Have you ever been freaked out riding your bike at night, surrounded by automobiles piloted by distracted drivers? Well, here’s an innovation for safer night-cycling that might be hitting the market soon (and reducing your level of stress). A team of designers has won an industrial design award for their Bike Zone invention, which creates a lighted safety zone on the ground around your bike, alerting drivers to your presence at night. The laser-projected zone extends for a meter on each side and also projects an animated directional signal. Frank Guo, Hung Wang, and Stuart Morrow, a team of independent designers, received a Bronze award for the Bike Zone design in the 2012 Lite-On Awards, a competition sponsored by Taiwan’s $16 billion Lite-On Technology Corporation.

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2012 was the 12th year for the Lite-On Award. The competition received 2,246 entries from designers in 11 countries. The theme of this year’s competition was “Tech It Easy,” and the competition stressed a less-is-more philosophy of practical simplicity in consumer product design. In a video about the event, the award’s judges expressed concern that in past years designers had submitted designs that were ingenious but impractical, as they often created unnecessary complexities and costs that made their products unworkable in the real world. In a summary of the event, Lite-On says that:

“‘‘Tech it easy’ means that technology can be simple. In other words, technology can have a simple design with easy to use functionalities and energy-saving features. We fully understand that any product with a seemingly simple design is usually the result of thoughtful design and precise execution. The Lite-On Award is very pleased to see that through this competition both designers and consumers were able to foresee a smart and simple life still focused on eco-friendliness and technological development in the future.

Research indicates that bike safety lights can prevent injuries and fatalities by alerting drivers to the presence of a cyclist. A 2009 study by The Cochrane Collaborative found that “Night-time cycling is two to five times more dangerous than cycling in daylight,” and that “Forty per cent of cyclist fatalities occur during the hours of darkness.” Many collisions are simply due to “the late detection of other road users.”

Lite-On Awards documentation gives no indication when and how Bike Zone might be made commercially available.

+ 2012 Lite-On Award

Via Yanko Design