Messenger Bag LED Matrix Keeps Bikers Safe At Night


Get a little more exposure than one under-saddle bike light can provide by building your own LED enabled messenger bag. It looks like the bag itself was fabricated from scratch by [Andrew Maxwell-Parish] rather than altering an existing bag. He had a few goals for the project, the most interesting of which was to make the electronics removable. His reasoning for this is so he can get the bag past security at the airport.

The design is quite simple, there’s a large flap which is attached at the top of the bag and has a couple of clips at the bottom to keep ti closed. On the inside of the flap he sewed a snap system which holds one piece of material on which all of the electronics are attached. The Lilypad system is used (it looks like the original hardware and not the FLORA upgrade). The main unit is sewn to one side, while the Charlieplex LED matrix was attached in a grid centered on the flap. The lights shine through the orange fabric, keeping them fairly safe from the weather and giving them a reddish hue.

If you’re looking for a few more features check out this GPS enabled messenger bag.

12 thoughts on “Messenger Bag LED Matrix Keeps Bikers Safe At Night

  1. “It looks like the bag itself was fabricated from scratch by [Andrew Maxwell-Parish] rather than altering an existing bag. ”
    It looks like it makes no difference for a drunk driver who is about to hit you.

    1. 1 watt steady red, great!
      1 watt blinking,flashing, or any distracting light should be illegal if not already at that level.
      If not turning or stopping or an emergency, steady as you go.

      1. YMMV, but the law in my state doesn’t stipulate between steady and blinking. Virtually all drivers here know that a small flashing red light at the right hand side of the road means there is a cyclist there (and some even give the cyclist some room to ride). Blinking does get more attention than steady.

      2. The “distracting” element of flashing lights is the entire point. It’s easier to ignore or miss steady lights, especially little bike lights that occupy only a small part of your field of view.

        Bicycles don’t have brake lights or indicator lights, so the “if not turning or stopping” thing doesn’t make any sense, as the cyclist might well be turning or stopping and the driver needs to take notice of this. Besides, indicators are a totally different colour.

        If little flashing lights distract any driver sufficiently and for such an extended period of time that they have an accident, that person should definitely not be driving a car and should probably be classed as mentally handicapped.

        1. Bingo. It’s called situational blindness. Most drivers are on the lookout for cars, maybe trucks. It’s absolutely amazing the shit people can fail to notice not because they’re stupid, drunk, or incompetent, but simply because it’s not what they’re expecting. Ask anyone who rides a motorcycle how often they have people try to merge into them or drive through them.

  2. I created this and, just for clarification, I look at the safety aspect of this project as being in addition to regular bike lights. I think the uniqueness of having a customizable display will make it very noticeable to drivers and any additional lights can’t be bad.

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