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2014 Fashion Trend: Electronic Turn Signal Gloves

by Melanie Colavito

First things first.  Happy New Year all you Commute by Bike Readers!

I’m not exactly one for making new year’s resolutions.  Why not make resolve to do something differently any day of the year?  Plus, most people don’t even make it to February with their resolutions.  Maybe that’s because many resolutions are too big or too broad.  Perhaps instead we should be resolving to make small, manageable changes all the time until they add up to those big changes you were hoping for all along.

There, that’s my philosophizing for the day.  You’re welcome.

But it is a new year, and with the new year comes new ideas, new gadgets, and a lot of scribbled out 2013′s on personal checks, paperwork, and assignments.  And I must admit, it’s always fun to review the year past and make predictions for the coming year.  With that being said, let’s make some predictions and not reminisce or dwell on the past.

For one thing, it seems like 2014 will be bringing a new form of clothing to the world of cycling: electronic clothing.  If you’re doing a bit of a double take right now, you’re not alone.  At first glance, when I read the term “electronic clothing”, all I could think about were raves or maybe the flaming suits in The Hunger Games.  Bike commuting didn’t immediately come to mind.

But perhaps it should have.  For Zach Vorhies, electronic clothing has a pretty large functionality component.  His latest idea, and one he is currently funding through Kickstarter, are the Zackees Turn Signal Gloves.  According to the Kickstarter campaign, these are: “The safest and most technologically advanced pair of cycling gloves ever made. Period.”

Honestly, that’s a bold statement for such a simple idea: take a pair of cycling gloves and impregnate them with a turn signal, which serves to both indicate your intentions to other road users and increase your visibility.  But honestly, it’s sometimes the simplest ideas that make the biggest impact.  And I actually think these gloves are a pretty darn good idea.

The gloves look like a simple cycling glove with cutoff fingers, but the top of the gloves has a built-in light with an arrow that matches the direction you’d be turning with the hand you’d extent to indicate this.  The gloves can be used with your hands on or off the handlebars.  The activation switch is on the pointer finger and easily accessible with your thumb.

And they aren’t just marketing these gloves to cyclists but to runners and skateboarders, as well.  The battery life sounds like it’s pretty decent, and there will also be a custom USB charger for a price upgrade.

The price point for the gloves is relatively high at the moment, running $69 for the standard glove and $99 for an ungraded version that has a better battery and the custom USB charger.  But if you act quickly, you can get them at a slightly discounted price through the current Kickstarter campaign, which lasts four more days.

Really, I think this is a pretty neat idea, though the price is a little high, and I haven’t gotten my hands on a pair (pun intended) to try them out for myself.  Apparently, other people think so too, as the project was fully funded on Kickstarter within days.  Check out the video below to learn more.

What do you think?  Would you use them?  Would they make you safer?

Happy New Year & Happy Riding!

 

 

 
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5 Responses to “2014 Fashion Trend: Electronic Turn Signal Gloves”

  1. Woodie Comer says:

    Looks (pun intended) as if this is a good idea. Anything that gives added visibility to bikers, joggers and anyone else that find themselves the target of automobile operators is welcome. Now, if only these operators would use their automobile turn signals to let me know that they are turning right just a few meters ahead when they have just blasted past me as if the world would end if they don’t get to their destination.

  2. Steve says:

    In case anyone is interested, a product very similar to this is already available from the Japanese company Doppelganger: http://www.blessthisstuff.com/stuff/vehicles/cycles/turn-signal-gloves/

    Their version looks to be useable with your own gloves, as opposed to having the lights permanently built into a particular pair.

  3. Eric says:

    I like the basic “flashing light in the glove” concept, the switch location seems well-done, and $70 seems like a reasonable price.

    However, no, I wouldn’t use them, because the arrow points the wrong way. Signalling a left turn with your left arm puts the hand/arm requires putting your arm into the “signalling a right turn with your left hand” position. That means somebody in front thinks you’re turning right, somebody close up behind thinks you’re turning left, and somebody farther back (can see hand and light, but not arrow shape) thinks you’re turning right… I don’t like the idea of creating that kind of confusion.

    If the arrow pointed with the fingers, so that it’s possible to signal properly and have the arrows work with that signalling, I’d seriously consider picking up a pair of the rechargeable version.

  4. Mary Vorhies says:

    Happy New Year! In response to Eric’s comment, the glove has been modified because of feedback. The orientation of the flashing arrow has shifted to the pinky finger which still allows oncoming traffic to see your intent to turn, as well as traffic from behind. The arm can be outstretched in either direction. Good point, Eric, (pun intended). With Zackees, you can be heard AND be seen!

  5. Thanks for pointing that out, Eric. I hadn’t noticed that, but you’re totally right. Glad they’ve modified the gloves to deal with that issue.

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