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Islington cyclist unveils ‘Christmas lights’ LED safety gear

PUBLISHED: 17:36 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:42 26 April 2016

'Christmas lights': 22-year-old Merlin Bruce with his LED bike lights (Picture: Ken Mears)

'Christmas lights': 22-year-old Merlin Bruce with his LED bike lights (Picture: Ken Mears)

Archant

Much like housing and gang violence, cycle safety is one of those perennial London issues.

So often, we hear about tragic deaths and horrific injuries sustained on our roads. To help combat this, cyclists are encouraged to wear flourescent clothing to make themselves as visible as possible.

But 22-year-old psychology graduate Merlin Bruce has taken visibility one step further with his new invention.

Merlin, of Bevan Street, Islington, has created the BikeHalo, an LED system that makes bicycle wheels flash red and white like Christmas lights.

Launched two months ago, it has already caused plenty of head-turning in the streets – which is exactly his aim.

“I have been a cyclist for six years,” he told the Gazette. “I got my first bike when at 16, when I started at City & Islington College.

“Islington can be a dangerous place for cyclists, and Upper Street is especially a hazard.

“From my experience, it’s when you’re going past left-hand junctions, or at night time when it’s not particularly easy to see bikes on this busy road.

“I’ve never had a collision myself, but I’ve definitely had near misses. I want to reduce those possibilities.”

The product, which has a 30-hour rechargable battery and is waterproof, has so far sold 40 units.

Merlin, who graduated last year from the University of Sussex, was able to put his degree to good use with the BikeHalo. “It’s safer than other bike lights because it’s completely visible from all angles, and from far distances,” he said. “As a psychology graduate, I was well placed to add a little extra in terms of safety. By highlighting the shape of the bicycle, it’s easier and quicker for the brain to process in the dark. It’s akin to Christmas lights.

“It’s been a great response so far because other cyclists have given compliments, and you can see people double-take.”

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