You never have to wait long for the next bicycle light on Kickstarter: sometimes it seems there’s barely a week that goes by without someone inventing a new way to defend oneself with the mighty photon. And now it’s the turn of Brightside, the brainchild of Aidan Gribbin. If you went to this year’s Cycle Show you may have seen it, but there’s three weeks left of the Kickstarter campaign for everyone else to get in early.
It’s a neat and tidy unit, and it’s hard not to describe it as a little like a twin-headed Joystick: it has the familiar cylindrical shape, and clips into a plastic holder that’s reminiscent of Exposure’s clamp. This attaches to the bike by way of a silicone strap which is claimed to stretch up to 18cm. That should mean it’s good for a 2″-or-so diameter tube, though there’s no mention of the slimmest tube it’ll fit. The videos show it mounted to the down tube and the head tube, though the seatpost also seems like a candidate for mounting.
In use, it simply emits amber light to the sides of your bike. It certainly seems pretty visible from driver height and it also appears to throw light down onto the tarmac; you could hypothesise that that may help encourage wider passing (if anyone wants to dig up a pertinent research paper, please do). It has four modes: constant (claimed runtime 2h50m), low-intensity constant (6h), and two flashing modes (6h30 and an impressive 10h). It recharges in 3 hours, via a micro USB port (of course).
Some may question whether having a flashing orange light is wise (or legal – though a quick rummage through the RVLR didn’t turn up any specific prohibition), but there’s always the two constant modes; and with many front and rear lights – particularly those designed for off-road use – offering limited side visibility, there’s certainly a gap of sorts in the illumination of many bikes. But are there scenarios where side illumination helps and you’re not already giving way to vehicles approaching from the side? It’s the million dollar question for any non-mandatory bike light: Will it actually make you safer?
But for sure this looks like a solid piece of kit which many, particularly urban commuters, will find gives some peace of mind. At its current price of £29 including postage and a weight of 60g for the light itself, it’s something a bit different that might make its way into many people’s inventories.
(Photos by Brightside.)