-fossil energy sources.

Snapchat Maps raise privacy concerns. Here's how to turn off your location.

You can change your mind if location-sharing isn't your thing.

Can't download iOS 11 public beta? Having trouble installing it? Here's a quick fix.

Want to download iOS 11 public beta but can't figure it out? Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting.