The behavior of drivers at junctions monitored by cameras or on stretches of road under the ever watchful gaze of a radar can be very different to those without. Keen cyclists Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert from Perth in western Australia are on a mission to give fellow riders the same kind of power. They've designed a rear cycle light named the Fly6 that's capable of recording everything that goes on behind, the theory being that if drivers think there's a camera pointed at them, they'll give cyclists more space and show more courtesy.

The developers say that accidents to the rear are four times more deadly than those cyclists can see coming, and perhaps respond appropriately. Fiegert certainly didn't see the high speed projectile heading his way from a passing car while he was out riding. Had the occupants of the vehicle believed that their actions might be recorded, they may have behaved differently. At least that's the theory. Hagen and Fiegert have been working on the proof of concept Fly6 HD-capable camera and bicycle tail light ever since.

The device attaches to the seat post of the host bike and records whatever is behind the cyclist in real-time, time-stamped 720p high definition video at 30 frames per second through a 130 degree wide-angle lens and 16-bit/32 kHz resolution mono audio via the built-in microphone. Video recording continually loops, over-writing earlier recordings for set and forget usage. The Fly6 will ship with an 8 GB microSD media card, but can take up to 32 GB. With the supplied card, this effectively means that users will always have the last two hours of footage before earlier AVI video files are sacrificed.

The 105 g (3.7 oz) device is nano-coated to help it laugh in the face of water splashes, has a 1500 mAh Li-ion battery that's claimed good for over five hours of continuous video and audio recording and is topped up via a USB port to the bottom, with a cover over the top to help keep the wet stuff out, and includes incident capture protection technology.

"In the event of an accident, providing the bike is tipped past 45 degrees for longer than 3 seconds, the software kicks in and shuts the camera down in 1 hour," says the team. "This means in the case of the 8 GB card provided, you'll have 1 hour pre incident and 1 hour post incident. In addition to this, if the device is damaged to the point of power being lost, because the data is written live to the card, footage is retained up until this point."

The camera has been primarily designed for daylight use, and will reportedly perform pretty well in low light situations, but not in complete darkness.

Of course, as well as a black box recorder for your bike, the device could also be used to supplement any footage you capture on your head-mounted actioncam, which can then be spliced in during the edit for a complete all-round video documentary of your action-packed ride.

The Fly6 is also a tail light, with four dimming and two flashing options. The current prototype puts out 10 lumens, but the designers are looking to increase this to 15.

Hagen and Fiegert have already sent out 150 pre-production prototypes to cyclists all over Australia in a national trial. In addition to catering for real world testing and providing a good test run for production proper, participants also got the opportunity to upload video footage to the company's website, including the unwelcome high-five from a passing motorcyclist shown below. The trials have revealed that cyclists feel safer in the knowledge that the Fly6 is watching their backs.

Though the Fly6 team has a smart-looking fifth prototype in the bag, further refinements to the design are necessary before heading to the marketplace. To this end, the project has launched on Kickstarter for the final push towards the first full production run.

The first 100 units have already been snapped up, so early bird backers will now need to stump up at least AUD 119 (US$107) for a package that includes seat post mounts, straps, spacers, a USB cable and a microSD card. If all goes according to plan, delivery to backers is estimated to start in April, with a retail roll-out to Australian consumers penciled in for July. The US and Europe will follow in October or November.

Even if the campaign encounters an unexpected glitch, Hagen told us that "we have come this far and won’t stop if we don’t get the funding on Kickstarter."

The campaign pitch video is below.

Sources: Fly Lites, Kickstarter

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    About the Author

    Paul Ridden

    While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.

    All articles by Paul Ridden



    • I doubt you could see that from a moving car, but it will provide evidence of riding two abreast and other crazy and illegal behaviours

    • Ozuzi - I realize that people like you in cars believe that you own the roads but I also notice you stick your tail between your legs and run when confronted with your own illegal behavior. Funny that almost all of the extremely dangerous driving is done by people under 30. Many of whom do not have insurance unless their parents buy it.

      Tom Kunich
    • Yeah, this is going to have unintended consequences. Bike riders seldom obey any laws. They run red lights, ride on the sidewalk - or worse, in the street, blocking traffic while attempting passive-aggressive suicide - they never signal turns... and that's just the actually illegal part of their hobby. Bicycles, especially in the city are about the most dangerous form of transportation. That danger comes from the riders, who think that the entire world should adapt to their foolish and perverse choice of transportation. When it doesn't, they whine.

      The cameras are inevitably going to show that the rider who was hit violated traffic laws dozens of times per hour, and but for their foolish risks, the accident would probably not have happened.

    • Wow! The comments are as amusing as they are illogical. What will be the retail price? So I can capture all the illegal vehicle activities... While not doing anything illegal myself?

      David Finney
    • @EH:

      Please stop generalising about hundreds of millions of human beings about whom you know absolutely nothing at all. For the record then: SOME bike riders misbehave; SOME motorists misbehave. Both should be punished and taken off the road, permanently. That's all.

      I'm sure that anyone can understand the temptation to simplify your world by painting everyone the same colour: but it's still wrong and highly offensive, so kindly stop it.

    • Not long ago I was hit in broad daylight while riding straight & proper and wearing a bright banana yellow jacket. After chasing down the crappy driver that broke my mirror off, (less than an inch more and I would have been thrown), I called 911. The suburban cops that showed could not think of enough ways to blow me off & refuse to ticket the driver for hitting me and then leaving the scene. I have since studied the design issues for exactly what these guys are working on and I will be interested in seeing them succeed.

    • In most US states cyclists have almost exactly the same rights and responsibilities on the road as cars. They can legally take an entire lane if they wish. They cannot legally ride on sidewalks. They cannot run lights or stop signs. Where bike lanes exist the rules change slightly for the cyclists, but they must still obey all traffic signals. When I used to ride regularly 15 miles each way to and from school I could often keep pace with traffic and took my position on the road as if I were a car whenever I was moving near the speed limit. The biggest problem is that automobile drivers do not know that cyclists have the same rights to the road as they do, and many cyclists are unaware or unwilling to follow the same traffic laws as cars. I doubt that this camera will deter any bad drivers, at least not until the video is used in court against them. At that point the cyclist may already be dead.

    • Bicycles are light weight and slow moving. These inherent qualities make them quite safe compared to relatively fast and heavy machines like cars, trucks, etc. The Bicycle is not dangerous. Some people choose to ride dangerously. Some people choose to drive dangerously. Comparatively, a collision involving a bike, as opposed to a car, is much less likely to cause great harm or damage. People should be able to choose how they move and transport themselves. We all need to learn to share our public spaces. Respect, courtesy and common sense are required. Car, bike, whatever, if you are unable to respect other road users, then you have no business being in the mix. Just stay home please. The roads will then be a little bit safer for the rest of us who are trying to move politely and in a civilised manner from A to B.

    • I don't understand how vehicle drivers are supposed to recognise that it is anything more than just a tail light - and car driver awareness of being recorded and adjusting their driving in relation to cyclist is basically the selling point of this device. Surely, without a sign, something light this below the camera : it is only really useful as an 'after the incident' evidence tool, not a preventative one.

      Mia H

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