Bicycles

Proximity sensing bike light shoots video of close-passing cars

Proximity sensing bike light s...
The Dashbike tail light (at right) is currently on Kickstarter
The Dashbike tail light (at right) is currently on Kickstarter
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The Dashbike reportedly weighs 82 grams, and runs for up to six hours per charge of its 900-mAh lithium-ion battery
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The Dashbike reportedly weighs 82 grams, and runs for up to six hours per charge of its 900-mAh lithium-ion battery
The Dashbike tail light (at right) is currently on Kickstarter
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The Dashbike tail light (at right) is currently on Kickstarter

A large percentage of bike-versus-car accidents occur when automobiles pass too closely to cyclists. The Dashbike tail light was designed with that in mind, as it automatically records video of any too-close drive-bys.

Manufactured by German startup Dashfactory, the water-resistant, GPS-equipped Dashbike functions first and foremost as a tail light. It can be mounted either under the saddle or on the seatpost, putting out up to 70 lumens as it flashes in a variety of patterns.

It additionally utilizes an integrated wide-angle HD camera and microphone to continuously record back-facing video, along with an ultrasonic proximity sensor to measure the distance between itself and passing cars. The footage is usually recorded in a loop, with the newest video constantly overwriting what was recorded previously. If a vehicle passes the cyclist by less than 1.5 meters (4.9 ft), however, the buffered footage of the incident is saved on the device's 16GB of internal memory.

Likewise, should the Dashbike's 9-axis accelerometer detect that a fall has occurred, the video of the moments leading up to that event will be saved.

In either case, if a vehicle-caused accident did indeed take place, the video can subsequently be used in court to show that the rider wasn't at fault. Additionally, if the user agrees to it, their geotagged footage can be transmitted anonymously to city officials, making them aware of areas where motorists frequently pass too close to cyclists.

The Dashbike reportedly weighs 82 grams, and runs for up to six hours per charge of its 900-mAh lithium-ion battery
The Dashbike reportedly weighs 82 grams, and runs for up to six hours per charge of its 900-mAh lithium-ion battery

An accompanying iOS/Android app is utilized to control the Dashbike's settings, and to review videos. That app can also be used simply to track the user's rides, although various other apps are equally capable of doing so.

Should you be interested, the Dashbike is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of €199 (about US$237) will get you one. Potential backers might also want to check out the existing Fly6 tail light, which doesn't have a proximity detector but does still continuously record back-facing video.

The Dashbike is demonstrated in the following video.

Dashbike tail light

Sources: Kickstarter, Dashbike

9 comments
9 comments
Aermaco
This is a nice product that hopefully its $237-$273 price will drop for more user's access after wider sales. I would expect a video record will also show biker's need to give your car space when traffic comes toward you for passing when you cant cross the double line to risk a head-on collision.
freddotu
Many years ago, I combined an Arduino, an ultrasonic sensor and a pair of point-and-shoot cameras to do something similar. Too close? Display the distance on the LED panel, take a photo of the panel and a photo of the registration plate. I learned that the recommended 36" clearance is rarely violated (at least in my travels) but also that 36" is far too small for comfort.
Karmudjun
Too little too late: Nice write up though.
Early in my medical career I worked with a surgical assistant who lived in "mid-town" about 4-5 miles from the hospital. He didn't show up one Monday morning and I found out a few days later when he was back for a second burr hole to relieve pressure on his brain. Needless to say he only lasted another week and a half.
This kind of surveillance is more than necessary - no one saw or heard from the driver of the car that side-swiped my friend leading to his head injury & broken arm. And he did have a helmet (yes, we had them in the 1990's).

And Aermaco - what are you saying? I hope this is wrong, but bicyclist and pedestrians have road privileges too - if you can't pass a walker or a biker because of on-coming traffic - HIT YOUR BRAKES!!! Bikers need their space - if they are in a full lane then you wait your time. Your life is no more precious than theirs is.
Bob Flint
Will one of those sensors also record you when the rider fails to stop at a light or stop sign?
DaveWesely
@BobF Oh, the inhumanity! And by the way the answer is yes. But how many car drivers have been killed by cyclists failing to stop at stop signs? My guess: 0
BlueOak
Rear-“dash cams” are already available on Amazon for a lot less money, but the proximity sensor makes this one interesting. If it ever gets traction. There’s no sign the previous example linked by @New Atlas above ever made it to market or survived. Their web page is dead.

Garmin makes a sonar-based rear sensor for bikes that indicates when something is close behind you.

Funny how Kickstarter has morphed into a marketing/promotion machine for already funded products - the video even boasts they are funded with an interview of the German venture capital firm representative.
Aermaco
@kermudjun I am referring to rural traffic where speeds are 35 to 65 mph in single lanes with shoulders that sadly are not uniform. But most bikes always use the shoulder side of the lanes and when they double up to talk they form single file lines upon hearing cars approach behind because they are moving at much lower speeds keeping the lane open to traffic.

If they didn't move over it would be a nasty situation as there are way too many numbskulls who would not HIT THEIR BRAKES but just force the bikes off the road. I have seen many cases where bikes don't move over and create massive anger in drivers and bikers too both flipping each other off when cars are forced to drive at the low bike speed.

I have many friends and family who bike but I wont use rural roads for safety reasons as it can become a nasty battle out there at times. Fortunately the vast majority of bikers do not challange cars and trucks but keep right to stay safe.
Aross
For many years I rode a bicycle on narrow busy streets without incident, because I took care to not fight with cars and trucks. By giving them as much space as I could they in turn, for the most part returned the favour. Today, as a driver I try to do the same. However, I have been the victim on several occasions of cyclists passing me on the inside at stop signs even though I have my turn signal on for a right turn just so they don't have to slow down.
We all have to share the roads. That means we all have to show each other respect. It is a two way street. No pun intended.
ljaques
Cool. Posthumous video evidence for their trial. :(
In Oregon, drivers must give bikers the full lane (law is distance from pavement to rider's helmet) when passing. It's both safe and a real PITA during busy times.