Torch Apparel

Torch's headgear doubles as an LED safety light.

When it comes to nighttime bike safety, you've got your low-grade equipment like reflectors and lights. Then there's the nuclear option: a helmet armed with an army of LEDs, making the rider appear like a floating demon eye escaped from the depths of hell.

The T1 Helmet, which starts at $99, is a screaming-loud visibility device developed by Los Angeles-based Torch Apparel. Unlike those helmet-mounted lights that make cyclists look like coal miners, the T1 rewrites the equation by turning the helmet itself into one big light. The headgear has illuminated panels both front and back that can switch between steady, flashing, and off cycles.

Here's how its maker, Nathan Wills, described the helmet in a recent design contest (it won silver prize in the "safety clothing" category):

Currently there are few choices for cyclists when it comes to safety equipment. While there are many products on the market, most use the same approach: Several small, narrowly focused LEDs placed close together and mounted to the center of the bike. After realizing the rider is the largest surface area on a bike, the idea quickly made sense to create the largest lit surface possible. By placing it up high in the helmet, the rider is visible over traffic and other road obstacles.

The T1's light shields are made from tough polycarbonate, so there's little danger of riders' helmets exploding into electronic shards upon a wipe-out. The batteries recharge via USB, but the process takes about 90 minutes. On the plus side, the apparel company has increased the battery life to 36 hours in its upcoming T2 version, which is already available for pre-sale on Indiegogo.

Bike helmet, from $99 at Torch.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    Europe’s Cities Weren’t Built for This Kind of Heat

    A record-breaking heat wave across London, Paris, and Amsterdam is signaling an urgent need for design and cultural changes to combat climate change.

  2. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  3. animated illustration: cars, bikes, scooters and drones in motion.
    Transportation

    This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One.

    To rein in traffic-snarling new mobility modes, L.A. needed digital savvy. Then came a privacy uproar, a murky cast of consultants, and a legal crusade by Uber.

  4. photo: Cranes on the skyline in Oakland, California
    Life

    How to Make a Housing Crisis

    The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×