If you don’t live in a large city, it’s difficult to fully understand the genuine danger that cyclists pose every day. A good friend was crushed against a railing on her bike by a bus that hadn’t seen her, and she was only saved by a passing man who was able to pull her out at the very last second.
It’s a serious subject, and the statistics speak for themselves. 122 cyclists were killed in the UK alone last year. An admittedly, relatively small number however looked proportionately with the number of road users to deaths, far too high. These deaths are even more wasteful when you consider that the majority of accidents happen under the same conditions; a driver failing to spot a cyclist at a junction or crossing.
Emily Brooke however, has launched a startup which she hopes will significantly improve cyclist safety by making users of her product more visible to drivers. Whilst there are already plenty of cyclist lights on the market already, Emily’s creation – Blaze – breaks the mould by projecting a green bike symbol onto the ground ahead of the cyclist. Even if the rider is several metres behind the visible spot of the rear view mirrors, the projection won’t be, thus giving motorists prior warning of upcoming bikers.
The way in which Emily’s creation took off should inspire other budding entrepreneurs with a strong physical product idea. The website Kickstarter describes itself simply as a funding platform for creative projects. Not entirely different to the well known Shut up and take my money. Designers pitch their idea on the Kickstarter for potential investors or interested parties to look at. The amount they wish to raise and time within which they hope to do so are displayed beside the idea, and when the time runs out either they will have reached their target funding goal and those who pledged money will be charged – or they won’t have hit it, and nobody will be charged. As the website states, it’s everything or nothing.
Blaze hoped to raise £25,000 and was in the pleasant position of having had 782 “backers” who pledged an impressive £55,000. From there, Emily has been able to design the Blaze website and begin taking pre orders, as the first patches are built and made ready to ship.
If you then, have a good idea for any creative project; whether it’s making a film, designing clothes or, like Emily, releasing a unique piece of technology; then it’s worth giving Kickstarter a try. If you can put together one strong presentation that makes the product attractive to people, you have the opportunity to raise more in a few weeks than you had in the past few months combined. Check out the Blaze promo video below to see Blaze in all it's glory.
Illegibly scrawled by Ethan Loughrey.
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