London has been greatly troubled recently by a number of tragic cyclist accidents resulting in several fatalities, an occurrence which has seemingly grown in the dark winter months. It seems paramount that cyclists need to do their absolute utmost to ensure being seen, and thus being safe.
This is why the new cycling gloves from Zackees could prove to be a life-saving invention. Created by former Google software engineer Zach Vorhies, these gloves do away with traditional hand signals by instead including illuminated turn signals inside.
Each glove has an array of LEDs embedded in its back, which are powered by two onboard coin cell batteries. Those LEDs form a blinking directional arrow, and are activated simply by touching a pair of metal contacts together – one on the inside of the glove’s thumb, and one on the inside of its index finger.
When the user extends either arm out to signal, the arrow on that glove will light up for as long as the contacts are pressed together. All of the electronics are enclosed in a waterproof polymer, so the gloves can be washed. If the contacts do accidentally meet during washing or storage, the LEDs will automatically turn themselves off after being powered up for an extended period.
When the battery life starts to run out (which the company believes will be around every three to six months, depending on how often the LEDs are used), the lights will blink faster and dimmer to let you know that it’s time to replace or recharge the batteries.
While traditional hand signals will let the arrows be seen by drivers behind the bike, Vorhies suggests that in situations where riders are more concerned about being seen by oncoming cars, they should leave their hands on the bars so the arrows are facing forwards.
Zach and his business partner Murat Ozkan are now raising production funds for Zackees, on Kickstarter. The cheaper early bird pledge levels are already sold out, but a donation of $69 should get you a pair if and when the funding goal is met.