If you bike with cars — which is pretty much everyone not in a city that rhymes with shmopenhagen — there are going to be close calls.
No matter how alert, diligent, defensive, cautious, vocal, nimble, predictable, careful — every day is a maze of close calls and near misses. (What up, Boston!) So when I heard about the Lumos Helmet way back when it was but a twinkle in Kickstarter’s eye, I was so excited for a good idea whose time had come — a high-visibility bicycle helmet with turn signals! Could it be true!
When my helmet showed up on my doorstep the other day, I was more nervous than anything — what if it didn’t live up to the months of anticipation? What if it wasn’t… comfy? Cool-looking? And how does the turn signal work, anyways?
Well — spoiler alert: it rules. It’s more comfortable than the helmet it’s replacing (only slightly heavier – but not really noticeable), the design looks sleek and understated even in non-lights incognito mode (just a normal helmet!), and the wireless turn signal remote is intuitive and quickly became second nature. No need to take your hands off the bars for football-coach-playcall-esque hand signals anymore – the wireless remote attaches to the handlebar and just needs a quick tap to the L or R button, without even lifting your hand.
The front and rear lights are great, too, with 360 visibility. Combine with standard front and rear bike lights and you’re set.
In my test ride yesterday, around dusk, I pulled up to a stoplight in front of the Cambridge Public Library. The car next to me inched forward, and I heard the window roll down. I braced for some kind of the typical unpleasantries — but instead, the suited driver said, “Hey! That helmet! I just got one! It’s really cool!”
It’s a win-win — drivers can more easily see and understand what bikes are doing, and I found as a bicyclist that I’m more likely to use the turn signals than the awkward hand signal balancing act.
Some nuts and bolts: It’s weather proof, has more than 60 LED lights, charges with a magnetic USB cord (battery life seems good, certainly not an issue for commuting), and easy to turn on, off, and toggle between settings with a single button. One thing I haven’t tried yet (it’s still in “beta”, at least in this first batch of helmets) is the automatic brake lights mentioned on the Lumos website, which would sense when you’re slowing down and turn the back lights solid red.
I’m guessing the helmets might go through some iterations since they’re still such a young company — but bottom line, it is absolutely worth getting one, for yourself and anyone you know who spends time on a bike. Lumos is a giant upgrade to a bicyclist’s most important piece of gear — we’re excited to see them popping up around town!