Turn Signals and Brake Lights: Can It Be Done, Elegantly?
[Steyr Waffenrad c.1925; image via radlmax]
I know that I am not the first to bring this up. But when I see details like this from 85 years ago, I wonder what it would take to develop a modern, elegant mechanism whereby squeezing the brake levers on a bicycle would activate a flashing tail light. And furthermore, what it would take to develop an unencumbered, easy to use system that allowed for turn signal lights to be displayed without the cyclist having to use hand signals - which, from personal experience, I know are not always visible to motorists and are not always possible to execute.
While various turn signal and brake light kits for bicycles already exist, they are not popular. And I suspect the reason, is that the currently available ones either turn the bicycle into a science project monster covered with a mess of wires and gadgets, or are just not convenient to use. But what about a simple, attractive design that would integrate with a classic bicycle seamlessly? a design that a "normal person" (i.e. not someone who is into gadgetry) would find appealing and easy use? I find it surprising that various labs out there are developing prototypes of all sorts of crazy futuristic bikes without drivetrains or spoked wheels, yet the idea of brake and turn lights does not seem interesting or useful enough for anybody to pursue seriously.
What are your thoughts on this? If designed to integrate with the bicycle seamlessly, would you find a brake light and turn signal system useful, or not particularly? And in the event that you already have one installed on your bike, which one is it and how is it working out for you?