CladLight, a young Kenyan start-up company run by brothers Charles and Joseph Muchene, has created a new Smart Jacket for motorcycle riders. The jacket increases riders’ visibility and will hopefully reduce the number of motorcycle accidents that occur each year.
Motivations behind the Smart Jacket
The Muchenes wanted to create a product to help save riders’ lives. CNN reports there are 13,000 road fatalities a year in Kenya, as motorcycle riders routinely weave through the highly congested, gridlocked roads.
Charles Muchene commented: “We are expecting to bring sanity onto our roads. And we are hopeful that we will have a reduction of accidents that are happening. If measures are not taken, we are going to have even double the number [of traffic fatalities in Kenya].”
Smart Jacket Features
The Smart Jacket is a reflective vest that is fitted with these features.
- LED lights
There is also a transmitter mounted on the motorcycle. The jacket uses a wireless technology that detects the rider’s movements then lights up the vest to signal the movement to surrounding road users.
The lights are controlled remotely so that when a rider comes to a stop or makes a turn, the vest will light up. The jacket works in real time, and makes riders much more visible to drivers, thereby decreasing the risk of visibility-related accidents.
“We are confident that the Smart Jacket will help save lives by increasing the visibility of motorcyclists, especially at night, while at the same time eliminating the need for the cyclist to make hand signals when turning, resulting in more stability,” said Joseph Muchene.
Growing Popularity in Kenya
In Kenya, motorcyclists are required by law to wear a high visibility jacket. The Muchenes are currently pitching to motorcycle manufacturers to adopt and help distribute the Smart Jacket. It’s their hope that the manufactures will partner with CladLight and begin distributing the jackets for free with every motorcycle purchase. If they are successful in creating partnerships with distributors, it will greatly decrease production costs and widen their market.
“We hope that the cost of the jackets will go down by up to 30 percent, once we are able to source for more affordable components, like transmitters, from external markets,” explained Joseph Muchene.
Smart Jackets in America
CladLight Smart Jackets are not yet on the American market. Joseph Muchene shares his company’s plans: “Once we see that there’s a good number of guys having the jackets, and it’s having the impact that we intended to have, that is the reduction of motorcycle accidents due to poor visibility, we’ll venture into other markets.”
In the meantime, American riders might consider purchasing reflective vests to reduce their risk on the road. Available jackets come in bright yellow or orange and feature retro-reflective material.
Reflective clothing isn’t a legal requirement in the States, but is highly recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Reflective jackets can help “to make the rider visible to other motorists, especially at night. A high percentage of car-vehicle crashes occur because the driver of the other vehicle ‘failed to see the rider in time to avoid the crash,’” explains the NHTSA.
North East Philly Motorcycle Rider Resources
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