I am all for anything that helps get you noticed on the bike — neon accents, horns, lights on even during the day. The latest piece of urban riding safety gear to hit my testing arsenal is the Lumos Helmet. With built-in front and rear lights that can also act as turn signals, this helmet will most definitely get you noticed.
Made up of over 40 bright LEDs (10 white in front, 16 red in back, additional 16 orange for turn signals), the Lumos Helmet delivers 360-degree visibility for both day and night riding. A single button at the back enables you to turn on and off the lights, as well as toggle between solid, slow flash, and fast flash modes.
Via a wireless remote on your handlebar, you can activate a left or right turn signal that will flash a bright orange arrow on the back and flashing orange strip on the front. The handlebar remote is small, unobtrusive, easy to remove, water-resistant, and lasts for months before requiring a charge of battery. It comes ready paired with the helmet so you don’t have to fiddle with Bluetooth.
A feature you can activate or deactivate when you want, the Lumos Helmet can detect when you slow down using the built-in accelerometer and automatically turn all the rear lights a bright solid red. This affects the battery life, however, so generally a good one for when you are riding at night in congested areas.
USB rechargeable, the battery life is designed to fit your typical bike commute — it lasts approximately 6 hours on flashing mode and 3 hours on solid mode. The helmet takes around 2 hours to charge when you get home.
For me, the Lumos Helmet is not just for night riding — not at all. My riding partners have been impressed by how well you can see the lights in bright daylight — a must if you expect the cars to see you, too.
I realized my plan to get noticed was working when I got smiles — you read that correctly — SMILES from drivers when I used the turn signals. There are numerous spots on some of my local rides where it’s difficult to take your hands off the bars and indicate the direction you plan to go — such as a turn off a steep downhill or starting out at an intersection. Simply pressing the turn signal lets you keep your hands on the bars and eyes on the road, all while letting drivers know your intentions.
So what’s wrong with simple arm indication, you ask? Maybe it’s the placebo effect but I feel that by using the same tools that a driver uses, it makes them see you as one of them — just another vehicle on the road instead of an annoyance blocking their way. They treat you better.
For those that love their gadgets, there is a corresponding Lumos app where you can configure settings on your helmet, monitor battery life of both the helmet and remote, and update the firmware as it becomes available.
A couple dings to note — the helmet is just one more thing you have to remember to charge. Not a big deal but it could be a bummer when you head out on your pre-dawn commute to work and your helmet is dead. It still works as a helmet, of course.
And it’s heavy (440 grams) – with the bulk of the weight at the back. This may be coincidence but after wearing it for a few rides, I woke up with a badly pinched nerve in my neck and between my shoulder blades. To be fair, I was wearing the Lumos Helmet for hours at a time — not something you would do on your normal bike commute or ride through urban areas. You wouldn’t need to wear this helmet for long rides along countryside roads — it’s overkill.
But for anyone who commutes to work or regularly rides in an urban setting, the Lumos Helmet is a fabulous piece of gear to add to your safety toolbox. Lumos comes in three colors: Pearl White, Charcoal Black, and Cobalt Blue, retails for $169, and is available for order now.