Blaze Witch Project: Lit Up Cyclists


As the clocks go back, London is lighting up to help cyclists become more visible in the dark with the innovative Blaze LaserLight.

Santander ambassadors Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jenson Button launch ‘The Blaze Witch Project,’ a Halloween themed film to support the rollout of Blaze Laserlight™ across all 11,500 Santander Cycles in London.

As the clocks go back and the long summer evenings disappear, research released today by Santander Cycles shows that of those planning to cycle less when the clocks go back, 48% are doing so because they’re worried about being visible at night.

Blaze Laserlight Cycle Lights Innovation

Santander Cycles is tackling the fears of darker nights by introducing a ground-breaking laser light innovation to the Santander Cycles scheme. Following the successful pilot, the full rollout of these bike lights will be completed by July 2017. The Blaze Laserlight™ – which is being largely funded by Santander – projects the image of a cycle onto the roadway 6 metres in front of the rider, helping drivers of vehicles become more aware of cyclists, especially those on their near side. The Blaze Laserlight™ also boosts the confidence of cyclists on the roads.

On Twitter, a customised emoji will be released to support the rollout of the Blaze Laserlight™, which is the first time a UK financial brand has released a customised emoji. The custom emoji will automatically appear when Twitter users tweet #SantanderCycles. Santander is the first financial brand to promote a customised Twitter emoji in the UK market.

To promote the rollout, Santander has also teamed up with newly retired Olympic Gold, Silver and Double World Heptathlete Champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button to create a short Halloween-themed film called ‘The Blaze Witch Project’ highlighting the benefits of the Blaze Laserlight™. Following on from last year’s Blaze “coming soon” campaign with the Star Wars “The Force Awakens” tie-in, this new film launches the roll-out of Blaze across the entire fleet of 11,500 Santander Cycles.

Commenting on the launch, Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “I’m a fan of anything safety-related that has the added benefit of encouraging people to be more active. I love the idea of more people getting out on the roads doing exercise with the confidence that they will be highly visible thanks to Santander Cycles’ innovative Blaze Laserlight.

The film, released today is set in autumnal London and takes inspiration from Halloween festivities. It shows Jessica Ennis-Hill cycling through the streets of London illuminating the faces of the city’s ‘trick or treaters’ with the unmissable green cycle projections and also stars Jenson Button making a cameo appearance as a werewolf.

Jenson Button added: “I spend almost as much time on a cycle as I do in a car so I know first-hand that when the nights draw in its increasingly difficult to be seen. The Blaze Laserlight is a neat piece of kit and just as beneficial to other road users as it is to cyclists.

The Blaze Laserlight™ was developed by Emily Brooke, the CEO and founder of Blaze; a London start-up that makes products for urban cyclists. It is cunningly designed so that it doesn’t shine in the faces of pedestrians. Having previously left studying Physics at Oxford University for Design in Brighton, the Laserlight™ was her final year project. The strength of the bike light innovation won her a place on a Santander funded Entrepreneurship Program in Boston, where Emily gained the confidence to return home and turn the concept into a reality and business.

Independent research by the Transport Research Laboratory, conducted in part to understand the perception of London bus drivers towards the integrated Blaze Laserlight™, discovered 78%found the light made it easier for them to recognise cyclists on the road, with 80% stating they would like to see cyclists using the technology.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT) there is a sharp increase in the number of road traffic accidents immediately following the changing of the clocks each year. Research by Road Safety GB North East, shows that, on average, over the last ten years, there has been a 5% rise in the number of road casualties within two weeks after the clocks go back. The data also revealed that serious accidents have risen 8% and fatalities by over 14%. In London, the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads fell by three per cent in 2015 to the lowest number since records began.

Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer, Santander said: “We hope the introduction of Blaze Laserlight™ will ease the concerns of many London cyclists at this time of year. We’ve had a hugely successful trial and feel that this latest innovation from Santander Cycles will contribute to improving the lives of Londoners by reducing fear, increasing visibility and safety whilst promoting an active lifestyle.

Emily Brooke, Blaze CEO & Founder, commented: “We are truly thrilled our LaserlightTM technology is being integrated into the entire fleet of Santander Cycles. We’ve been shipping the consumer version for over two years now, to more than 60 countries, but this incredible partnership immediately takes things to the next level and will make thousands of cyclists more visible and safer on our roads. The stats speak for themselves – independent research from the TRL showed a Laserlight decreases the blind spot around an HGV by over 25%.

More information on Santander Cycles, which can be hired from as little as £2 per day, is available online.


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