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Bike Indicator Queries

Old 09-20-18, 05:38 AM
  #1  
wheeliegang
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Bike Indicator Queries

I am doing GCSE Product Design and have chosen to make a bike indicator as my product. I am currently in the process of taking in stakeholder requirements so I would be very grateful if I could receive some feedback below this post!

I already have some requirements so I will list them below to give you an idea:
  • Flashing lights need to be seen from all angles so all surrounding cars can be alerted of the bikes direction
  • Materials that are used need to be waterproof and easy to maintain and the whole product needs to be shockproof and put together with rustproof screws if they are needed
  • The handlebar lights can’t stick out too far but the indicator needs to be big enough so vehicles can see them from a distance
  • The indicator lights need to be amber so car drivers can instantly acknowledge them as indicators
  • The buttons or switches to indicate should be easily accessible so the cyclist can focus on the road
Please feel free to emphasize the importance of the requirements above too.

Thank you for your time!

Last edited by wheeliegang; 09-20-18 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Forgot some info
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Old 09-20-18, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by wheeliegang View Post
I am doing GCSE Product Design and have chosen to make a bike indicator as my product. I am currently in the process of taking in stakeholder requirements so I would be very grateful if I could receive some feedback below this post!

I already have some requirements so I will list them below to give you an idea:
  • Flashing lights need to be seen from all angles so all surrounding cars can be alerted of the bikes direction
  • Materials that are used need to be waterproof and easy to maintain and the whole product needs to be shockproof and put together with rustproof screws if they are needed
  • The handlebar lights canít stick out too far but the indicator needs to be big enough so vehicles can see them from a distance
  • The indicator lights need to be amber so car drivers can instantly acknowledge them as indicators
  • The buttons or switches to indicate should be easily accessible so the cyclist can focus on the road
Please feel free to emphasize the importance of the requirements above too.

Thank you for your time!
Ideally, automatic adjustment to lighting conditions--brighter during the day vs. night.
Blinking, not fast strobing which confuses onlookers as to speed and distance..
Low battery indicators--going to be really hard to keep track of how much use between charges.
Lights need to be arrow shaped, just being amber will not be enough to make it clear they're turn signals and not just running lights since blink is used so much more on bikes than cars, and cars have amber running lights.
Turning them off upon completion of a turn needs to be at least as easy as turning them on.
It's going to be very tricky to make them both easy to activate AND not prone to accidental activation.

I assume part of your process is to look at motorcycle implementations to see if elements of any of them are suitable.
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Old 09-20-18, 07:48 AM
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In Sweden, bicycles aren't allowed to use indicators. Wouldn't surprise me if the other Scandinavian countries had a similar law. Check out the legal situation before designing anything.
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Old 09-20-18, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
In Sweden, bicycles aren't allowed to use indicators. Wouldn't surprise me if the other Scandinavian countries had a similar law. Check out the legal situation before designing anything.
Good point. I can tell you that Germany does not allow blinking rear lights on bikes. I can imagine blinking turns signals also being verboten.
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Old 09-20-18, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Good point. I can tell you that Germany does not allow blinking rear lights on bikes. I can imagine blinking turns signals also being verboten.
Over here, the reasoning is that bicycles shouldn't be erroneously identified as motorcycles. So brake lights and horns are also illegal.
Not that I've ever heard of someone fined for having a horn though...
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Old 09-20-18, 08:31 AM
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Each province in Canada has different laws for bicycles, and some time ago, the law in Alberta was that a bicycle could only have 2 lights maximum. I did that that was rather odd, but that was a while ago, so it may have changed.

Ah yes, here we are:

Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation:

For cycling after dark, equip the bicycle
with at least one headlamp (but not
more than two), one red tail lamp, and
at least one red reflector mounted on
the rear of the bicycle. Wear bright and
reflective clothing.

Also: https://www.lawnow.org/bicycle-law-in-alberta/


So I don't know how signal lights would fit into that.

Last edited by Machka; 09-20-18 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 09-20-18, 08:51 AM
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I have to wonder whether this thread is an attempt to solicit financial backing.
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Old 09-20-18, 09:00 AM
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What if you embed the indicator lights on the reflective vest. So technically you are not flouting the law in Sweden or Germany since the blinking lights are not attached to the bike. Also for the N+1 cases, you only need to buy one reflective vest.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:04 AM
  #9  
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If you are building a bike indicator it should have a loud very thick New Zealand accent and when you point it at a bike it should say "that's a bike". Totally useless device except maybe for those who cannot see or those who truly don't know what a bike is but would be fun. Obviously it doesn't have to a be a New Zealand accent but I think that would give it some pizazz and make me want to buy one.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I have to wonder whether this thread is an attempt to solicit financial backing.
The OP indicated, pun intended, that they are doing GCSE Product Design, in other words, school, which required them to crate a product. They chose a bike indicator as their product, and asked for input.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:33 AM
  #11  
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Lots of products out there, in lots of different configurations:
Bike mounted
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/INBI...812123438.html

Wrist mounted:
https://useeme.bike/en

Waist mounted:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ors-and-automa

Helmet mounted:

https://newatlas.com/lumos-bike-helmet/38441/

that should do you for research.

The rest is left to the student as an exercise.
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Old 09-20-18, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
If you are building a bike indicator it should have a loud very thick New Zealand accent and when you point it at a bike it should say "that's a bike". Totally useless device except maybe for those who cannot see or those who truly don't know what a bike is but would be fun. Obviously it doesn't have to a be a New Zealand accent but I think that would give it some pizazz and make me want to buy one.
I was wondering what a bike indicator is.
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Old 09-20-18, 12:02 PM
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No to bike indicators. If you don't what a bike is by now, no amount of indicators can help you.
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Old 09-20-18, 12:10 PM
  #14  
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handlebar-mounted facing forward would need to be pretty central---and the issue of real estate is real.

