Cities can only do so much to improve bicyclists’ safety — bike lanes and automatic traffic light sensors are great, but motorists are really the ones who have to pay attention for bike riders to be safe. An intrepid mechanical engineer has one solution: Make bike lights as obvious as car lights.
Kent Frankovich, a mechanical engineer trained at Stanford and the University of Texas, was riding home from school one day and wondered why his bike’s headlamp was mounted so far from the ground, where it could do little to light his way — not to mention help drivers notice him. Last October, he started tinkering with wheel-mounted lights, developing several prototypes before settling on a wheel-mounted string of LEDs. He and two partners dubbed it Revolights, and are raising funds through Kickstarter to further product development.As the bike wheels spin, the LEDs form an arc of light. The front lights illuminate the bike’s path, while red rear lights ensure any passing cars will take notice. Because the lights trace the wheels’ outline, drivers can more easily discern the size and location of the bike, which can be difficult to do with today’s bright blinking LED handlebar- or helmet-mounted lights.