Inventor Jim Thompson has told BikeBiz of a unique lighting product he plans to bring to market, dubbed the Jimmy Beam Down Light.
The Jimmy Beam Down Light creates a 'footprint of light' around the cyclist that can be seen by other road users on their approach, giving the cyclist what Thompson describes as a "context of presence, a visual girth which drivers can see, relate to and react accordingly."
According to tests by Thompson and his team, drivers typically seem to give a little more space to a cyclist carrying the down light system over one that does not.
Thompson told BikeBiz: "The downward lighting helps to give ‘context’ to the cyclist. To demonstrate this some trials were conducted in a controlled environment. For the purposes of the trial the two bikes that were used both had forward and rear lights fitted. One of the bikes had downward lights fitted and the other did not. With both bike’s stationary during the trial, the driver of a Heavy Goods Vehicle went wider to overtake the bike fitted with the downward lights, than passing the bike with only forward and rear lights fitted.
“When the driver was questioned about the manoeuvre he confirmed that the footprint of light surrounding the cyclist helped in judging a safe clearance when overtaking.
“He also said that he saw the bike with downward lights a lot earlier than the bike without the downward lights which gave him more time to adjust his position.”
Thompson came up with the concept while thinking over the current laws on lighting for bicycles. Cyclists are required under the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations (RVLR) to display a front and rear lamp. These, however, often do not project, or give any ‘context’ or ‘girth’, to the width of the cyclist or the bicycle, believes Thompson.
The Jimmy Beam Down Light consists of two sets of low-watt lights that are downward facing but can be adjusted on the vertical axis to offer a wider footprint if required. One unit fits at the front of the bike and one unit fits at the rear. The wider footprint is also said to be useful for HGV drivers whose blind spots often obscure cyclists.
For further information on the product contact Jim Thomson on 07740 822300, or go to the web site: www.jimmybeamdownlights.com
Update: the below image may clear up some of the concerns about being caught in a blind spot. A pair of Jimmy Beam Down Lights are expected to retail for around £140-£150 with batteries included.