Illuminated Cycling Communication

Case study

Problem: With an increasing number of cyclist hitting the road, it unfortunately equates to a higher rate of cycling related death and injury. Visual safety is a growing concern amongst cyclist of all age groups but one group in particular, baby boomers. High visibility products, such as bright yellow jackets have been around for some time, but have failed to be adapted by all cyclist.

Solution: Luminelo is a means of visual communication amongst cyclist and perhaps more importantly automobiles. The illuminated and dynamic jersey lets people know when a cyclist is turning and stopping while also providing visibility in lowlight. Luminelo is a replacement and a better solution for high visibility products. By using stretchable circuits, an up and coming technology, a matrix of small LEDs will effectively communicate the intentions of cyclist.

Communication:  In larger groups it’s extremely important for cyclist to communicate amongst one another to avoid an accident. For slowing down, using hand signals and yelling out “slowing” or “stopping” is common practice to indicate your intentions. After participating in multiple large group rides, it became extremely apparent to me that these ways of communicating are quite primitive and not as effective as you might think. Not always can you hear what the person is yelling due to road noise, and you may not see the persons hand signal because it blends in with all the other riders

During a Saturday morning training ride I stumbled upon a design opportunity while riding closely in a pack of riders. We were traveling down a long strait road with a good amount of stoplights, and we seemed to stop at just about light. I looked over at a car next to me while waiting at a stoplights and realized that if cyclist had break lights on themselves it would completely eliminate the need to use such primitive means of communication.

Testing:  With the help of an electrical engineering friend I constructed an LED array. I then strapped the LEDs to my body in various places and recorded the results. From there I determined that the back, the wrist, thigh, and the out ward facing part of the shoulder are optimal for visibility.

Featured at: Designbuzzamazingworldwide, CRA, MoncoindesignTom’s Guide