VeloCityLight – The Project

The idea behind the VeloCityLight is to make cycling safer. It is a powerful rear LED light that displays your speed to drivers and makes you bright, distinct and visible on the road

The VeloCityLight team have been cycling for many years. Cycling in traffic and open roads we’ve had our fair share of incidents with cars, buses and lorries.

The VeloCityLight shows approaching drivers the speed of the cyclist.

Drivers see the VeloCityLight and associate the displayed speed with their own rate of travel.

It’s a prod, a mental prompt to re-evaluate their own rate of travel and their subsequent actions. It’s effect on drivers is fundamentally different from any other red light. A red light is just another red light. A colour remains an element in sensory memory, it’s fleeting and passing. A number is a meaningful symbol that has to be processed, registered and stored in semantic memory. This is what makes the VeloCityLight something special.

Regardless of whether the cyclist is travelling at the speed limit or at a gentler pace, VeloCityLight gives the approaching car more information about the cyclist in the visual noise of traffic, day or night.

Martin with the light

The VeloCityLight:

  • differentiates you immediately as a cyclist in the visual noise of the traffic
  • It shows your speed of travel, making drivers re-assess their rate of approach
  • It works as a brake light, getting increasingly brighter as you slow down.
  • As a stand alone rear light it is one of the brightest rear lights available on the market – 48 LEDs giving out between 60 to 175 lumens.
  • It has 4 adjustable levels of brightness and a sensor to automatically adjust brightness to match the ambient light conditions, so you get the best trade off between the conditions and power.
  • Based on an ANT wireless chip, it works with existing ANT sensors used with many cycle computers.  Our VeloCitySensor will also send data to your existing ANT based cycle computer.
  • USB rechargeable, 1700mAh internal battery offers 4 to 12 hours of continuous use depending on the brightness setting
  • Precision battery monitoring  shows you an accurate percentage of battery life remaining, both when charging and at a push of a button.
  • Water and dust proofed to IP66 it’s at home in the wilds of Scotland or the Outback.
  • Lightweight around 65 grams and easily detachable from the seat post bracket for security.
  • Size designed to the dimensions of an iPhone.
  • Configurable for all wheel sizes


  • Our ANT send device attaches to the fork and works with the spoke magnet to measure the speed.

What makes it special

On an open road, where traffic is moving at 60-70mph, the VeloCityLight’s bright LEDs come into their own and the cyclist’s speed can be seen from around 100m giving the motorist plenty of time to make an informed decision if they have the time and space to overtake.

In an urban/commuting environment where we’ve found standard lights just melt into the ‘noise’ around them, the VeloCityLight can be clearly seen and clearly differentiates the light as a cyclist.

Often near misses and accidents occur due to the perception that the cyclist ‘must’ be going slowly. This perception results in impatience and possible rash behaviour by the motorist in the belief that the cyclist is delaying his progress. However if the motorist is aware of the speed the cyclist is travelling, this impatience can be avoided and a safe decision can be made.

The Project So Far

We’ve spent the last 6 months working through from original design to our existing prototype.  As predominantly software guys, our first prototype was designed to test the idea.  It had no wireless, just a lovely board with big LEDs and some great home made soldering from Paul, who then turned his software skills to getting the whole device working.  And it did!

Final and Original Prototypes
Final and Original Prototypes

Then we called in our friend Martin, a true electronics genius-in-residence working out of our neighbouring Hacklab. Martin has been designing electronic devices for many years and helped us turn our simple concept into a top quality, energy efficient design.

We based the design on an ANT based chip so those cyclists with ANT devices could use their existing set up and our own ANT send device (VeloCitySensor) would also work with many cycle computers.

Then Martin called in Joe, a 100 mile + a week cyclist and an industrial product designer with over 25 years experience.   Joe helped ensure that the VeloCityLight is light, robust and waterproof and the comfortable size of an iPhone, at around half the weight.