Recent Cycling Deaths in London

12 Dec

Here at Hammerhead we receive interesting emails from customers all around the globe. Most are fun or exciting, but some give us pause. A message we received from Mr Milan Shah in London recently caused us all to think about just who and what we are doing this for.

In a two-week span in November, there were six cycling fatalities in London. See relevant articles herehere, and here. It appears that the usual outrage followed in the media and public at large. Blame, it seems, was directed primarily at drivers of large trucks as well as at cyclists. Truck drivers, for not keeping an eye out for cyclists; cyclists, for taking quick turns, wearing headphones, and often not wearing helmets. But blame is not the answer – and neither is outrage or fear. Certainly, as the bike-friendly laws of the Netherlands have shown, realigning legal incentive structures can make a difference. We are not passive people however. We owe it to ourselves to adopt the safest practices we can.

Bike safety is central to why we put the rest of our lives on hold to build Hammerhead. We are cyclists ourselves, we have seen such tragedy and resolved to try to make safe cycling more possible. The amount of meaningful contribution that we make remains to be seen. Once there are thousands of our devices on roads all around the globe we will be able to draw some conclusions about the efficacy of our product.

Biking, especially in cities and along busy roads, is a potentially dangerous activity. To do it safely, one must be aware of their surroundings, something difficult to do when there are hundreds of other people on the roads causing those surroundings to constantly change. Keeping one’s eyes on the road and other senses aware of the sounds and vibrations of passing traffic is a good rule of thumb. But it can be hard to follow when you are in a rush, are listening to directions via headphones connected to a smartphone GPS, or have your smartphone mounted on your handlebars.

We know we bike differently when we are stressed, are beset by traffic, or are distracted by unfamiliar territory. Our thinking goes – would we not be better off if we had a device that communicated simple turn-by-turn nav directions that we can follow intuitively? Our testing thus far has shown that the Hammerhead’s light array has an effect similar to a stoplight. Once you adjust to the patterns, you can read it almost without thinking – leaving your mind free to focus on the ride itself. This, we think and hope, will help cyclists be safer out there on the roads.



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