Introduction

Cycling is increasingly popular amongst city commuters as a cheap, healthy and environmentally-friendly alternative to public transport and driving. Campaigns including Get Britain Cycling[1] and British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling[2] are trying to encourage even more of us to travel to work on two wheels.

Despite the various benefits of cycling, the reality of busy rush-hour traffic, impatient drivers and poor cycling infrastructure means that it can be a dangerous way to travel, and this deters many people from cycling. Although only 2% of all journeys in the UK are made by cyclists, in 2013, they made up 11% of UK road casualties. Over 100 cyclists are killed and 20,000 injured in road traffic collisions every year.[3] The ultimate solution to prioritise cycle safety will involve a major restructuring of city infrastructure, as has been done in Copenhagen. However, this will take time, and cyclists need another solution now.

Task

Your task is to design a gadget for use by cyclists to improve road safety, which will form the basis of a Kickstarter project. There are already a lot of products on the market, such as bike turn indicators, inflatable helmets and laser bike lanes, and you will need to research and evaluate the competition to find a profitable niche for innovation. Can you design the product that convinces Britain to #ChooseCycling?

Considerations

With any successful product, the developers are mindful of their target audience. Who is the product aimed at, and what will make a desirable, useful and ultimately, profitable design? You should carry out research to identify an appropriate target audience. You might want to look into cyclist demographics – which age and gender are the most cyclists, and are any group more at risk of traffic accidents?

With a multitude of gadgets already available online, you must ensure that you understand necessary aspects of intellectual property and patenting related to these devices. You are expected to thoroughly research competing devices, and show how your gadget fills a gap in the market.

The device that you design must be suited for road cycling in the UK; you should consider its durability and usability in all weather conditions. For instance, tiny buttons are difficult to operate in the dark and cold.

To compete for fickle internet purchasers, the aesthetics of your design are paramount. The product needs to be desirable, theft-proof, and crucially, functional. Weight is another important consideration for cyclists, and bulky items are hard to wear or to transport by bike.

 

[1] http://allpartycycling.org/

[2] http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/

[3] http://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-britain-annual-report-2013