Five minutes with: Vizirider

After being knocked off his bike, Simon Sibia was inspired to improve road safety through his own brand of wearable LED cycling accessories, Vizirider

This piece first appeared in the May edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Can you give us a little background on Vizirider?
Vizirider has been developed over the past three years using the latest LED wearable technology. Greater visibility on the roads can help cyclists avoid collisions and stay safe. The Vizirider LED Cycle Wear range combines eye-catching LED lights and highly reflective panels. This enables other road users to see cyclists sooner and react faster, taking evasive action, which can help to avoid collisions and injuries.

I started to explore LED technology after having been knocked off my bike a couple of times. On both occasions, the car drivers simply said that they ‘had looked, but not seen me’, despite my mounted bike lights being on. I decided that I needed to make myself much more visible and that’s where I got the idea to create a range of LED products to help cyclists be seen and recognised more easily.

According to the Department of Transport data from last year, cyclist fatalities increased through the pandemic. Additionally, the recent fuel price increases will lead to more cyclists on the roads. Cycling on UK roads is incredibly perilous due to a number of factors including the lack of a coherent cycling infrastructure policy and driver behaviour. Vizirider can help to encourage safer cycling while there is a lack of safe infrastructure and general lack of driver respect. The roads are to be shared.

What area of the market do you target?
The primary market is commuter and leisure cyclists, both male and female. In general, the main market so far has been cyclists aged 30 and above. During the winter months there is a greater demand for visibility with the darker mornings and the earlier dark evenings.

The UK’s variable weather means that during overcast conditions and rainy days there are always plenty of occasions throughout the year where cyclists need to make themselves as visible as possible to other road users. Vizirider products have three light settings: constant light, fast flash and slow flash. These are a great way to be seen from a distance, especially at night. Overall, collisions, injuries and fatalities occur on both country and urban roads and a lot depends on vehicle speeds and inattentive drivers not looking properly.

What makes your products unique – how can Vizirider benefit dealers?
Vizirider products are unique because they allow other road users to identify cyclists quicker than just mounted bike lights or reflective clothing, especially with our built-in LEDs. Many cyclists wear black, making them virtually invisible in the dark, and other products such as reflective jackets rely on a light source such as street lights or vehicle headlights to illuminate.

We created the Vizirider range with LED lights vertically positioned specifically to mimic the torso of a person. In the midst of light noise in urban streets or dark country roads, other road users can more immediately recognise those wearing a Vizirider as a person, and to take evasive action to help avoid collisions. We believe Vizirider is a potential life-saver, designed to be worn in conjunction with mounted bike lights and a helmet. Our range consists of jackets, gilets, vests and backpack covers. Vizirider can benefit dealers by offering unique, quality products that combine performance with safety-conscious style.

Our products are easy to use and come with a long-life rechargeable battery and USB cable. We have attractive pricing with decent margins and offer fantastic support service. We look to offer customers a fantastic well-made product at great value for money.

What sort of feedback have you received from the industry?
To date, the Vizirider launch has predominantly been online with the pandemic. Vizirider is available at a number of stores in London and Brighton and customer response and sales have been remarkable. The short-term objective has been to seed the market to obtain some good industry reviews and credibility.

Ultimately, it is still early days and Vizirider is looking to achieve greater recognition and product acceptance as cyclists get used to this newly-emerging market of wearable technology. A lot of industry feedback has focused on the riders standing out ‘like a Christmas tree’ – and that’s a positive, as cyclists are incredibly vulnerable when sharing roads with tonnes of speeding metal.

There is an aspect where many cyclists want to look as stylish as possible on their bike and Vizirider comes in a variety of colours including yellow and black for the more fashion-conscious. We love customer feedback and are always looking to improve our products.

What are your plans for 2022 and beyond?
Vizirider will appear at a number of industry trade shows this year including the National Cycling Show, Birmingham NEC from 18th-19th June. The aim is to consolidate an awareness campaign in the run up to autumn this year. Our number one priority is to be seen and generate interest. We also have some new products in the pipeline for launch later in the year including helmets and bio-motion ankle straps.

We’re also currently in discussion with a leading UK university about undertaking some conspicuity/visibility evaluations with Vizirider products, to help demonstrate that wearing a Vizirider can help reduce collisions in comparison to standard cycle lighting and clothing. This validation process will hopefully help persuade many more cyclists to give Vizirider a go!

Do you currently have distribution/are you looking for distribution partners?
Currently all distribution in the UK is undertaken by Vizirider. We’re open to discussing exciting new opportunities as well as linking up with potential overseas distributors. We’ve had sales enquiries from all over the world and can see the amazing global potential of Vizirider, which is still in its early launch phase.

Vizirider is very much a work in progress: much to learn and much to gain. We’re super ambitious and constantly looking to improve our range and connections. We’re looking for nimble, responsive and highly engaged distributors to partner up and expand this huge market.

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