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Santander Cycles to trial lasers to reduce blind spot danger

Hire scheme partners with Blaze Lazerlights in trial which will see 250 of London's hire bikes fitted with lasers...

Santander Cycles and Blaze lights are partnering to trial the use of lasers on 250 of the London hire bikes.

The green Blaze bicycle logo will shine on the road ahead of the trial bikes, from a laser built into the frames, in an attempt to alert drivers of cyclists in their blind spots.

Trials will complete later this year, during which Santander Cycles says the product will be "robustly" tested, before potentially being rolled out across all London hire bikes.

James Mead, General Manager of Santander Cycles, said: "As part of our wider work to make London's roads safer for cyclists, we have worked closely with Serco and Santander to undertake a small trial of Blaze Lazerlights, which alert drivers to an approaching cyclist in the blind spot at night time. Although the technology has been available for several years, this is the first time that it has been built directly into the frame of a hire bike.

"We will be robustly testing both the technology, its effectiveness and peoples’ opinions of it during the trial and hope to make a further update later this year."

Transport for London says the lights have already been trialled at the Transport Research Laboratory, and they will be asking people who have used the trial bikes to comment on them, as well as checking the lasers last the trial, and only operate at night, as they are supposed to.

Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer for Santander UK, said the Blaze partnership would help address safety concerns, a key barrier to uptake of the scheme, while potentially supporting the growth of a London-based startup.

He said: “Santander’s vision when signing up to sponsor the London Cycle Hire scheme was to make the experience of hiring a cycle, fun, rewarding and easy. 

“Innovations in the scheme are something Santander and TfL are both committed to.  We want to make it easier for more people to choose Santander Cycles to get around this great city.”

Phil Ellis, COO and Co-Founder of Blaze, said: “Cycling is growing in London with over half a million journeys made by bike every day.  However personal safety is still the biggest barrier to participation.

"We designed the Blaze Laserlight™ to actively reduce collisions and near misses by giving cyclists a larger footprint on the road, and helping them be seen in situations where they are otherwise invisible, through the innovative laser."

Transport for London declined to disclose the cost of the trial but said it was paid for out of the project's annual budget. If successful the lights' roll out will be paid for from additional funding by Santander.

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