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Bottle Light set to transform cycling safety

by Kelly Stone

Sandy Walker with a prototype of his Bottle Light invention.As UniSA unwinds from its 13th year as a sponsor of the Santos Tour Down Under, an invention by one of our lecturers is set to make cycling safer for all recreational riders.

Industrial Design lecturer Sandy Walker has invented Safety Bottle Light, a water bottle fitted with a removable and rechargeable LED light, which provides 360 degree visibility of the bike and rider for approaching drivers.

Walker is working with ITEK Ventures, the technology commercialisation arm of the University, to commercialise the product so it will be available for recreational riders to purchase sometime this year.

Walker says his primary motivation in inventing Safety Bottle Light is to decrease the risk of cyclist-car accidents due to poor visibility, particularly at dawn and dusk.

“I’m a cyclist myself and I usually ride in the early mornings. As a cyclist, one of your concerns is always visibility to other traffic,” he says.

“Last year I was involved in a Design Institute of Australia exhibition around the theme of water and I was thinking what I could design for this exhibition. I was looking at sustainability, safety and cycling and then I started wondering if you could turn a water bottle, which all cyclists carry, into a light source which has a large surface area to increase visibility, particularly from the side view of a bike.

Cyclist riding at night with the illuminated Bottle Light.“One of the problems with current bike lights is the front light shines forward and the rear light shines backwards, but side visibility is a problem. When you’re riding on the road or through a round-a-bout and you see a car approaching from the side, you think ‘have they seen me, are they going to keep coming?’.”

Walker produced prototypes for the exhibition and, after receiving positive feedback from fellow recreational cyclists, decided to approach ITEK with his final design.

ITEK has patented the invention and is currently negotiating with companies to take on manufacturing and distribution rights for the product.

Walker believes his invention will not only be popular with cyclists, but could also be used by early morning runners, for children’s back packs, and for outdoor activities such as hiking and bushwalking.

Walker has invented and commercialised other products in the past, including a range of sports surfaces for playing netball, basketball, inline hockey and volleyball, called Orbcourt, which is currently being manufactured in the United States.

Click here for more information on Orbcourt.

To watch ITEK’s video on Safety Bottle Light, click here.