Lane-Delimitating Lights Might Improve Nighttime Visibility for Motorcycles

The idea came into my head after seeing some very cool photos of the Lotus C-01 luxury superbike-engined retro machine and doing a write-up on that spectacular bike caught rolling down the street. Frankly, I first thought that the bright white light projected on the street was real and came from the bike.
However, after taking a closer and better look at the photos on designer Daniel Simon's page, I realized that the white stripes were an entirely different thing.

The fellows who shot the Lotus bike went creative and used what appear to be luminous stripes laid on the asphalt, and that lit the C-01 from below. The visual effect was truly neat, of course, but I was still stuck with the projected lights thing.

All of a sudden, I understood that this idea was indeed feasible and usable, too. I can't pretend I was the first to detail it, but I surely haven't read anything similar with direct and easy applicability in the motorcycle world.

For lack of a better name at this time, I'll go with the Lane Lights moniker, even though it might fly the kite for those who oppose lane splitting or lane sharing. I'll deal with that a bit later.

So what's that cool about the Lane Lights concept?

First of all, the Lane Lights is designed to help riders become more visible at night and in other low light conditions. Of course, it can be used in bike-pimping, but this is hardly my goal.

The closest thing to the Lane Lights is Samsung's Smart Bike Projects laser system for bicycles. Two laser modules project two lines adjacent to the bicycle, creating a virtual lane.

The idea is cool but terribly inefficient, as the ultra-thin laser lines will be impossible to see by others. The Lane Lights builds on this and takes things one step further in the functional realm.

Having anything laser on a motorbike is surely cool, but if that particular thing is not exactly helpful, I'd say it's only dead bulk. So I thought about replacing the laser with powerful LED modules.

LED bulbs went a long way in the last years, and they come now in all shapes and sizes, are even more energy-efficient and brighter, and draw less power from an electrical system. In fewer words, they are ideal for such a purpose.

The main thing behind the Lane Lights is that they are able to project a STRONG beam of bright white light onto the ground and even on the lower parts of the motorcycle.

Casting a bright light on the bike's surroundings will make it much more visible from any angle, while not having an impact on the headlight, taillight or turn signals. Most of the Lane Lights' light would be directed downwards, so it will not hinder other nighttime road users, either.

Because LED light module technology is very advanced these days, I am positive that a range of systems that would be easy to install on various bike types is a real possibility.

Such Lane Lights modules can be designed as permanent stick-on additions to a bike, or can be installed as bolt-on parts in certain areas of a motorcycle, while the handlebars or crash bars are probably the most sensible choices for installing the Lane Lights modules.

For the sake of cost efficiency, whoever decides to build the Lane Lights should, of course, invest a bit in some serious R&D to create as few different versions as possible and that would fit on as many bikes as possible.

Good industrial designers will most certainly not have that much of a hard time solving this problem and coming up with several Lane Lights module designs for road-going machines.

Powering them is again an easy task, as the LEDs don't need huge amounts of power and can, therefore, be fed via relatively thin and unobtrusive wires.

A very cool feature is installing a small light sensor in these modules, thus eliminating the need to power them on or off. This feature also means they would be engaged automatically when riding into a tunnel, for example.

Light sensors, such as those used in smartphones are extremely small and can be had very cheap, so using them would not raise the cost of the Lane Lights. Plus, their presence would significantly improve the functionality of the Lane Lights, possibly causing even the most conservative rider to be interested in them.

Needless to say, the casing could be easily colored to match the color of the bikes, and could come in both plastic and aluminum housing, making adopting this technology even easier.

As for the lane-splitting adversaries...

As mentioned, the Lane Lights name might not be the best possible, even though it nails the idea pretty well. Certain fellows would oppose it, following the same dumb logic that has led to the most hilarious court cases.

Namely, I believe the fact that projecting two light strips on the asphalt might confuse the drivers would be the main thing for potential complaints. And the fact that a biker would thus forcibly impose his or her own lane territory on the road can't be ruled out of these fellows’ discourse, either.

I've had to deal with such guys on several occasions, discussing equally trivial subjects and seeing them unnecessarily getting overexcited and even angry for nothing.

No, Lane Lights does not affect each motorist's right of way, right to use a specific lane, and neither should anyone consider using it as being aggressive behavior.

A device such as the Lane Lights only improves a motorcycle's visibility on dark roads and decreases the chances of other road users to miss its presence. And that is simply because it's the drivers who have made Sorry Mate I Didn't See You such a dreaded excuse.

So, who picks up my Lane Lights idea? If things work out well, a case of good beer should do.
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