Useeme Turnin’ – The Automatic Wearable Bicycle Turn Signal

Useeme Turnin' - The Automatic Wearable Bicycle Turn Signal

Bicycle turn signals are an idea that have been around for awhile. Many have attempted to integrate them into bicycle wear, but few have succeeded to gain a real foothold in the market place. Most recently, Zackees successfully funded a Kickstarter for their turn signal gloves, which actually look pretty good. Even so, Useeme wanted to take the turn signal further – to create a design that checked all the boxes of being wearable, visible, and most importantly, Automatic.

Useeme finally has working prototypes with an intriguing design. Is this the future of bicycle signalling? See how the Useeme signals work and one of the more entertaining pitch videos, next…

Even if you follow all the rules of the road and always signal your turns, chances are half of the drivers behind you have no clue what the right turn signal means. Even if they do know, there’s a good chance they won’t see your signal or choose to ignore it. Add a bit of flashing LEDs however, and it will be sure to get noticed.

That’s the theory behind Useeme’s Smart LED Wristbands which automatically light up when you lift your hands off the bar. To signal a left turn, stick out your left arm, to signal a right turn stick out your right arm. I had always been taught that right turns were signaled with your left arm pointed upwards, but upon writing this I have learned that most states have amended their turn signal laws to also accept the left arm/right arm method as well – which is good news for Useeme.

The turn signals use motion detectors to activate 11 bright, orange LEDs around the band that are visible from all angles, regardless of the type of handlebar. Also, thanks to the flexible bracelet design, Useeme signals can be used with any gloves or jersey/jackets for year ’round indication.

Useeme Turnin' - The Automatic Wearable Bicycle Turn Signal Useeme Turnin' - The Automatic Wearable Bicycle Turn Signal

Based out of Hungary, Useeme is a 3+ year collaboration between inventor László Nyirádi, plastic molding expert László Nyirádi Sr., engineer and electronics guru Viktor Mayer, customer care and administration specialist Nikolett Nyirádi, and Péter Balla who will handle the marketing and sales of the turn signals. As with many clever bicycle related projects currently, the Useeme turn signal comes to us in the form of an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. Pairs of turn signals can be purchased for as little as €34 (45.99), with the production versions selling for €49 ($66.28), but don’t forget shipping to the US will set you back at least another €15 ($20.29). The campaign runs until July 31st, 2014.

indiegogo.com

useeme.eu

Comments

JMG DC - 06/11/14 - 12:19pm

“I had always been taught that right turns were signaled with your left arm pointed upwards.” That makes sense in a car because the driver can’t reach out the passenger side window, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing this on a bike.

Oderus - 06/11/14 - 12:28pm

ALL signals should be made with your left arm. If you are following the rules of the road (US roads anyway) then you should be on the far right of any given roadway with traffic passing you on your left. Using your left arm allows any approaching driver to see your hand signals without obstruction.

Matt - 06/11/14 - 12:31pm

“ALL signals should be made with your left arm.”
False!

JMG DC has it right, you should just point in the direction you’re going. the left-hand signalling is perfectly legal too, but it’s made because as a driver unless you’re 6’8″ tall and driving an old VW Beetle you can’t really stick your hand out the passenger window.

David - 06/11/14 - 12:32pm

@JMG DC: You’re right, it makes no sense, but the “left arm up to indicate right turn” has been promoted as the right thing to do since I was a wee lad. I see lots of cyclists in their 40s and 50s use it religiously. Maybe it was promoted in the 60s and 70s?
I also see roadies using the hand-flick [or the elbow point] to indicate the direction of travel, as if they were in a paceline. I don’t think they know that drivers a) can’t see that and b) typically aren’t familiar with paceline etiquette. Personally, I use the “point where I’m going” technique. Works great.

Ben - 06/11/14 - 12:43pm

Point with your right or left arm. Most motorists can’t figure out a 4 way stop, let alone why you are holding your crooked arm in the air.

briderdt - 06/11/14 - 12:55pm

Left arm signalling is based on motorcycles as well — throttle and bake are on the right hand.

I’ve always used the left hand to signal a right turn, unless I’m in a left lane wanting to move right, in which case I use my right hand (like when I’ve made a left into a left turn lane and need to move over to get to the right hand side).

