Exercise outfits seem to fall into two camps: garments for those who want to blend in, and those--usually in iridescent colors and futuristic materials--for people who seem to want to say, "Check me out, I’m exercising!" A new, LED-infused cycling and running jacket most definitely falls into the latter camp, albeit more for safety’s sake than for fashion’s. A band of strobing lights streaks up the back, across the chest and out the arms of the Badger 360° LED Jacket, providing visibility from any direction, from up to a quarter mile away, to warn approaching cars.
Creator Quanns Leung of Los Angeles-based athletic gear company Badger Gears says that he and his business partner’s late-night and early morning triathlon training sessions motivated the jacket’s design. "We didn’t really feel safe running or cycling at night," a sentiment that’s supported by stats: The majority of bike accidents occur between 4 and 8 p.m., when dusk collides with rush hour.
Quanns acknowledges that Badger Gears’ jacket isn’t the first to incorporate LED lights, but he says that his product’s lights won’t shine in its wearers eyes. Plus, the lithium ion battery pack only weighs one ounce, recharges with any USB port, has an integrated controller to cycle through seven different lighting settings, and can last for 8 hours. The whole jacket weighs in at 15 ounces and folds up into a tidy pouch.
Quanns says the jacket shouldn’t replace bike lights, but serves as an additional safety feature (or perhaps the only one, other than a flashlight, if you’re running and walking).
Badger Gears is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough capital to help fund the first production run of the jacket.