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  1. #1
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    Safety Device Idea

    I am an avid cyclist and I have had quite a few encounters with cars in the past. I currently go to a small business school in the Northeast and a few of my classmates and I are creating an invention to reduce these encounters. The idea is a quick release attachment that connects to a seatpost and has a boom arm about 22 inches in length that extends to the left-hand side of the bike. On the end of this arm will be a small strobe that will serve as a reflector during the day and can be engaged during riding in darker conditions. The arm will be pliable as not to break or throw the cyclist off balance in the event of contact. It is a simple device, but we need some input as to the validity of the idea and its potential. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    1. Some cyclists have rigged up such devices themselves
    2. Most cyclist dont' want such a thing hanging off their bike
    3. Most cyclist want the ability to pass things (including cars) with closer than 22" clearance when under their control
    4. There is not reason to suspect that such a reflector stick will reduce side swipe accidents

    Al

  3. #3
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    The goal is to create a point of reference for drivers. While I believe that some incidents are caused out of spite, the majority are caused because drivers have no idea how close they are to the cyclists. This will give cyclists that extra couple of inches between the car and themselves, hopefully reducing incidents. This product is mostly made for commuters as safety is more important than speed.

  4. #4
    Bent_Rider
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    I"ve seen such a device with a small flag on it.

  5. #5
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    I'm with noisebeam on this. I like the abilty to filter alongside long lines of stopped traffic (in a cautious manner though ). Plus here in DC I often have to pass through barricades meant to stop cars but open just enough for poeple and bikes to pass through.

    Side note - I heard of a guy who mounted a serated washer on the end of one these things. I imagine it left quite an impression on many a driver who got too close

  6. #6
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    1. Some cyclists have rigged up such devices themselves
    2. Most cyclist dont' want such a thing hanging off their bike
    3. Most cyclist want the ability to pass things (including cars) with closer than 22" clearance when under their control
    4. There is not reason to suspect that such a reflector stick will reduce side swipe accidents

    Al
    5. There are commercially made and patented versions of this product on the market already.

  7. #7
    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    Better idea. A stick that goes out both ways (but only a bit more than the width of handlebars) and also has yellow blinkie turn signals... One small wire going to a headlight with it's own blinkies and the buttons to activate them.

    Actually, i saw one of these a few years ago. Folded straight back when not in use, but never saw one again. I think turn signals will fast be becoming mandatory in a lot of areas. Hand signals are tough to read sometimes, tough to use others (around a fast corner one handed? I can but i have big bi's Most cyclists i see don't, or from a stop when both hands are needed while accelerating. I think some drivers are ticked off cause they don't know what we're doing. Now that LED's are getting cheap and can run off of light batteries i figure it's a matter of time...

  8. #8
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I have this fun idea that something could be done with smoke and mirrors (and lasers)

    Like a smoke generator up front, deflected into a cloud around cyclist. Mirrors direct laser scanner to project the image of an (armed) Hummer around the cyclist - complete with virtual turn signals. All in a neat lightweight package stored in the top tube.



    Al

  9. #9
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    You mean something like this:

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/flag/flag.htm

    ?

  10. #10
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    I think that is a good start for the product and ours would be quite similar, but I think the idea could be dramatically improved. Adding a small strobe and creating a much better attachment piece (quick-release) could really benefit this product. Also, in all of the bike shops I have been to in the US, I have never seen a product like this, meaning that they have not properly targeted the US market.

  11. #11
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    For whatever it's worth, I would not use such a product. Mounting a device that sticks out to the side is as much a hinderance as a help. Using the product means that I must be extra careful at traffic lights to ensure that I don't scrape the pole against a car. In addition, something that sticks out like this adds to the wind resistance of the bike. It may be minor, but consider that cyclists spend considerable sums for minor aerodynamic improvements as it is.

  12. #12
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    I think the spring mounting on the Flashflag is superior to a quick release, because it will continue to make contact with the car as it passes too close. I like your idea of mounting a strobe near the end, as your light should mark your extremity and not your centre-line.

  13. #13
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCCommuter
    You mean something like this:

    http://nordicgroup.us/s78/flag/flag.htm

    ?
    Better one same deal but with a hardened metal spike instead of a flasher with a warnign on flag saying

    Caution flag post is equiped with a sharp point.
    Pass saftly please

  14. #14
    mizu no kokoro yama's Avatar
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    22 inches signalise the car-driver that it's OK to pass with this distance.

    The only solution looks like this, but honestly I wouldn't mount it onto my bicycle

    http://tandem-fahren.de/Mitglieder/F...cture-004.html

  15. #15
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Train
    I'm with noisebeam on this. I like the abilty to filter alongside long lines of stopped traffic (in a cautious manner though ). Plus here in DC I often have to pass through barricades meant to stop cars but open just enough for poeple and bikes to pass through.

    Side note - I heard of a guy who mounted a serated washer on the end of one these things. I imagine it left quite an impression on many a driver who got too close
    "filter"- when there wouldn't be enough room to "pass on the right" with a flag sticking out. I hate it when bicyclists do that. It means it is too narrow to pass the cyclist safely AGAIN after the light changes.

