John Runciman PhD PEng


This project took the form of a final year design project.The project was initiated by Laurenís mother who contacted me about the possibility of improving the safety of her daughterís bike.

A single handed bicycle braking system was designed to meet the physical needs of Lauren, a nine-year old girl with a limited use of her left hand.  This system allows Lauren to operate both the front and back brakes with only her right hand, decreasing her braking distance to stop while riding, thereby improving her level of safety.

The fourth year student team of Katie Bell, Andrew Morris, Anina Sakaguchi and Micha Wallace entered the design in the Dyson Canada Design competition and won first place.In addition, they won second place in the international competition.The competition is sponsored by the James Dyson Foundation, which was set up by the inventor of Dyson vacuum cleaners.

The Single Handed Bicycle Braking System is able to actuate the back brake independently, as well as the front and back brake combined.  The appearance of the lever is similar to standard brake levers, and its operation is intuitive.  Test results indicate that the Single Handed Braking System is able to match and surpass current braking solutions, thereby proving its effectiveness.

The Single Handed Braking System has the ability to operate the back brake independently, or in combination with the front brakes.  It is essentially a uni-lever system; incorporating two levers into one handle.   The levers curve smoothly to fit the natural curve of the hand, including a small hollow in which to place the index finger.  To operate the back brake alone, the user will depress the inside lever at the index finger hollow, causing the rear brake to activate.  To activate both brakes, the outside lever will be depressed.

This project is unique in the fact that the final design will have a direct impact on Laurenís lifestyle.  Although this project is individualistic in nature, the design has the potential for application throughout the bicycling industry, such as use in the police force, and high performance mountain biking as well as individuals with other physical disabilities.

As of the fall of 2010, the Single Hand Bike Brake is still in use by Lauren although her original bike shown in the accompanying photos is long gone.

Single Hand Bike Brake Design Wins Dyson Canada Design Competition

The student team and James Dyson at the awards ceremony in Toronto,Andrew Morris, who was absent for the award ceremony is pictured on the right.

Click on the image of Lauren on the right to link to a CBC news release on the project.

Function of the Single Hand Bike Brake