LightLane concept paints laser bike lane for drivers to ignore


American bicyclists are a wistful lot. With the encroachment of an Obama presidency, rising gas prices and a recognized recession, they imagine that America's city streets will be reforged with dedicated bicycle lanes... and, as a bicyclist myself, I certainly hope that's the case. Still, with bicycle lanes costing $5,000 to $50,000 a mile to install, chances are pretty damn slim at a point where the government is squeezing bailout money out of each orifice.

This Yanko concept tries to fill in the gap between Velocipede Zembla and America's current set-up, where the only thing marking a street's bicycle lane is a pervasive encrusting of spilled bicyclist brains.

It's clever: lasers on each side of a bike project a bicycle lane for drivers to recognize. But it really does miss the point: America's bicycling infrastructure is only a small part of the larger problem, which is a driving culture that doesn't recognize bicyclists. An imaginary bike lane that swerves when you swerve isn't going to do a lick to solve that problem.

Lightlane [Yanko]

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  1. Change the traffic laws. Here in Belgium bicyclists can ride side by side within city limits, occupying the space of a car. That is, on those roads where there are no bicycle paths – and roads DO need repaving sometimes, at which point bicycle paths can be included. Oh, and we’re also allowed to cycle against traffic on most one-way roads in the city. And if we do get hit by a car, it’s the insurance of the car driver that pays our hospitalization costs, no matter who was to blame for the accident. So pass some laws to protect bicyclists already.

  2. As a sort of lazer-powered political bumper sticker, it works. Also, it seems to make a much better attention light than most bike lights.

  3. Note to self: in case this starts catching on and making big bucks, patent idea for dashboard-mounted laser projector that throws a giant “END BIKE LANE” sign on the pavement 30 feet in front of and to the right of the car.

  4. I don’t get it. The cyclist projects the bicycle lane behind him (i.e. projecting where he has been) and this happens to be wherever the cyclist currently is driving??

    Who’s benefiting from that?

    As a cyclist: “Damn, I still have to find my own lane on the street. Oh well, at least the guy behind me can follow my example”.

    As a car driver: “Oh look, there must have been a cyclist driving here just a moment ago”

  5. Should the LightLane ever leave the concept stage, I’m inclined to think that, until it becomes commonplace anyway, it’ll have the opposite effect. Like moths to a flame, drivers trying to figure out what the shiny new thing on the ground is will drift right into the cyclists’ rear wheel. It doesn’t pay to be an early adopter.

    Also, $50K/mile bike lanes? Srsly? Are they paving those things with gold? Or are we talking about retrofitting lanes into existing roads here?

  6. As a bike rider for 25+ years (even got bike physics tattoo), I’m qualified to comment on this. My thoughts:

    Stop trying to convince me I’m a special-needs case who belongs in a gutter ghetto. There are many times when it is safest for all if the cyclist “takes the lane” — bike lanes aren’t magic.

    Stop pushing the stupid protective devices when the duty of care lies elsewhere: victim blaming is very uncool.

    Even if it was a good idea, the lane is too damn narrow.

    Even if it wasn’t, it’ll totally disappear in urban traffic.

    It’s a huge bag of suck.

  7. No, definitely not a practical world-saving solution. Very much a laser powered political statement, as Guy_Jin observed. But is that a bad thing? I have frequently said, and in one recent case at the top of my lungs to an aggressive SUV driver, “Whatever lane I happen to be in is the bike lane!”

  8. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again:
    The best way to get cars to keep their distance is to carry a crowbar. In your hand.

    See, car drivers will gladly flatten your skull if it means they get to the next set of red lights 0.2 seconds sooner.
    But if there’s a chance that their precious metal box can get a scratch, they’ll give you a wide berth.

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