Turn-indicating bike lights use GPS to respond to their location
There are now a number of "smart" bike lights available, that do things such as automatically switching on when it gets dark outside. The turn-indicating ioLight is different, though, in that it's triggered by the user's GPS coordinates.
Made by Los Angeles-based bike light manufacturer Lumenus (which previously brought us a cycling jacket with integrated turn-signal lights), the complete ioLight system consists of a free iOS/Android app, plus a Bluetooth-equipped white LED headlight and red tail light – that said, the color of the LEDs can be changed via the app.
Before setting out on a ride, the user starts by opening the app and indicating their destination. The software proceeds to select the quickest cycling-friendly route from their present location to that place.
Once they start pedalling, the app automatically alerts them to upcoming turns by sequentially flashing the headlight's strip of LEDs in the direction of the turn. The tail light likewise flashes in that same direction, with both lights letting motorists know which way the cyclist is heading.
If the user wishes to override the app, they can manually activate or deactivate the turn signal function (on both lights) by pressing buttons on either side of the headlight. And if they go for an off-map shortcut – or otherwise don't want to entirely follow the mapped route – that change will be noted by the app, and can then be incorporated into the automated turn signals on subsequent trips.
Additionally, whenever the rider is approaching a "tricky" area such as an intersection or roundabout, the headlight will automatically start strobing to ensure they get noticed. And whenever they hit the brakes, a motion sensor in the tail light detects the deceleration, and responds by pulsating.
The lights can also be purchased individually and used as a standard headlight or tail light, without the app. Both have an output of 200 lumens, are IPX5 water- and dust-resistant, feature 360-degree visibility, and should reportedly run for over 30 hours per charge of their 3.7-volt/2,200-mAh lithium battery. And as an added bonus, they glow in the dark even when they're switched off.
A two-pack consisting of both lights can be purchased now via the link below, at a limited-time introductory price of US$160. After that, the figure will rise to $200.
The ioLight system is demonstrated in the following video.
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I also found out I can just use a hand signal while bike riding and it works just fine and doesn't cost anything or potentially risk my life with wrong signals. Who knew?!
For commuters that cycle to work on the same stretch everyday, Ok maybe it'll make you more visible. Or will it just make you think that the motorist behind you has seen you. There is nothing better than turning your head and signalling. I'm a casual cyclist who never takes the same route.
As for the pulsating light when braking - with so many cyclists already mounting flashing led lights why would the motorist see the difference here.
The lights glow in the dark when turned off says "hey steal me !" I would rather stay discrete.
And finally, who needs another app on their phone to parameter and play with. Just ride and be aware.
I'm not always negative about cycling innovations but I don't see any big advantage over a good led light, good old hand signalling and common sense awareness.