Road Safety News

A new solution to low visibility?

Thursday 17th April 2014

With the public apparently becoming “desensitised” to the benefits of high visibility clothing, the Glow Belt is being put forward as a “quick and simple solution to low visibility”.

The Glow Belt comprises a chain of flashing LEDs that wrap around the wearer in various configurations in order to provide “a clearer view of the person to those around them”.

BMC Innovations, the company behind Glow Belt, says it is currently at the working prototype stage, and “about to be taken to the next level of development”.

Ryan Ward, from BMC Innovations, said: “In a market dominated by vests, jackets and various lighting systems, something unobtrusive, cheap and effective is required.

“Glow Belt is a practical, effective and inexpensive solution to personal safety and visibility.

“Whether out jogging, working in dangerous conditions or simply popping down to the shops, being visible to those around you is of the highest importance.

“The children at a road crossing, the cyclist on the country road, the jogger just trying to keep fit; with a myriad of applications, long battery life and durability, Glow Belt is the next step in affordable, reliable safety wear.

“Glow Belt offers a quick and simple solution to low visibility. No matter the environment, the wearer or the circumstances, Glow Belt offers affordable, reliable visibility.”

For more information contact Ryan Ward at BMC Innovations on 07943 701889.



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Sorry for the delay in posting a 'thought'. Martin here - mentioned in the earlier text. Over the last 25 years we have been shown a lot of these. I’ve also completed about 40 night time pedestrian incident investigations. The last product was a few months ago where a Tron' like marking was used. Now young people will not recall the Sci fi film Tron - but its about a human who goes inside a computer and wears all over reflective clothing. Generally this type of marking should be all about making the person more conspicuous – not more visible. High visibility has little to do conspicuity and detection. The question for this type of marking / system is to prove it works. Proving its safe is the first step to doing this. Generally these types of ‘innovation’ fail to get enough evidence to show that they are safe typically those wearing such products are more visible – but less conspicuous. Less conspicuity equals poor detection.

The good news is that there is now a lot of research out there to help. Your local university can do a lit review for you.
Martin Langham Science Park Sq Brighton

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Hi everyone, your comments and feedback have been very insightful and helpful to us the past few months. If any of you are interested, our Kickstarter campaign has launched and you get get a better look at Glowbelt here:

Ryan, Bingley

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David in Suffolk is correct. The choice should be down to the individual whether they wear Hi-viz in their normal perambulations. The problem arises where an excessive amount of luminance counters the desired effect, dazzle being one with modern day HID bulbs and the like. Even rows of led running lights fitted to new vehicles are a distraction, as the novel patterns of some have an almost hypnotic effect as we gaze at their patterns instead of other possible hazards. To this end, are we not being distracted from the very real necessity of looking for all kinds of hazards by highlighting a selected variety?

I find myself in agreement with Rod King, though I am also aware that there is considerable conflict between drivers and cyclists in Holland through a degree of hubris from the ‘green’ cyclists of today.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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If visibility is such a problem and so many deaths come from car on car collisions then how come no-one seems to be advocating hi-viz for cars? The fact is that the countries that are safest for walking and cycling such as the Netherlands do so by sensitising drivers to the people rather than the clothes through such things as "presumed liability" and cultural respect, together with proper consideration of their needs by town planners and appropriate speed limits.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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For more details about how these lighting systems can work dig out the conspicuity research work undertaken by Dr Martin Langham for Sussex Police. He used the information that each species has key joints which, if illuminated, enable most people to instantly recognise the species/wearer and react accordingly. Hence the changes to hi viz wear for emergency service personnel. It only really works if the wearer is moving and the lights are recognisable for who is wearing them e.g. human walking (ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows), human cycling (pedals and wheels). You would need an agreed pattern for immobile riders in order for us to know what the pattern meant (X = a motorcyclist) and react accordingly.

A similar principle was also in use more years ago than I care to remember, by police officers - only when directing traffic - in Germany, who wore an illuminated cross belt as well as using a red/green lit traffic wand.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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Derek makes a strong, useful point but where should we take his thoughts? Ought it to be illegal to wear any form of hi-vis? Of course not; I am in charge of my own risk, and I shall take reasonable steps to make myself visible. If others choose not to, then that is their choice and they must accept the consequences without seeking to offload blame onto someone else.
David, Suffolk

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I have often suggested that more illumination rather than, or indeed together with, reflective materials will be a good thing especially for pedestrians and TWV riders. For too often one has promoted reflective materials and they as most know will require a light source to make them illuminate or reflect.

I have followed motorcyclists in all black at dusk and at night and all I have seen is little 3 inch by 1 inch poorly lit rear light and nothing else. If the rider was wearing some other form of rear or front illumination then it would make him easier to be seen and thus avoided. Something like an illuminating bib or shoulder/chest pads or arm bands, or even helmet, would give better conspicuity.
bob craven Lancs

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Useful by night, useless by day.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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If so many get dressed up to look like Christmas trees, who is going to notice anyone who is not? This is yet another overkill solution to the basic necessity of looking for hazards as they naturally appear. This razzle dazzle culture is disaster in the making, taking the responsibility of being aware away from one section of society and placing it on another. Is everyone up for walking anywhere covered in led’s?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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A photo of somebody wearing one would have been useful, rather than have it lighting up a desk.

Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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