More on the “LightLane” Concept

Many of you have probably read about the “LightLane” concept dreamed up by the fertile minds at Altitude, Inc. of Somerville, Massachusetts. The concept has been covered on a wide variety of cycling and design blogs, but there wasn’t a whole lot of information included.


As a professional librarian, the quest for more information is near and dear to my heart, so I sent the designers, Evan Gant and Alex Tee, an email. Here’s what Evan had to say about the concept:

Thank you for showing interest in our LightLane concept. We are extremely excited about the response it has been receiving, which has spurred us to continue down the development path. The origin of the idea was purely conceptual, as Alex and I had entered a design competition to promote commuting by bicycle (editor’s note: the design competition was Bicycle Design’s excellent “Commuter Bike for the Masses” contest). Having witnessed several friends be hit by cars while in traffic, we felt the intimidation of sharing the road was one of the bigger barriers to commuting by bicycle.

However, we also noticed that our personal comfort on roads with bicycle lanes was much improved so we set out to understand what the differences were between these two situations. Clearly one of the biggest benefits of bicycle lanes is that there is an established common boundary that both drivers and riders respect and must stay within. However, this requires a great deal of resources and planning to implement, so we decided to focus on the fact that the bicycle lane establishes a safety buffer outside of the bicycle’s footprint.

After experimenting with physical ways of increasing the perceived size of the bicycle, we quickly realized all of these would compromise the rider’s safety by increasing the probability of accidental clipping. It was at this point that we decided to project a visual boundary onto the adjacent pavement using a laser. Although it doesn’t establish a clear and predictable path for a rider to follow, it does encourage a driver to provide the rider with a wider berth by capturing their attention in a different way.

Currently we are building a beta prototype where we will be experimenting with different laser colors and orientations. Once the optimal laser configuration has been established and validated, we will quickly develop a fully functional unit where we will focus our efforts on several aspects of usability including theft prevention, cleanability and corrosion resistance. Concurrently we will be looking for manufacturing and distribution partners.

It’s been truly remarkable to see the excitement that this concept has generated, especially considering it was just a fun quirky idea to begin with. What’s been equally interesting in my opinion is to see how the product has pushed the debate of who owns the roads. This well established debate has been a common point of discussion within my own family, and clearly the LightLane, nor any product, will solve it. Instead we hope that it connects with people in a new and fun way.

Thanks, Evan, for responding — there have been lots of great comments on the various sites that covered this concept, including different laser colors (green lasers for more daytime visibility) and even aiming the lasers into following motorists’ eyes (not such a good idea). Let’s hope this concept reaches a prototype soon, as the idea behind it is full of possibility!

Los Angeles Bicycle Community Center



Los Angeles Set To Benefit from New Bicycle Community Center

LOS ANGELES – Cyclists Inciting Change thru LIVE Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) announced that it will begin plans for an innovative new Bicycle Community Center in North East Los Angeles, thanks to initial funding from New Belgium Brewing Company.

The Bicycle Community Center will house an extensive bicycle education program, and provide a comprehensive set of resources that is sure to get more Los Angelenos riding their bikes for everyday transportation. Workshops will run the gamut, from teaching people to learn to ride for the very first time, to demonstrating working solutions that can haul a week’s worth of groceries home by bike.

The Center will also run the world’s first Social Bike Business program which will manufacture affordable transportation bicycles and equip qualifying low-income individuals with a transportation bicycle and the training to help them meet with their transportation needs. Area residents will also benefit from job training programs and additional business opportunities created by the Center. C.I.C.L.E. has partnered with international bicycle advocacy organization, One Street, for guidance on this new program that follows the principle of social business that adheres to the proven for-profit structure, but places the needs of people before profits.

“Bicycling is not only an environmentally friendly form of transportation but for many of our community’s residents who are transit dependent, it is also an effective and low cost means of contributing to their livelihoods,” said Councilmember Ed Reyes of the First District in Northeast Los Angeles when he learned about the program’s launch. “C.I.C.L.E’s social bike business project fulfills a great need in my district and I fully support their efforts.”

While the New Belgium funding makes the initial launch of the program possible, funding is still needed for the Center and the training programs. Those wanting to help should contact C.I.C.L.E. C.I.C.L.E.’s full name is Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange. Their work focuses on promoting the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice. Find their contact info and more at . Find out more about One Street at .

For more information, please contact Liz Elliott, Executive Director, 323.478.0060

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C.I.C.L.E. :: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange
Friendly Streets : Healthy Body : Happy Planet

phone: 323-478-0060

Stimulus Bike — A New Web Resource

Andy from Stimulus Bike alerted us to his new blog, and we thought we’d share it with you.


Just what is Stimulus Bike? Well,

Dubbed the “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” by Barack Obama, this economic stimulus package is still in development and no details are known for sure. Early reports indicated the total plan accounting for anywhere between $500 billion to $1.2 trillion over two years. In a recent interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Obama stated that he plans on $775 billion to be in this plan, with possibility to grow.

So what is your portion? The majority of this money will go towards major projects such as infrastructure, while approximately $310 billion may be allocated for tax breaks. Individuals may receive $500 per person ($1000 per couple) in the form of reduced tax withholding over 4 months. For those that receive a paycheck every two weeks, expect around $60 more on each paycheck.

What should I do with this money?
Use your economic stimulus money to buy a bike! Buy a new bike, a used bike, fix up your bike, get one for your kids, or donate the money to bike advocacy groups. A bike is a cheap yet effective way to get around, especially in combination with trains and buses where available. Many Americans just made New Year’s Resolutions to be green, to lose weight, or to budget their money better, and biking is a fantastic way to do all of those.

The site is low on content, as it is pretty new — still, this one bears watching, and surely it is a great idea: I mean, extra money is always great for a bike project!

Check out Stimulus Bike and sign the pledge.

Bike Signage Survey Help Needed

Forwarded to me by a friend of the East Coast Greenway, and appearing in their newsletter:

Click on the below link to take part in a brief signage survey developed by the East Coast Greenway.

This survey will provide preliminary data that will help us to get a proper hearing from the national committee now considering changes to our bicycle route, roadway, and trail signage. If you can spare 12 minutes to fill it out, you will have done much to help this important process. Thanks!


Year-End Tallies

We had quite a year of riding…and our “club” of readers who are also users posted some big numbers in our inaugural year.

As you can see from the sidebar (just below the links to our Interbike 2008 coverage), “club” members posted 41796 miles, saving $7592.94 in gasoline costs and preventing the release of 45975.6 lbs. of C02 into the atmosphere. All this from a group of 39 members…with only a dozen or so who regularly post their mileage to the club page!!! Bravo to each and every one of you!

The club leader this year was Alan Field (user “Fatall”) of Melbourne, Australia, who posted a whopping 4604 miles for 2008. For staff members, our own Russ Roca handily led the pack, coming in at #5. Former staff member Lance Lowry came in at #7, I came in at #10, Moe was at #12 and former staff member Jeff Rossini rounded things out at #14.

Posting miles is a lot of fun, and we like to showcase our combined efforts on the sidebar there. If you are a user, please consider joining our “club” (search for “” in the club search area). If you’re NOT a user, please consider that…it’s free for a basic membership and it is a great way to log your ride particulars and meet new cyclists in your area.

Happy riding in 2009!

A note about the gasoline savings: Normally, when I update our club stats (done periodically throughout the year…approximately once a month), I use the current average U.S. gasoline price as published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on their Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update page. For the year-end tally, I used their averaged gasoline price for the entire year of 2008, which is posted at their Short Term Energy Outlook page. In all of these calculations (gas savings and C02 emissions), we use an average mileage rate of 18 MPG…