Every so often, I come across a product that does what it says so well, so elegantly, that I’m left with an overwhelming enthusiasm for it and its use. The iPhone and Nest Thermostat are two items that immediately come to mind. Now, enter the Blaze Laserlight. For those who love to bicycle and wish to do so at night, it addresses a very simple, yet critical problem: how to be maximally visible to automobiles we share the road with at night.
Cycling in the dark is a dicey proposition. While many think that cyclists are usually hit from behind, a startling number of auto-bicycle accidents occur when a vehicle pulls in front of a bicycle or turns in front of a cyclist traveling in the same direction as the car. The Blaze Laserlight seeks to address this problem in two ways: first they put an incredibly bright white LED to illuminate the road in front of the bicycle and second, they installed a small laser that ingeniously projects a bright green bicycle about 30 feet (10 meters) in front of the cyclist.
This light definitely performs as advertised. During the night test-rides, the light did incredibly well throwing a generous white beam onto the road clearly illuminating obstacles, such as pot holes and debris, with sufficient time to allow me to maneuver and avoid getting a flat. Additionally, both cars and pedestrians clearly saw the large (it measures about 3 feet across when projected at 30 feet) blinking green bicycle on the roadway. On one occasion, a pedestrian preparing to cross at a dark corner, paused when the green bicycle flashed on the road in front of her. Here in Texas, cars are notorious for passing too closely and pulling back in front of a cyclist almost immediately. No car ever pulled between me and the green cycle, leaving me plenty of room. One driver, watching me cross at an intersection, rolled down his window and yelled, “Awesome light!” as I rode past. The light clearly did as designed: motorists and pedestrians alike noticed me as I peddled along.
In addition to performing exactly as described, the light itself is a thing of beauty. Seemingly carved from a solid block of aluminum, the light is a sturdy, elegant piece of cycling gear. The buttons on top are easy to find and use, even when climbing a hill. The mounting bracket is the the best designed cycling mounting bracket I’ve ever seen. Even the little rubber inserts to help the bracket grip are cleverly shaped to ensure they don’t slip or fall out during the installation process. As a safety feature, the laser will not activate unless the light is connected to the bracket. While off the bracket, the LED light activates as a handy flashlight in the event of a flat or other misadventure. Both the laser and LED light have different modes, allowing the cyclist to customize it to the situation or preference. The light will run for hours depending on the lighting modes selected, easily meeting the needs of most cyclists and recharges using a USB cable.
There is one issue that cyclists must account for when climbing steep hills. As you crest the hill, the laser actually project off the road, potentially at eye level of oncoming motorists. Be sure to switch off the laser until after you reach the top.
The Blaze Laserlight is an ingenious, well designed, highly functional light for the nighttime cyclist. While the price of $200 (USD) is steep, it is well worth the additional margin of visibility it provides. Blaze is now accepting orders on their website.