Claudio - 06/11/14 - 1:10pm

Jeez. I wonder how much of their fund money they had to allot to getting their pitch video done by Wes Anderson…

RUSTYDOGG - 06/11/14 - 1:20pm

Hand Signals

22111. All required signals given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of a vehicle in the following manner:

(a) Left turn-hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the vehicle.

(b) Right turn-hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the vehicle, except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

(c) Stop or sudden decrease of speed signal-hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the vehicle.

ObligatedToSay - 06/11/14 - 1:27pm

Another vote for “all signalling with the left arm”. From a North American perspective…

I had a fellow cyclist repeatedly tell me that signalling to turn right with the right arm is allowed in my province — it’s legal for motorcycles? So I watched cyclists when I was driving… The signal was obstructed from my view as a driver when dealing with 2+ cyclists. Signalling is for the traffic around you, and if they can’t see it…

The signals have been “standard” for decades. I had one driver pull up alongside to say they hadn’t seen a slowing/stop signal in years.

Benzo - 06/11/14 - 1:35pm

Nit Ize makes LED SLAP bracelets for $10 a pop which solve this same problem cheaper. You just need your hands to be seen in the dark, Nite Ize SlapLit LED Bracelet does that, and has some passive reflectivity too in case of drivers headlights overpowering the LED.

Zach Overholt - 06/11/14 - 2:17pm

This is the bicycle hand signal law from my state:
§ 4511.40. Hand and arm signals.
(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, all signals required by sections 4511.01 to 4511.78 of the Revised Code, when given by hand and arm, shall be given from the left side of the vehicle in the following manner, and such signals shall indicate as follows:
(1) Left turn, hand and arm extended horizontally;
(2) Right turn, hand and arm extended upward;
(3) Stop or decrease speed, hand and arm extended downward.

(B) As an alternative to division (A)(2) of this section, a person operating a bicycle may give a right turn signal by extending the right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle.

From what I’ve read, hand turn signal laws were originally written at a time when automobiles had no turn signals. Since drivers sit on the left, a signal with the right arm can’t be seen, so all signals were made to be left handed. Since a bike is visible from both sides, most states have amended their laws to include right turn with right hand signals.

Matthew - 06/11/14 - 3:00pm

Even if it weren’t legal (it is here in WA), I’d still point the direction I plan to turn. Left arm raised up at a 45 degree angle is either “hello” or “stop!”, depending on how stupid the driver is unless they’re a motorcyclist, cyclist or learned to drive in the 40s. With regards to the “can’t see the right arm if there’s more than 2 cyclists” … and you can see the left had of the rider at the front? This is why everyone should signal, not just the leader of the pack.

And as for this kickstarter wearable turn signal, I’m split. On one hand, anything that gets me noticed is good. But on the other hand, I don’t want drivers to get used to looking for wearable turn signals because if I’m NOT wearing one and get hit, I can see the driver’s insurance going after that as proximate cause for the driver’s confusion and the subsequent collision. More lights than the legally required lights aren’t always better. Case in point: in WA, the law says “A lamp emitting a red light visible… may be used in addition to the red reflector.” I’ve heard of insurance attorneys going after cyclists for having more than one blinky light since the law clearly says “a” (singular) under the pretense that more than one flashing LED blinky disoriented the driver and caused the collision. Since Washington state law doesn’t provide for cyclists to have a turn signal, I can see the weasels latching onto these wristbands as a “cause” of the collision.

BigBear - 06/11/14 - 3:43pm

Damn IT!! I had almost the same idea a year ago!!!

The laws about how to signal are from when cars didn’t have brake lights or turn signals. That’s why they are all done with the left arm.

Fizzy - 06/11/14 - 4:17pm

Zach Overholt is correct for most states. Most states adopt federal law in this regard unless strictly stating otherwise. In those states that state otherwise there is usually an exception or amendment made to the Reserve Statute or Code that refers to the motorist (bicyclist) being able to use the right hand ONLY to indicate a right hand turn.

