When you were a kid, did you have light up shoes? You know the ones, they lit up whenever you took a step and they were probably the envy of all of your friends. Well as it turns out, bicycle helmets have finally caught up with the technology of 1995. Now, I don’t mean to make light of this invention, it’s actually a pretty neat idea, but it just seems ridiculous this wasn’t invented a decade ago. It’s called Lumos, and it’s going to revolutionize bicycling safety.
In 2005, I had a friend who was side-swiped while riding their bike in the Midwest. The driver never stopped and they were flung into a parked car. Luckily, they only suffered minor scrapes and a few bruises. Truthfully, they were a little more embarrassed that they were hit in the first place before anger took over and they became incensed that a driver would have the gall to not pay attention to where they were going. After all, they had reflective tape on their bike and should have been visible. But in reality, despite the fact that drivers should pay more attention, they often have a blindness for bicyclists. The best way to combat this is though LED lighting that alerts drivers to your position and your intent. This is where Lumos, makers of an LED equipped bicycle helmet, intend to change the game.
About the Lumos Helmet
Lumos is currently in the midst of (highly successful) funding campaign on Kickstarter where, at the time of this writing, they have nearly tripled the initial funding goal of $125,000. To help give bicyclists an edge on safety when riding and to stop the deplorable 49,000 bicycling related injuries that occur on the road every year, Lumos has integrated turn signals and brake lights on a helmet. Using a wireless controller that straps to your handlebars, Lumos gives bicyclists the ability to indicate turns before they are made, and thanks to a built in accelerometer, automatically lights up when you brake.
So given that bicyclists have always had hand signals to indicate direction and intent, why do we need an LED helmet? Simply put, hand signs don’t attract attention and many drivers appear unaware of what they mean. The Lumos helmet provides even inattentive drivers with obvious signals that should be impossible to ignore.
Before you ask if an LED equipped helmet is going to be heavier, it thankfully is slim, streamlined, and light, due to the rechargeable battery. According to the makers, Lumos should last for about 210 minutes of use before needing a recharge, which equates to about 30 minutes a day of usage per week. So avid cyclists should anticipate at least two recharges a week.
What I like about it:
It’s a simple design that seems to just work. The helmet and remote work off proximity sensors so you don’t need to worry about pairing complications and it’s water resistant so you don’t have to worry about being caught in inclement weather.
What I don’t:
The included accelerometer apparently signals braking when slowing down. This means that despite your best effort going up a hill, the helmet can signal that you are braking. Depending on how you look at it, this could be a blessing, or deceptive to people behind you. Plus, with a price at approximately $150, the Lumos is a luxury only serious cyclists will be likely to afford.
Regardless of the price, if you ride a bike, you should seriously consider investing in the Lumos helmet. Chances are in your favor that it could save your life, and isn’t that worth at least $150?
Kickstarter: Lumos – A Next Generation Bicycle Helmet
Photo credit: Lumos