I recently came across a fantastic Kickstarter campaign for a technologically advanced pair of cycling gloves that feature controllable LED light turn signals on the backside of riders hands.
The Zackees gloves are, as I'm sure you'll agree, as fashionable as their non techy counterparts, but the difference with these gloves is that they contribute considerably to cycle safety too. They do this by sending clear signals about turns being taken by riders to other road users. Pretty neat, huh?
In Great Britain, in 2011 3.1 billion vehicle miles were travelled on pedal cycles and 107 cyclists were killed on the roads. While this is the second lowest number of cycling fatalities in the last 62 years, cycling induced injuries were on the up; 3,085 cyclists were seriously injured on the roads, that's 17% more than at the start of this century.
Statistics show that intersections are where a cyclist is most at risk of getting hit by a car. Recent figures have shown that while only 11% of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car, 45% of these take place in intersections.
Therefore, in order to minimize the risk of intersection accidents with cars, cyclists need to make every effort to maximize their visibility whilst on the road.
Zach Vorheis is the founder of Zackees. Prior to starting Zackees he was a Software Engineer at Google for five and a half years where he was perhaps best known for integrating Google Earth into the Audi Navigation system for the A8 (and later other car lines).
Zach says that the gloves are designed such that riders can signal in front of them without having to take their hands off of the handle bars. He says 'signaling behind you is easy as well; simply extend your hand and press the contact plates together. The light will flash toward drivers behind you so that they can see your intent'.
What makes these turn signal gloves so great?
Zachees say that the greatness of the product is down to the fact that they are durable, washable, feature super bright LEDs despite the tiny battery size, boast an incredibly long battery life and, in addition, like other top of the range cycle gloves (that don't feature potentially life saving technology), they are made using high quality textiles including 'comfortable leather palms, an absorbent towel around the thumb, retro-reflective trim and breathable spandex throughout'.
Zach and his business partner Murat Ozkan last year attempted to raise production funds for Zackees, on Kickstarter. The campaign closed 5 days ago and to say it was a roaring success would be an understatement; the duo doubled their funding goal and secured a whopping $72,500 from over 700 backers.
Head over to www.zackees.com for more info and to place an order.