The Brainy Bike Lights® Story:
What Happened Next
Over the last few years the behavioural sciences have given us a lot of insight into how people think and behave; they have also shown how it is possible to nudge or steer people’s awareness and behaviour. One member of our small team works for a consultancy which advises governments and major corporations how to use these brain wirings and constructs to nudge and steer behaviour. It’s powerful stuff.
The idea for Brainy Bike Lights® was sparked partly by discovering how much of our time we spend on autopilot. It’s when we do things without thinking about them in any conscious way and it must have a huge impact on road safety. Research has shown that drivers frequently fail to recall anything about a journey they’ve just made if it’s one they drive so often they don’t need to concentrate.
It made our behavioural insight driven team wonder if this was a contributory factor in cyclist deaths and injuries on the road and if there something we could do to create more awareness of cyclists in drivers of motorised vehicles; A way of making the brain a little sharper at a conscious and subconscious level. Perhaps what we were really after was a way of making the brain a little brainier…
As with all the very best ideas, it’s simple. We decided to make our Brainy Bike Lights® an illuminated bike symbol and developed a set of front and rear lights to this unique design
The symbol of the bike primes drivers to ‘think bike’ and to make associations with the person on the bike and their presence and progress along the road. And it’s a symbol that everyone can understand – wherever you are in the world the image of a bicycle is universally understood. Priming works on our subconscious. We don’t even know it’s happening. We can be primed in all sorts of ways – to be clever, to be rude, to be polite, to feel old – and in this case to be conscious of a cyclist on the road. The symbol increases awareness and standout on our light cluttered urban streets and it makes drivers more cognitively efficient – they notice the bike symbol and react accordingly. Rather than having to struggle to identify what the red or white light belongs to (in amongst all the other urban light clutter), Brainy Bike Lights® play to our brain strengths by short-cutting to all the bike information that’s already in our heads.
When the findings of research conducted by the University of Oxford said these lights could have a major impact on cyclist road safety, we knew we had created something very powerful.