Anywhere on the tops is out, and anywhere on the hoods/drops won't work because ... hands go there. But int he middle oft he bars many riders have a headlight or two, and a computer, sometimes a phone, sometimes a bell. .... you might need to mount a separate bar on extended stem faceplate screws that extends across a couple inches in front of the bars, with blinkers ate each end.

In the back, anything too wide could potentially interfere with the rider's legs---something like a tall, widish tail light (1.5 inches by four inches" With a left arrow on top, and right arrow on the bottom, and a tail light in the middle? But if it is a bright tail light, it might mask the arrows,.

Some riders mount those really slender, tall tail lights on their chain stays. That works very well, but they aren't wide enough to actually form arrow shapes --- but so long as the width was to the outside (not into the spokes) you might get away with chainstay mounts.
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Old 09-20-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I have to wonder whether this thread is an attempt to solicit financial backing.

No, this is probably a teen ager engaged in the equivalent of a school project

GCSE is stuff they usually give 15-16 year olds.
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Old 09-20-18, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No, this is probably a teen ager engaged in the equivalent of a school project

GCSE is stuff they usually give 15-16 year olds.
Man, I wish I had the whole internet doing my homework for me... kids have it so easy today.
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Old 09-20-18, 02:02 PM
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Should be a neat project.
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Old 09-20-18, 02:14 PM
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The only thing i would want would be some sort of luminescent paint on my gloves---more gear on my bike I don't need, and more to think about when trying to maneuver in traffic ... no thanks. I would like it if my gloves lit up when I used hand signals, though. But ... I am not about to get battery-powered gloves.
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Old 09-20-18, 02:45 PM
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Product design and manufacture is the easy part. Ensuring effectiveness of the product is the difficulty. Yep, you can easily light something up; however making that light communicate something to a motorist is a whole 'nuther thing all together. The problem with indicator lights on a bike is that, because of the narrow distance between lights, there is not really a reliably perceived reference. Even something like an animated LED arrow could be misinterpreted by a driver.

I recommend scouting your Library for a copy of the Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics. It has a great discussion on signalling devices.
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Old 09-20-18, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
I was wondering what a bike indicator is.
I help explain these things to the masses.
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Old 09-20-18, 03:14 PM
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Each state will have it's own laws regarding lighting requirements for bicycles, so it would be a good idea to start with research in your own state's laws, before you finalize your project.

As an example, I live in Florida, and Florida law requires that bicyclists use hand signals to indicate their direction of turn. The law doesn't allow for some other means of indicating a turn, such as your Bicycle Indicator design would provide. Even so, the Florida law states:

"Every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a lamp and reflector on the rear each exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear. A bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by this section."

Note the last sentence, which allows for other lighting, without specifying what the other lighting may be. So, in essence, your Bicycle Indicator wouldn't be an illegal addition to a bike, but neither would it eliminate the requirement to use hand signals. Your Indicator would be redundant.

And, for the hardcore C&V enthusiasts, when you ride in Florida, at night, you MUST have a reflector on the rear. Oh noooooo....
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Old 09-20-18, 08:13 PM
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The only indicator system I have considered buying was one in which the system was activated by a double squeeze of the brake lever on that side, or some such thing. It was a kickstarter or indigogo or something like that which was not funded. Taking your hands off as you approach a turn is a bad idea.
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Old 09-20-18, 08:39 PM
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An interesting idea, notwithstanding the legal issues.

This is my idea as part of a integrated system for flat bars. The two handle bar indicator probes plug into the bar ends and have a yellow LED light bar that transects the half sphere front to rear so it can be seen from the front, side, and rear. The light bar and half sphere are molded together so it won't fall apart. It has a power supply cord that travels through the handle bar to a central battery pack that also powers the headlight and rear light. The battery pack is removable for USB charging. The indicators are activated by thumb buttons on the bar grips, perhaps the bar end light and actuator button are part of a complete hand grip set that you just slip on.

Actually, the power supply cord could travel outside the handle bar for more universal easy set up but an internally routed complete system for all lights would be very tidy.


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Old 09-21-18, 05:32 AM
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If the power cord ran inside the bar you'd need to drill a hole for the cord to exit---be sure to chamfer the holes to not create stress risers.
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Old 09-21-18, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
Each state will have it's own laws regarding lighting requirements for bicycles, so it would be a good idea to start with research in your own state's laws, before you finalize your project.

As an example, I live in Florida, and Florida law requires that bicyclists use hand signals to indicate their direction of turn. The law doesn't allow for some other means of indicating a turn, such as your Bicycle Indicator design would provide. Even so, the Florida law states:

"Every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a lamp and reflector on the rear each exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear. A bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by this section."

Note the last sentence, which allows for other lighting, without specifying what the other lighting may be. So, in essence, your Bicycle Indicator wouldn't be an illegal addition to a bike, but neither would it eliminate the requirement to use hand signals. Your Indicator would be redundant.

And, for the hardcore C&V enthusiasts, when you ride in Florida, at night, you MUST have a reflector on the rear. Oh noooooo....
I'm pretty sure the GCSE reference indicates this is a British teenager, so he/she is going to want to know UK laws, EU laws (maybe), and US laws to determine if there is a single internationally marketable product. Since some countries ban blinking lights on bikes, there might have to be a solid signal version of this, for example.
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