You know those cars with the strip of small LED type lights at the front? I think Audi first introduced them, now they are ubiquitous. Several years ago Triumph made a jacket with a similar light set up. It looked naff, but I'm sure it was for good night time safety reasons, and I can't locate it in their current clothing catalogue. A poor seller, or someone in the marketing department agreed with me?


Risk averse, for better or worse, is now firmly embedded into western culture. Many motorcyclists have taken this onboard, wearing hi-vis jackets and vests, and a lot of riders, especially those who choose BMW GS's and Honda Gold Wings; like to adorn the front with a spectrum of lights.

There are always 'inventors' and initiators who want to go one step beyond, and in the US (where else?) several people have registered patents for a ring of lights around crash helmets, and in the interest of journalism I tortured myself by looking through some of these in order to inform and perhaps amuse the Wemoto News readership.

One of the patents is for a 'ring of light' that operates off the bike's electronic system and comes on when a brake light or indicator is activated. So you would in effect be like a moving neon sign, or Xmas tree at the appropriate time of year. There's another which is a cover studded with lights that fits over the helmet and stays on all the time. The description of the patents all state safety as the major reason for wanting to bring these products to market.

I am, rather innocently as it turns out, thinking that this may be some future wheeze or gimmick a helmet manufacturer may take up. But sticking 'motorcycle helmets led lights into' the usual search shows that Shark produce the curiously named 'Skwal' with led lights at the front. There are also You Tube offerings from people who have designed their own helmet lighting rigs.

Ebay have devoted one of their buying guides to purchasing one of these light fantastics: stating 'For motorcyclists who get caught in the dark or inclement weather, being seen is the only way to stay safe on their bikes'. Err no, there are many, many other ways to stay safe on your bike. But this  statement is probably more to do with scaring the naive or the novice into buying an led helmet.

Are more lights and more hi-vis gear the way to remain safe and reduce collisions. Or are we being lulled into a false sense of security where skill, awareness and anticipation become totally devalued?

Let us know your thoughts -
Posted by John Newman
for Wemoto News on 17 April 2015 in Technology

Edited By: Daisy Cordell



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