They want to determine if putting more information in front of drivers will help change their attitudes towards cyclists and cycling in general. As we all know most drivers are unaware that even the most unfit person on a bike is easily capable of between 15 and 25km/h without effort and don't adjust their driving habits accordingly when overtaking, turning or pulling into traffic.
Unfortunately the Speed Vest isn't yet commercially available, but keep an eye on their homepage to learn when it is launched.
Recently I've been thinking of a similar idea, but wasn't sure of the feasibility of wearable display technology. I walk my daughters to school each day down some narrow Japanese streets where the speed limit is a mere 20km/h. The limit is clearly posted and often additional banners warning drivers to slow down are on display, yet despite this cars continue to travel above the speed limit even during hours any sane person would expect kids to be walking to school.
Sometimes I'm tempted to drop a soccer ball in front of a speeding driver to demonstrate to them what a dangerous and inconsiderate a**hole they are being. Other times I just wish I had a cardboard cut out resembling a speed limit sign that I could flash at the driver with a nod and smile.
This is where I got thinking, now that GPS technology is rampant in Japan, and almost all new cellphones on the market have a GPS functionality why not develop a system that uses that technology to display the speed limit in the current street on the back of a child's school backpack, or cyclists jersey?
Working as a engineer developing software for mobile phones in Japan (see The Gaijin Coder) I understand that it is easy to pinpoint a person's location and determine the speed limit of the street they're in, but didn't think displaying that information on a vest was possible.
Do you think having a vest or child's backpack designed to look like a speed limit sign and displaying the current speed limit in bright illuminated numbers would have any impact on drivers?
Tune in next week when I reveal my next invention which connects a drivers horn to their brakes so when a**holes hit their horns when they should be hitting their brakes they slow the hell down.