Bike Safety UX Research Case Study: LYTE

Fighting for bike safety is no walk in the park.

Will bike for breakfast sandwiches
Talking to bikers and trying out bikes
Compiling survey responses and spreadsheets
Studying different types of lights & how many people use them

User Stories

“As a bike commuter, I want to be able to be seen in the early mornings and at dusk during rush hour traffic, especially when other drivers may be stressed and possibly driving recklessly. My wife is concerned with my visibility because I was hit by a car last year.”

Proposed Solution

3-D Rendering of our proposed solution: Lyte
  1. In one of our interviews with a bike mechanic, we learned that drivers inherently look for headlights, and because bike lights are not quite as bright, there could be a higher probability of a driver not seeing a bike. Our light system will cover the back of the seat stays (the back bars of the bike that connect the top tube and the rear cassette,) which is important because it will simulate car tail lights.
  2. In our research, we found that the ability to personalize a light system to match specific preferences would be highly valued by customers as there is such a high premium placed on product personality. This, along with the GPS tracking functionality, will be fully integrated with the companion app.

Research and Iterations of Digital App

After taking in the physical research interviews and surveys, we went out again into the real world to talk to bikers and mechanics to see what people would want in a digital application companion unit.

One example of inspiration: Fitbit’s circular motif
Initial color variations and ideas

Final App Interface

Final Interface
Home and onboarding screens. We focused on keeping the initial parts simple and visual to make it easy to utilize for someone about to get on a bike.
We integrated Google Maps in order to streamline the rider’s experience so that one would not need to open two programs at once. Users can customize how long they want their bike lights to be on, as well as set reminders to turn their lights on at a certain time of day.
Further customization of the Lyte itself so bikers can specify their preferred lighting style. The right screen shows a loading screen that will pop up that visualizes important laws that bikers may not know.

Challenges

Throughout this project, we experienced a couple of logistical problems that we had to solve conceptually. These problems included how we would secure our LED light system to avoid robbery. We solved this issue by including a microchip to track the lights if they were stolen. Additionally, we were having issues figuring out how ethical our solution was, as we did not want to encourage people to use the app while biking. This would defeat the purpose of our proposed solution. We propose to solve this issue by including daily safety tips and a notification similar to the Waze app, where individuals can choose to have their phone set to unusable while riding and be able to continue to use while at a stop.

Conclusion

There is an astounding disparity between the levels of knowledge/familiarity among bikers, drivers, and pedestrians regarding the rules of the road and general safety. According to our survey questions, many responders expressed dissatisfaction with the current relationship between bikers and drivers, and in many of their answers, they mentioned visibility, education, and infrastructure as key crisis spots. Through our user research and application creation, we believe we have begun to target some significant safety issues within the biking community. Inherently, a product like Lyte cannot substitute for critical infrastructural changes to the roads (such as bike lanes or more rigorous laws) as there is a huge bureaucracy around those systems, but through its use, bikers can become more physically visible and hopefully reduce the number of accidents in the area.

design ethicism, sustainable activism, digital minimalism. cultivating cross-disciplinary communities. addiejohnson.com

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