Spotted: Do-It-Yourself LED Strip Helmet Illumination

Gear, How To, Safety -


Spotted Do It Yourself LED Strip Helmet Illumination

Riding even at the best of times can make you feel invisible in a sea of minivans and teen drivers. Worse yet, when splitting lanes during rush hour traffic in LA you can easily expect to detect the fine odor of (…did someone hit a skunk?) burning herbs a couple of times every few miles, and if you ride at night, your chance of being seen by every single tired, texting, potentially stoned driver is close to zero.

If you’re dedicated to surviving this melee you do everything you can to increase your visibility, so when I spotted a co-worker who modded his helmet with an LED strip to ensure he gets spotted, I knew I had to snap a picture. Forgive the less-than-perfect cell phone shot.

LED Motorcycle Helmet Light

The strip of LEDs is attached to the back of the helmet with silicone or glue, and a wire runs down to a battery pack in the pocket of the jacket.
My buddy Vince soldered an audio jack into the wiring so that he can unplug the helmet when he takes it off without worrying about the wiring running to his jacket.

You can easily put together something like this with an LED Stripbattery holder and a bit of soldering and ingenuity, or if you’d rather something pre-assembled, you can get a kit from LumenFlex.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Cool idea. I used the same type of strips on my swing arm and wired them to my brakes.

  • hunkyleepickle

    This is a killer idea….. Would take my rf-1200 beacon lid to a new level of visibility.

  • Mattin11225

    Cool idea. Someone with more skill that I should wire in an Arduino board and an accelerometer. Have it flash when you are decelerating, either on engine compression or on the brakes. Anyone out there with the skill want to give it a shot and write it up?

  • DerekB

    Gotta figure out how to make this function when you brake

    • Russell P

      The Gmax 54 has the lights and you can purchase a remote unit that operates it when you brake.

  • William Connor

    GMax makes a helmet with this feature. Not that they make very good helmets but hey it’s a feature. The visibility is pretty nice.

    • brian fleenor

      They also sell a brake kit for it so that the light in the back of the helmet works with your brakes. I have the helmet and, outside of being a little bulky, it’s not bad at all. Gmax GM54 I think is the model #.

  • eddi

    Dear Lumenflex; Shut up and take my money!!

    • Philip Gold

      Eddi… Where are you? Pony up:)

      • eddi

        June or July, I promise. A dude from Salem, Oregon will want a red/white set.

  • Tom Gabriele

    I would be worried this would distract from the actual brake light. Other drivers staring at this light, not noticing when the brake light gets brighter. Like moths to a candle.

    • eddi

      I’m not 100% happy with current rear light designs anyway. They seem to have shrunk in the name of style. Fortunately a Givi topcase with a brake light option puts the brake light right at eye level for most cars. I know even that is not perfect, but it makes me happier. Running helmet lights all the way around can’t hurt, especially in poor light conditions. Rewiring the rear turn signals to flash on braking might be a thing to look into as well.

      I stop short of recommending flare launchers and flash-bang grenades, but only because of potential fire hazards.

    • V Twin

      Yes, agree fully. This light would need to be linked into the ‘stop-tail’ wiring loom/harness to be safe.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    This looks geeky – sorry. Preparing for safety comments in 3,2.1

    • eddi

      So does hi-viz gear. But that isn’t gonna stop people wearing it. It does mean it might never be overwhelmingly popular.

      • Nemosufu Namecheck

        I like the wiring job though; but a solar panel on that fin would look the part on a Variant lid.

        • eddi

          I don’t know if the panels would survive the day-to-day activities of the helmet. But if it could work that would be ideal.

  • John F.

    Don’t forget about Vololights..

  • Philip Gold

    Check out the LightRider (patent-pending) from Lumenflex…

  • Andrew Ho

    Know what i did? Bicycle LED rear blinkers and a strip of sticky velcro. Less hassle, no wires to mess with and still gives light.

  • Timothy Gray

    Great for that Look at my led’s effect, but honestly a strip of really good red reflector tape works better. if you get the good 3M stuff it will reflect their headlights at full brightness. The strip of orange and yellow on my helmet is painful to look at at night from behind.

    Now hook those LEDS into the brake light, then you have something that is super awesome.