Finalist 2023

Flock Light - The Biomotion Bike Light

Tim Ottaway / Project Flock Pty Ltd

The Flock Light highlights your moving legs while you ride, so you're seen sooner and seen as human.

The Flock Light has been designed to highlight the person riding the bike. It does so by leveraging the principle of biomotion; our brain's ability to recognise human movement almost instantly. Instead of relying on brightness or lumen output to make the cyclist visible, the Flock Light shines light down onto the cyclist's moving legs, highlighting their human movement. Studies have shown that highlighting a cyclist's biomotion can allow them to be seen up to 5.5x sooner than a static rear light and be recognised on a much deeper, more cognitive level by other road users.

Design Brief:

Cyclists are among Australia's most vulnerable road users, with 40 cyclists being killed each year on Australian roads and more than 1000 suffering serious injuries. In a 2019 Australian study, shockingly over 50% of motorists reported seeing cyclists as ‘less than human’. The study further showed that there was a link between how road users saw each other, and how they treated each other.

Currently, bike lights are seen as the best short-term safety solution available to cyclists, however, most products on the market don’t focus on the most important thing - the person riding the bike. Project Flock began in 2019 in order to explore and investigate the best way to make riding safer for people in the short term. Throughout the development process we've had the guiding vision of road users 'Flocking' together to get home safely, this is our ongoing 'Project'.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Over 10 rounds of user testing have been conducted since 2019. These include multiple surveys, interviews, co-design workshops and field tests. The biggest insight we have gained from the cycling community is that they simply want to be acknowledged as another human using the road. It's not enough just 'being seen'. Furthermore, we have discovered that many cycling enthusiasts will often choose the most powerful light they can because this is the only definitive metric (lumens) they have when buying. The problem is typical bike lights often blind or startle others.

Visibility is not the only key concern, many cyclists we have talked to also lack the confidence that their bike light will not run out of battery while riding. Based on this feedback we have developed features that mean the user is seen as human and can easily know battery life before and after riding.

Attempting to consider the user at every stage goes hand in hand with making sure there is evidence that the Flock Light will have commercial success as we believe the mass adoption of a visibility aid such as the Flock Light will lead to lowering injury and death to those who choose to ride.

Design Excellence

Focusing on the user has been at the core of the design and development process of the Flock Light. A popular saying in the cycling community is 'Be seen' but at Project Flock we've tried to take that further by making a product that means you can say, 'Be seen as human and be seen sooner'. From all of our user research to date there's evidence to indicate it's not just about preventing a crash but making a user feel safe, for example, to know they are visible or to know their bike light will not run out of battery or fall off in use.

We've leveraged the 'Value proposition design' (by Strategyzer) methodology coupled with other user-centred design practices to make sure we are aiming to address user and customer pains across the user journey. We've placed a big priority on user testing with our prototypes and to date we have had over 20 people test our product for in excess of 500 hours. These efforts have been leveraged to create a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help validate early product market fit and engage with the wider cycling community to contribute to building a great product.

Design Innovation

No other bike light focuses on highlighting the movement of your legs while you are riding. From the research we've conducted, we've found that one way to help lower the chances of injury and death to people who ride in the short term is to provide users with a better visibility aid.

By combining the research into 'Biomotion' and visibility aids for cyclists, the Flock Light was born. We've focussed on trying to implement our 'Biomotion Lighting' innovation with careful consideration of currently accepted user behaviours and affordances in order to have maximum uptake of this product.

Design Impact

As we see a rise in active and micro-mobility, our evolving cities will demand different ways of responding to movement and safety. The Flock Light's biomotion lighting has the potential to evolve our understanding of what it means to be safe and seen, proving that safety is a collaborative effort between every member of the road community. Being seen as a human while you ride is not just about being visible; it’s about being recognised as a legitimate road user. We hope this product will help build empathy and contribute to a shift in our road culture for the better.

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