June 19, 2015 / 1:25 PM / 4 years ago

Smart cycle jacket could save lives on Mexico City's roads

Mexico City’s bumper-to-bumper traffic is a problem for the sprawling capital city’s cyclists.

A Mexican-made ‘intelligent’ cycle jacket could prove to be the solution the daily tussle between cars and bikes.

Two inventors have developed a cyclist’s vest complete with indicators, brake lights and an alert systems that can call for help.

The ‘Safe Ride’ jacket is fitted with LED technology across the back and divided into three parts. The central part of the jacket stays permanently lit to provide illumination whilst the side lights act just like car indicators with the movement of the left or right arm determining which side of the jacket will light up.

Damian Real, a physics students, came up with the design for the smart bike jacket with his partner Riberto Rivas, a maths major, at Mexico’s National Autonomous University.

Real says what sets it apart from its rivals is the ‘Safe Ride’ jacket’s ability to calls for help in the event of an accident via your smartphone. Any sudden stop in acceleration will send off an alert message for help with your location. In case of a false alarm the cyclist can cancel the alert.

“Basically what it does is that it has a central part, LED lights which are lit all the time. When the cyclist moves to the left it activates the indicator on the left side. When the right arm is moved it activates the indicator on the right side. This system has two forms, one which is prevention and to illuminate and the other is an alert system. This system connects to mobile phone sensors so that when there is a change in acceleration it sends those registered details that there is a change in acceleration and probably an accident and a location where the cyclist can be found. So it has two things, firstly prevention and the other is an alert system in case of an accident,” said Real.

The jacket’s LED lights are protected by a transparent layer that holds the wiring in place. The lights are powered by a lightweight rechargeable lithium battery.

The busy Mexican metropolis sees more than 21 million people battle for space on its chaotic roads. The creators of the ‘Smart Ride’ jacket hope their garment will allow car drivers to understand cyclists movements better.

“When I see a bike I try to stay as far away as I can because you don’t know if they’re going to come out in front or if they’re going to turn or brake. So the idea occurred to me to have a piece of equipment that alerts drivers when they’re going to come out in front, when they’re going to brake, to alert those people behind them as to what they’re going to do. So it’s a language for cyclists and drivers who can get along,” said co-developer Roberto Rivas.

Real and Rivas are putting the ‘Safe Ride’ jacket through its final paces before producing a batch of up to 300 for the market. The retail value of the “intelligent” jacket is expected to be 600 pesos, or about $40 dollars.

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