Having lived in Northern New Jersey in the U.S.A for the last 22 years, I have seen some crazy things on the roads late at night, especially after work driving home in the winter. Pedestrians walking with no reflective apparel, no nite lights or safety essentials of any kind.
Staying Safe at Night While Running, Walking or Biking is Being Taken to The Next Level
It was no shock to discover the national fatal accident records from the last few years for both pedestrians and people using bicycles without proper precautions to be seen safely in the darkness amid the myriad of other dazzling lights. Many of the illuminated running vests I see on the market leave so much to be desired still.
Even when people do use some form of lighting on their bikes or reflective sash or other lighted safety device, it is mostly drowned out in the ocean of other much brighter lights in use at the same time from cars and larger pickup trucks that usually just blind you. So what chance would someone walking at night or riding their bike home at night have? What can they do to be safer than most? A solution is in certainly in the works and making ready for its release in early 2014.
The Illuminated Running Vest Was Born Out of Necessity
In September of 2012 I began walking for fitness reasons, and as the nights drew closer, the more dangerous parts of the journey (about 5 miles of walking each night) became horribly apparent as there was no street lights, plenty of blind, harsh corners, places for muggers to hide and at times no sidewalks whatsoever.
I have invented all my life from the age of 7, my job has me creating many a cool product for other companies, but now I was designing something practical for myself (at least, that is how it all started) I put pen to paper and began to sketch out my ideas of a new safety lighting system unlike any out there on the market today. But before we get into that, let’s look at some of the statistics from the last few years of road safety in the U.S.
Fatal Accidents Could be Drastically Reduced
The overwhelming number of people killed in the last few years on bikes, or walking home from work at night on roads that are far from perfect for walking or biking is scary to say the very least. In 2011, 677 bicycle/motor vehicle crashes happened in the U.S. alone. Down from 830 in 1995, but I feel this is pure luck and not a sign that things are in fact improving. Over 38,000 cyclists had accidents without being killed in 2011 too, but we can surely improve on this number.
As far as pedestrians, back in 2010 there was 4,280 lives lost in accidents with cars, that is almost 12 people every day of the year being killed in senseless accidents, and a staggering 70,000 injuries were reported in the same year. The total cost of pedestrian death alone among children aged 14 and younger is $5.2 billion per year (as reported from Safe Kids Worldwide) And while many of these were also in daylight, 60% were in dimly lit or no light situations and WE CAN make a drastic difference in these numbers for the better.
Glowing, Reflecting Light Isn’t Enough – The Art of Being Seen at Night
Looking at all the products on the market for being seen safely at night while running or walking or riding a bike, the list of products are in fact feeble at best. Most of the products available either glow or reflect light which is pointless and I will explain the reasons why. Cars travel about 40mph on the roads where I live, the sidewalk is only feet away from the traffic at best. Wearing a reflective vest does nothing for you in complete darkness and the same for the vests that glow with illumination like that of some of the newer fiberoptic version that are now available. They look cool once you are in a direct line of sight, but they do you no good when a car is a moment away behind a blind corner where they cannot see you as you are not in line of sight.
The same can be said for the head or chest mounted lights, that most are between 45 – 150 lumens, and even though this style is a step in the right direction, they do not warn others too much of your presence until you are right on them in some cases. In all of the above, if you are on a nice straight open road with plenty of vision, your chances are better. This is where the Illuminator from UnitedKreative comes in.
A Vest or Lighting Harness Should Help YOU See What is in Front of You
The Illuminator shines very powerful beams of light directed to the ground about 10 to 30 feet in front of you. This lights your path incredibly, letting you know exactly what is coming your way safely and also lets others see you are coming, just like another car on the road at night. The light beam can be adjusted to show you what is ahead like a car’s high beams, giving you a further 50 to 100 feet of illuminated path ahead of you, though will shine up to 400 – 500ft with the adjustable 500 – 4000 lumens of light power with the use of the latest Cree led. With this field of view, with this power of light, you can see all your obstacles. Either way, being lighted at night will be safer. Maybe your situation will be the best determiner of what type of running or exercise gear for night would best suit your needs. But no matter what you do, from walking to hunting, from running to spelunking, from skiing to camping, the Illuminator from www.The-Illuminator.com will be the most ultimate night-time exercise safety lighting systems you can buy. And certainly the coolest looking. With 3 initial models, “The Scout”- 1000 Lumens, “The Ranger” – 2000 Lumens and “The Night Hawk” – 4000 Lumens each created for specific activities.
The rechargeable battery packs will last up to 4+ hours on high power and 12+ hours on the low power setting. Although the units are still in development, the testing is going well beyond our expectations for such devices. The Lighting modules are shoulder mounted which presents a completely different concept with a whole other set of challenges in designing them, plus gives a completely different take on typical lighting used when out and about at night. The modules are purchased with the vest for mounting, but you can also take the lighting modules off and clip them onto your own favorite backpack if hiking or camping which is an awesome feature. Looking at someone in the face will no longer blind them like the head mounted running lights. The vests themselves will come in a small variety of colors initially, from neon greens and yellows to the stylish black.
Currently we have 3D printers creating prototype samples to play with the electronics side of things and we are getting close to ramping up for production in early 2014 after a Kickstarter appeal. So please come like us on Facebook and Google Plus to make sure you know what’s happening as it happens with this exciting new venture. We also have a Blog and Podcast on iTunes to help you stay in touch and up to date.
Great Things Ahead Keeping the Roads Safer at Night. The-Illuminator.com Team