We have all been in that dreaded situation as a cyclist. You are cycling down the road inching towards a junction, you are thinking about unclipping your cleats whilst signalling left or right with your arm towards the direction you wish to go. You have come to a stop, checked both ways and began to creep out with you hands on the hoods,but suddenly you have to pull the brakes; a car comes flying down the road giving you the scare of your life. You breath a sigh of relief and carry on. You were the lucky one, unfortunately around 75% of cycling accidents occur in urban areas during peak commuting time, and 80% of those occur at road junctions. Why? The streets are crowded, there are plenty of distractions for the driver and visibility is often obscured. Also, the hand signalling we do as cyclists is often brief which could easily be missed by a driver. But worry no more, Dominic Walters, Founder of BrightSpark Global, believes he has a solution that makes it clearer for drivers to understand our intentions as cyclists whilst making it more visible for almost any angle.
In this interview, we talk to Dominic about the inspiration behind the new startup and his plans for the future.
Brightspark appears to be quite an innovative product! How did it all start and what was the inspiration behind the design?
DW: Surprisingly the inspiration came when I nearly got in an accident while driving my car. A cyclist turned without indicting and I almost hit him. Driving in London daily, this wasn’t the first time I had seen a cyclist take serious risks. I thought that if he had indicators then my life as a car driver would be made far easier. From there, I also thought that at times I struggle to see cyclists at night with their tiny single light (or no lights at all) so the twin light idea came to mind….It all grew from there.
It looks like a proper piece of engineering, was it all your own handiwork?
DW: Yes, I will humbly take all the credit. Its 2 years of blood sweat and tears and I am very proud with the final result, I just hope others see the benefit too.
What has been the highs and lows so far?
DW: The highs are certainly seeing the product evolve. The CAD designs, the prototypes, the final working prototype and everybody's backing verbally is all wonderful. As for the lows, well funding it all myself has proved incredibly stressful and I never realised how costly it would be. Its a 24 hour a day job.
Lets, get onto the product itself, tell us exactly what it is and how does it work?
DW: It serves many purposes, all with the intention of making cyclists safer on the road and secondly we want to help the relationship between cyclists and drivers which we all know could be better!
DW: Brightspark has indicators which help cyclists with indicating at night and day. These are operated with the thumb so no hands have to be taken off the bars if a cyclists doesn't want to. We aren’t paying its an alternative to indicating but it ill help with balance and showing intentions to other road users and pedestrians. Laser indicators come on which flash on the road so that people 360 degrees around the cyclist can see the cyclists planned turn. When the indicators are on, the bars vibrate reminding the cyclist to turn them off once the turn is made. Twin lights uptown 300 lumens on either side so that drivers will acknowledge a vehicle on the road instantly. Also a driver will see the width of the cyclist.Easily removable and foldable so that when a bike is parked up, they take 5 seconds to remove and put in a bag to prevent theft,
Is it easy to attach / detach from a bike?
DW: As above…..SIMPLE! Attach a collar with an allen key initially and from then on, they go on and off with one simple twist. 10-15 seconds is all you need to put them both on or off.
Are you targeting any specific customers, or does this suit everyone?
DW: Brightpark is primarily for commuters, families and cyclists who just enjoy doing a few miles here and there.
Final question, BrightSpark is a new product, when can our lucky customers buy one?
DW: We will be launching our Indigogo campaign on 16th Feb (when we will be at the London Bike Show) and there will be some tasty discounts on offer upon launch, so get in on the day!! We should be shipping by November this year all things going well.
Well, good luck Dominic in your Indiegogo campaign, we will be keeping track of your progress. If you would like to read more interviews with startups or reviews on startup products, then please sign up for our newsletter below: