Decoding Design

A bicycle light that's safe, bright, and thief-proof

Posting in Cities

Designers with Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries developed a theft-resistant bike light to make urban cycling safer.

With many more urban cyclists hitting the streets, most cities are constantly playing catch-up to make their roads a safer place for both riders and drivers. However, even when a city has a good handle on how to make bikers and cars play nice, accidents are almost inevitable.

Painted bike lanes, neon jackets, lights and flashers all help to prevent run-ins on the road, but there's much we can't control: like theft. Bicycle and accessory theft has plagued the cycling world since its inception-- it's just an accepted reality of urban cycling. Now, a bike light has been designed with both the problems of safety and theft as its inspiration.

After a friend was hit while riding his bike in the dark because his light had been stolen, Brad Geswein and Slava Menn wanted to develop a light that fended off thieves. As it turns out, their friend wasn't the only one with this problem: one in three urban cyclists have had their lights stolen, and eighty per cent of riders frequently forget their lights at home.

In their quest to make city biking safer, the pair developed The Defender. The light locks sturdily to your handlebars making it extremely difficult to remove. Plus, it looks like a gun.

The light was designed by Ori Levin of Tsor Design, and is made of lightweight aluminum, ultrabright LEDs, and uses AA batteries that give the rider around 100 hours of battery life.  "We've put it through extensive durability and reliability testing and it's nearly indestructible. No tool from a hardware store can remove it," says the Defender's Kickstarter page.

In fact, the security screwdriver included with the light is the only thing that can remove it, an the allen key provided is the only thing that can release the battery door.

The seventy dollar light is waterproof, uses around 40-60 lumens, and can be switched from steady to blinking mode.

A demo of the Defender:

[Atlantic Cities]
Images: Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure