Meet the students looking to revolutionise cycle safety
Some 23,600 young people take part in the Student Enterprise Programme this year
Breda Magner (16) shows the CycleSafe 2000 safety device for cyclists at the launch of the Student Enterprise National Final. She helped develop the device with classmates Evan Condon (16) and E’ueonn Ferron, of Desmond College, Newcastle West Co Limerick. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
A device that projects a temporary cycle lane to warn road users of the space they need to leave for cyclists is vying to win an entrepreneur award run by the State’s network of local enterprise offices.
Some 23,600 students from 480 Irish secondary schools have taken part in the Student Enterprise Programme through the network. The national finals of the event will take place in Croke Park on May 2nd.
Cycle Safe 2000, which is competing in the senior category, is a project from Breda Magner (16), Evan Condon (16) and E’ueonn Ferron (16) from Desmond College, Newcastle West, Co Limerick.
The product the students have developed involves a device that attaches to a saddle and projects a temporary bicycle lane at the back of a moving bicycle to alert approaching vehicles.
It was inspired by the upsurge in cyclist injuries and fatalities and the need for vehicles to be vigilant of passing distances when approaching cyclists. The team has applied for a patent.
Ms Magner told The Irish Times she and the team wanted to be “proactive” on cycle safety.
“When we saw the Government was doing a lot of cycle safety advertising campaigns, we realised there was a limit to what they could do,” she said.
“We decided that we wanted to help with our product. It sits on the back of your bike saddle, and two lasers project out of it to create a temporary cycle lane while your bike is in motion. Other road users can see it from behind and give you the space you need.
“I’m a keen cyclist myself and I live on a main road so I’m always quite wary of cycle safety. We thought we should do something to make cycling safer for people. The patent involves a lot of paperwork, but hopefully we’ll get it.
“We’re really happy and enjoying the process. We can see challenges along the way, but we have our product now and we’re really proud of it.”
Starting every September, students across three age categories (junior, intermediate and senior) research, set up, and run their own businesses with the help of their teachers and supports from their local enterprise office.
Some 230 students from 77 different student enterprises have reached this year’s national finals.
Other finalists include a “build it yourself” robot kit for students studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects; handcrafted branding irons for farmers with pedigree cattle; and an “all-in-one training hurley” for players of all levels.
There is also a “metal tensioner” for farmers that transfers wire easily from a spool to a reel; novelty fashion accessories for dogs; and gourmet serving trays with removable slate inserts for writing product descriptions.
Michael Nevin, chair of the enterprise education committee with the local enterprise office network, said the event in Croke Park would be “the biggest celebration of secondary school entrepreneurs in the country”.
“The Student Enterprise Programme links in with the school curriculum around enterprise in the classroom and really helps students gain skills and practical knowledge of running a real-life business,” he said.