Cyclists concerned that wild arm gesticulations may not be the safest way of signalling on the road may be in luck, as a biking backpack with integrated LED turn signals has appeared on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
The Lumos Aster claims to be the world's safest commute backpack and comes loaded with features to keep riders seen and safe thanks to automatic brake lights and glowing profile beams.
While LED-covered apparel has risen in popularity with safety-conscious commuters travelling by push bikes, the feature-rich Aster pack could become the ultimate cycling companion as it also comes kitted out with a theft alarm, accompanying smartphone app and is "100% weather resistant".
Currently in prototype stage, the Bangalore-based creative team at Lumos promise that the backpack's constant 16-LED rear light panel is visible to other road users up to a distance of 250m. The stark, red 30-LED break signal meanwhile is two times brighter and activates automatically via an accompanying handlebar Sidekick due to an in-built accelerometer.
The left and right turn indicators are also controlled by the handlebar attachment, although these require a manual press to flash up a signal on the backpack's rear.
Meanwhile, globe-hopping cyclists worried about falling foul of strict global safety regulations, can control the brightness levels with the Aster Lumos App for Android and iOS.
The smartphone app also provides additional security measures to combat pesky bike thieves as once you inform the app that the bike is locked in place, any movement for more than five seconds will trigger an alarm. One would hope that it would refrain from blaring out a loud siren on a particularly windy day, however.
Two side profile lights and a pair of high-visibility strap panels round out the glittering package that Lumos describes with the catchy tagline "backpack by day, superhero by night", although we probably should point out it still comes complete with traditional bag features – including helmet and U-Lock clips, fold-out design and a detachable shoe compartment to keep smelly odours away from your packed lunch.
The battery-powered backpack is rapidly approaching its funding goal of $50,000 (£35,000, €44,200), with 304 backers contributing 65% of the total amount at time of writing. With the early-bird special offers gone, the cheapest price for an Aster – estimated to ship in December 2016 – is $99 with additional worldwide shipping costs.
The Bangalore-based Lumos has a history with cycling backpack tech having previously produced solar-powered bags and panniers designed to charge your electronic accessories while cycling.
The Aster backpack certainly is not the first attempt to introduce turning signals for cyclists. In fact, bike tech connoisseurs could be forgiven for mistaking the pack as a spin-off of the highly publicised LED-covered Lumos Helmet operated through a wireless handlebar remote. Despite the striking similarities in both brand name and design, the two companies and products appear to be completely unrelated.
Keep in mind, potential UK buyers, that the Highway Code clearly stresses that arm signals are the recognised form of indication for street cyclists. While some lights may help you stand out while burning bike rubber down a steep hill, best to keep those arms waving if you need to change course.