Innovative new traffic detector designed to improve horse and rider safety

  • A rider who was involved in a road accident 10 years ago has now created a traffic-detection device she hopes will protect others from similar incidents.

    Zoe Bryant broke her knee and ankle when the horse she was riding was spooked by a “boy racer” who approached at speed and did not see her in time.

    Zoe has now created, as her final-year project for her product design and technology course at Loughborough University, a device she calls Lume, which uses radar and Bluetooth technology to warn riders of approaching vehicles. It combines a wristband with a device that fits over the cantle of the saddle.

    “Even when I had the accident, I was thinking ‘why did this happen?’” she told H&H.

    “There’s all this protection for cyclists but apart from high-vis gear, not much for riders.”

    Zoe explained that for the project, students have to conduct in-depth research, ensuring there is demand for their proposed products, get feedback from users and carry out extensive testing and development.

    Lume, which is now ready to be manufactured, involves two radar detectors, similar to those used in interactive speed signs, which register the approach of vehicles.

    “If they’re doing between eight and 40mph, it will send an alert,” she said. “The wristband vibrates [using Bluetooth] and the panel on the rear of the saddle flashes bright red.”

    Zoe reasoned that as there is a great deal of high-vis in use on the roads, it may not have as much impact as it once did, so the idea behind the red light was that it would imitate a brake light, causing drivers to slow down instinctively.

    “Hopefully, it means a bit less chance of an accident; giving riders time maybe to move over, and drivers will slow down,” she said.

    Zoe, who has been exhibiting her creation at the New Deisgners exhibition in London (4-7 July), now needs backing and support to get Lume on the market. She believes it will retail at about £135.

    The device will also detect approaching cyclists, and is easy to fit on to and remove from any English saddle.

    “I hope it will make a big difference,” Zoe added. “There are more and more cars on the road and a lot of drivers don’t know they have to slow down.

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    “I hope the big red light will be associated with brake lights and they will automatically slow down, and giving the rider more time – I feel it’s really important both parties are involved in improving each other’s safety.

    “A lot of people at my yard don’t like riding on the roads as they feel vulnerable, but it’s the sport they love and they should be able to do it.”

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