Flare app notes bad road surfaces

Potholes Victoria Melton conditions country poor road repair notes

An app that notes potholes and other road dangers to alert other riders and the local authorities could be extended from UK cyclists to motorcycle riders around the world.

Many riders complain to their mates about potholes, “tar snakes”, lateral cracks, bumps and other poor road maintenance, but few do much about alerting councils and state authorities to the problem.

Click here to find out how bad roads are under the spotlight in Australia. 

However, a special handlebar-mounted controller and light called the “Flare” and an associated app could make it easy for riders to alert authorities and other riders to dangers. 

It is currently only intended for UK cyclists, but it could be extended to motorcyclists around the world.

How Flare light worksFlare light notes road dangers

The Flare light allows riders to note dangers or “Flares” as they ride over them at the press of a button. Or three buttons as this video explains.

The “Flares” are sent to a smartphone app via Bluetooth which applies exact GPS co-ordinates.

At the end of the ride, the user confirms the danger spots and downloads them to the Flare website where they are shown on a map shared with other riders and local authorities. 

Flare light notes road dangers
Flare website map

Councils are not bound to follow the alerts and fix the dangers, but they would ignore publicly gazetted road dangers at their expensive litigation peril!

Motorcycle version?

So far, Flare creator Jake Thompson, a 24-year-old product design student at the University of Sussex, has only developed the Flare light for bicycles and adapted the app and website for the UK.

We contacted him and we asked if he had considered a specific adaption for motorcycles and to extend the app to other countries.

“I haven’t considered a specific adaption to motorcycles, however interest has been expressed for a car and pedestrian model so it is something I will be looking at,” he says. 

Jake contacted UK councils via phone, email and personally while developing his Flare light and associated app and website to identify their barriers to building quality infrastructure. 

“At every stage during designing Flare I got back in touch with those who were happy to share feedback with me in order to ratify my design choices,” he says.

“It has been designed in the context of the UK as it stands. Certainly, adoption in other countries would be outstanding.

“I would look at the specific scenarios that each country faces before introduction elsewhere.”

Funding required

Road maintenance potholes
Could Flare help alert authorities to this!

Jake is chasing investors to develop his Flare flight to the production stage.

Funding would also help develop motorcycle, car and pedestrian versions and extend to other countries.

“I am seeking advice from specialists at Sussex University to plan the development, funding and launch,” he says.

“Currently I couldn’t put a figure on it (budget target), nor could I identify the type of funding.”

Jake’s Flare headlight is water-resistant and puts out 300 lumens for 2.5 hours per charge in Full Beam mode and longer in Half Beam and Flash modes.Roadworks notes

A motorcycle version would not require a headlight, just a controller with one of more buttons.

Currently, many riders lodge vague descriptions of road hazards on social media sites, but few give precise GPS locations nor contact local authorities, although smart councils should monitor these social media sites.

A Flare product for motorcyclists could help riders gain better maintained roads and provide councils with more exact details of road problems before they have fatal consequences.

Click here to check out the Independent Riders’ Group Bad Roads Rally. It is designed to alert the Victorian Government to the poor condition of the state’s roads.

6 Comments

  1. While the Lycra Nazis may have the time and mental capacity available to pay attention to a button on the handlebar as they don’t seem to pay attention to anything else like traffic lights pedestrian crossings or their general surroundings, motorcyclists use that mental capacity to avoid getting killed or injured so we tend to forget the exact location of road hazards as they come so often and so quickly they blurr into one.
    If we were to mount such a device on our bikes it would need to be fully autonomous
    Perhaps a action camera with G meter and infrared scanner

    1. My wife car cameras have their “G meters” set on the lowest sensitivity for crash or collision recording, and they go off all the time just driving around town. Have a similar system on my tourer, and same thing; it seems most bumps are bad enough to require recording to prove innocence.

  2. I don’t want to sound like a smart arse, but if I pressed a button every time I saw or hit a dangerous pot-hole or road surface hazard (RSH?), I’d have Tenosynovitis just on the short trip to work in one morning. It would probably be simpler if I pressed a button when I found a bit of bitumen that didn’t rattle my teeth. Having said that, most local potholes are actually lined with bitumen or road-base, camouflaging them into the rest of the surface, so for me, its knowing where they are (after hitting them) and memorising the smoothest lines around the RSH’s. Reporting them to council is simply a waste of time as there are too many, and they really don’t care unless its affecting a footpath or bicycle lane.

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