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Next generation bicycle lights. Be visible, understood and expected by other vehicles, whatever the weather, angle and situation.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Blinkers (Next generation bicycle lights. Be visible, understood and expected by other vehicles, whatever the weather, angle and situation.)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-04-30

Bicycle usage is increasing worldwide, especially in urban areas. They are already the most used means of transportation for more than 40 million EU citizens. Nevertheless, cycling cannot be considered a safe means of transport due to the greater vulnerability of the riders who are relatively unprotected road users interacting with traffic of high speed and mass, suffering the most severe consequences in collisions with other road users. They have just two wheels to balance, no chassis to protect them and no devices to communicate with other vehicles. Such vulnerability is reflected in high accident rates: in the EU alone, 2,112 cyclists died in road accidents in 2014 and every year, more than 200,000 non-fatal accidents involve cyclists in the EU.

Statistics clearly show that more than 55% of these accidents occur at crossroads, junctions and roundabouts in urban areas and currently cyclists lack appropriate technical equipment to keep them safe in such common traffic situations. However, cyclists still use hand signals to indicate their intention of turning entailing several drawbacks (not visible at night, difficult to execute at hihg-speed, and not appropriate for specific users such as children or elderly). Moreover, drivers often overtake cyclists too close for comfort. Close passes account for around a third of all threatening incidents between drivers and cyclists and drivers also have difficulties in respecting the cyclist’s space when the cyclist brakes/decelerates.

As cycling is encouraged, bike safety accessories become more fundamental for the EC to complete its ambitious Transport 2050 plan that outlines plans to ensure that the EU is a world leader in safety and security of transport. Furthermore, as e-bikes become more widespread nowadays, the number of crashes in which they are involved is also growing. Moreover, 29% of e-bikers experienced a safety incident that would not have happened on a conventional bike as other road users underestimate the speed of e-bikes. Studies show that e-bike–related trauma may involve serious injuries and have typical injury patterns that resemble those seen in motorcycle-related injuries. In the Netherlands, more cyclists than car occupants lost their lives on Dutch roads last year, with the number of people killed while riding their bicycles attributed to a sharp rise in men aged over 65 riding e-bikes.

To address this problems we have developed Blinkers, a holistic plug-and-play safely solution for cyclist. Blinkers’ system architecture comprises of front and rear blinkers, smart lights, a laser perimeter and a control pad - through which the whole systems operates. The system is designed to solve cyclists’ problems in urban environments namely - visibility and predictability when changing directions; obviousness when braking and that their safety space respected. During the Feasibility Study we surveyed early adopters and found that the current features of Blinkers meet or exceed the expectations of users so we decided to focus our product development on adapting Blinkers to meet the needs of additional growing markets namely, e-bikes and e-bike sharing schemes (anti-vandal system and charging system).
Between 1st January 2018 and 30th April 2018, we undertook a Feasibility Study under the SME Instrument to determine the technical and economic viability of Blinkers. Throughout the Feasibility Study, we reviewed our progress to date and defined a sound development plan based on the remaining activities to be executed for an optimum mass commercialization. In late 2017, we complete manufacturing and sold 2,800 Blinkers to use for market validation. We surveyed these early adopters and found that the current features of Blinkers meet or exceed the expectations of users so we decided to focus our product development on adpating Blinkers to meet the needs of additional growing markets namely, e-bikes and e-bike sharing schemes. We have planned pilot tests in two separate bike sharing schemes; one e-bike public scheme (i.e BiciMAD in Madrid) and one with eMobike, a private bike sharing scheme provider. We will use these trails to assess the technical development of Blinkers for its use in these market segments but also gather feedback from end-users of each to create case study reports that will help attract future customers during commercialisation.

Also during the Feasibility Study, we evaluated the business sustainability by means of a detailed market analysis (size, barriers, customer segments, competitors) and prepared a commercialisation strategy and a detailed financial analysis. A large available market was identified which was narrowed down to 4 important high growth e-bike target European countries. Moreover, we finalised our supply and validated our value chain. During the study we also secured all the strategic partnerships required for scale-up as well as 20 new retailers to stock our innovative product.
Safety concern is the most deterring factor barrier to cycling: more than 3 million Londoners don´t cycle because of safety reasons and the safety concern is worse for women. As a result, cycling could play an even bigger role in personal mobility around the world if cyclist safety were improved. A dramatic increase in cycling could also save society €20 trillion cumulatively between 2015 and 2050, and cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11% in 2050. Moreover, the exponential growth of e-bikes will need to be match by accompanying safety accessories as early studies show the increase risk of incidents for e-bikes

Cyclists do not want to think whether their safety solution covers a specific safety scenario, but they want to be covered in every situation and from every angle. Blinkers remains the only system that takes a holistic approach to urban cycling safety and makes the cyclist visible and predictable in every situation, from any angle of vision, road type or action (deceleration, change of direction and braking). Blinkers is also the only solution to incorporate an automatic e-bike charger resulting in it being the go-to safety product for this booming market.
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