  16. #16
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    To be effective, it would have to stick out 4 feet or more, and there's no way I'm going to ride with that much ballast hanging off the side of my bike.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    the Best Cycling Safety Device Is Between Your Ears

  18. #18
    demon speeder soda's Avatar
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    I didn't and wouldn't buy the "improved" device. I have an extendable baton that I keep in the daisy chain of my shoulder strap which I can whip out and grip both it and the left handlebar to give me a buffer when I feel it's necessary. It's not attached to the bike so if a car hits it, I stay up. When not in use, I push it back to minimun size and put it back in it's holder. Also doubles as a "don't **** with me" device if/when I get into those situations.

    And that dude on the bike in the snow needs to just buy a motorcycle or car. Use the timed saved commuting to get exercise in the gym or just take a stroll in the elements if that's why you're riding. The producers of the 40 year old virgin must have used him as a model but then decided to tone down the image.
    Last edited by soda; 10-13-05 at 10:18 AM.
    *insert some super cool statement here to make me as cool as the rest of the super cool signature gang*

  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gstahl1
    I think that is a good start for the product and ours would be quite similar, but I think the idea could be dramatically improved. Adding a small strobe and creating a much better attachment piece (quick-release) could really benefit this product. Also, in all of the bike shops I have been to in the US, I have never seen a product like this, meaning that they have not properly targeted the US market.

    It could also mean they don't sell. If you don't know the real reason, the business plan of yours is backwards. Find a need or a desire first. Then come up with something to fill it. This is what most inventors do, they do it backwards. That's why they run out of money.

    If you do an internet search you can come up with at least two different versions mentioned in these forums. There are others on line. They are sold in the UK at bike shops now. I had one approved and possibly made my another country, Possibly The Netherlands. My guess is that they only sell well enough in countries where commuting to work by bike is very common. I've seen them with lights without lights etc. if it is going to stick out to the side you better hinge it at the rear of the bike so that when it is hit by a car coming by it will pivot in well behind your leg. And not smash your leg. This will limit the length of the arm.

    Read Rayin's post. Did you search the patent office yet?

  20. #20
    mizu no kokoro yama's Avatar
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    I used to have this device on my bike when I was a little kid:

    http://www.fahrradlexikon.de/bilder/Abstandhalter.jpg

    You can still buy it in Germany nowadays, but like I said before, I think it's kinda dangerous because it misleads drivers to undershoot the right distance.

  21. #21
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    On some of the narrow roads I ride on, I don't think drivers would appreciate me taking up another two feet of space to the left of me. I'm already giving myself 3-4 feet on the right which means they need to move into the opposite lane to pass within a reasonable distance (4 (to the right) + 2.5 (bike width) + 3 (to my left) = 9.5 in a ~10 foot wide lane). I do like the idea of turn signals though. I would use them if I had them.

  22. #22
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Better idea would be an disposable camera that cyclist could use to record license plate numbers of vehicles that are driving unsafe for conditions.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  23. #23
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    On some of the narrow roads I ride on, I don't think drivers would appreciate me taking up another two feet of space to the left of me. I'm already giving myself 3-4 feet on the right which means they need to move into the opposite lane to pass within a reasonable distance (4 (to the right) + 2.5 (bike width) + 3 (to my left) = 9.5 in a ~10 foot wide lane). I do like the idea of turn signals though. I would use them if I had them.
    Which brings up an interesting question. If the law says (as it does in AZ) that vehicles must pass with at least 3ft clearance would that 3ft be measured from the handlebar/body of the bike/cyclist or from an flexible breakaway object hanging off the bike that is intended to show the 3ft distance? I would assume the later.

    Al

  24. #24
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yama
    22 inches signalise the car-driver that it's OK to pass with this distance.

    The only solution looks like this, but honestly I wouldn't mount it onto my bicycle

    http://tandem-fahren.de/Mitglieder/F...cture-004.html
    Lol i bet he makes a lot of drivers jelous. While they are all stuck slipping and sliding around the roads hes just powering along

  25. #25
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_cyclist
    To be effective, it would have to stick out 4 feet or more, and there's no way I'm going to ride with that much ballast hanging off the side of my bike.
    I feel fairly confortable if a driver slows and passes me with at least 2 foot of space. If they give me a double tap on the horn and wait for me to notice them they can pass me prety much as close as they wan long as i know they are there and they go slow by me.

    I was out yesterday and heard and seen 2 things ive never seen or heard before. Guy with a intercom system say car on your left before passing. And a full blown ricer (witht he works big exaust big wing the kciker box graphics and ground effects kits. Normal ricer gear pluss one item that wasnt. A bike rack and a damn nice one to. It was one of those ones with the nice strap system that folded up against the trunk. He had it extended though. I seen him at silver creek and said hey dont you think your wheely bars are a bit on the high side? He replied there not wheely bars you id... Oh hey. I guess he thought i was some one in a car saying that till he relized i was on a bike. Was pretty funny. Turns out he has put a little over 6k miles on his bikes this year. One is a cannondale r600 the other is a cannondale scaple mtb.

    As for cars and safe passing distance i would say nearly any distance is safe if the driver and cyclists agree and the driver passes slow and careful. Long as both are fully aware of what the other is doing you could pass or be passed with out any danger as close as 6 or 8 inches. In when a mortorist passes close with out the cyclists permision when it gets dangerous.

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