It was a dark night to be riding a bicycle through the city. Luckily, I was wearing my LED safety belt for visibility.
No, this isn’t a dorky implement borrowed from a worker on a construction site. The belt, made by HALO of San Francisco, is a sleek-looking accessory that provides visibility to boot.
Like a lot of niche products lately, the brand’s namesake HALO Belt came to market after a successful campaign on the crowd-source funding site Kickstarter.
With hundreds of backers and $57,000 raised, the small company now sells a line of belts that glow via embedded fiber optics.
Technically, the HALO is powered by LEDs that emit lighting through a “custom-designed thermoplastic polyurethane fiber optic,” the company explains.
That tech is hidden inside a comfortable nylon belt. A compartment near the buckle takes the common CR2025 batteries, which are replaceable at any convenience store.
To use the belt, you simply clip it on with its plastic buckle and press a button. Now, step on your bike pedals and ride into the night, the HALO Belt can shine or blink for 20 hours straight before its batteries die.
I tested the belt this month while night riding and was impressed. The LEDs offer light in a solid line to catch drivers’ eyes and make you more visible on a bike.
You can drape it diagonally across your back or wear it on your waist. Be careful that your jacket or shirt does not ride down and cover the belt — this happened to me the first time I wore it on a ride.
While the belt offers increased visibility, its glow is fairly weak. I wear the HALO Belt along with other blinking lights snapped onto my bike bag that are so bright they verge on annoying.
Night riding is not exactly safe, and I like to be lit up like a Christmas tree. The HALO Belt can be a part of this kit, but perhaps should not be the only light source you use if you want to get maximum attention from cars.
The belt light comes in red, green, blue, or yellow. It costs $85 on the Halo website. For that, you get a solid piece of safety gear and a fun, multiuse accessory for the night.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.GearJunkie.com.