However, this does not have anything to do with the competency of the drivers around your nor their attentiveness (or lack-there-of). Last Friday (the 6th) I was almost hit twice by drivers that were not paying attention (either playing on their phones, speeding, having conversations with their passenger and just pulling into traffic. I have pretty much given up on using hand signals unless there is more than one vehicle in motion around me. I have been cussed out by people because I have my hand up (indicating right turn) and made the right turn only to have them wanting to make a left turn from where I was going, cussed out by people that have not noticed me signaling that I was pulling into the lane from the bike path to subsequently make a left turn, etc. Even had a guy cut all the way across traffic to get ahead of me to turn into a bar, only to completely cut me off to the point where hand I not put my hand out and slammed the side of his van with my fist he would have hit me.

Of course these people are completely oblivious to the world around them most of the time and yet we are the one’s who are called “Sprocket Jockeys” and that we (cyclists) need to understand “that they have to control a 1ton+ vehicle and that is not easy” (this was literally said in a defensive driving class that all state workers are required to take).

Fact of the matter, this product does not look like it will emit enough light in the day time to signal anything. Plus when attempting to use this as recourse in a court of law you will be laughed at by your lawyer if not the prosecution and the judge presiding. Be aware of your surroundings, always anticipate the person in the vehicle DOES NOT see you and only make the moves necessary to ensure your own safety (you are considered a vehicle so if you stop in traffic to make a turn, the traffic behind you must stop as well).

Jordling - 06/11/14 - 5:18pm

Poor yankees with your laws. I had such a good laugh. Please, some pics of those federally legal gestures!

Alex - 06/11/14 - 6:00pm

Motion sensor detects your hand movement and switches the LEDs on when needed.”

Who cares how you signal – left arm or right arm – I wouldn’t want this thing flashing when I reach for my water bottle or my phone.

Hotep - 06/11/14 - 7:05pm

I totally love regurgitation of blah blah statute as indicated in Section blah sub section blah….Do any of you actually RIDE in traffic in a major metropolitan area?

Regardless, with the frazzled soccer moms, irate BMW sedaners, get off the road contract trucks, and teenage texting drivers, I deployed and honed a sure fire method, limited risk solution.

Changing Lanes?
1. Turn around and LOOK at the driver behind you.
2. Point the direction you intend to go.
3. Wait for their acknowledgement of your intent.
4. Move as indicated.
5. Wave at driver as a thank you.

Left at an intersection?
1. Roll to your spot in traffic.
2. Point that you’re going left (to other drivers who are also going left)
3. Proceed as planned.

Right Turn?
1. Either roll along outside edge or asset your lane as an auto.
2. Point right, as you approach the intersection.
3. Turn right as planned.

Next!

Choco - 06/11/14 - 7:19pm

Those LED’s look piss weak.
I’ll stick with my home made slap wrist band with 3M reflective taped on – never runs out of batteries.

Anonymous - 06/11/14 - 8:15pm

“Left at an intersection?
1. Roll to your spot in traffic.
2. Point that you’re going left (to other drivers who are also going left)
3. Proceed as planned.”

I did this and the car behind me thought me stopping at the intersection was the perfect time to pass me by going into the oncoming lane in the middle of the intersection.

Topmounter - 06/11/14 - 9:45pm

In the Bicycle portion, the Colorado Driver Handbook shows that you can use either arm for a right turn, but I can’t imagine anyone is going to know what you are signaling with your right arm bent at the elbow and sticking up in the air.

At least sticking your right arm straight out for a right turn makes sense, but that’s not what they show in the manual.

Event though they show the hand signals for cars (all with the left arm of course), I find it odd that they make absolutely no mention of hand signals in the motorcycle handbook.

anonymous - 06/11/14 - 11:24pm

@Topmounter
The motorcycle handbook is a supplement to the normal one.

Also at least these aren’t those terrible gloves that make you do the wrong turn signals for the silly lights to work.

Evanstonian - 06/12/14 - 8:09am

I switched to signaling a right by pointing to the right after several instances in which I signaled a right turn with my the left arm, hand upward… and drivers waived ‘hello’ at me!

rico - 06/12/14 - 11:51am

Left arm up **with left thumb extended** to indicate the direction you plan to turn. THAT is the right turn signal with left hand. That is the normal way because that is the signal I learned. Everyone else is wrong.

Anymore however, I use the right arm and point that way. Why? Because that is the way they do it in Germany and, as everyone knows, Europeans are much cooler/smarter/hipper than Yanks. Seems to work. I haven’t been hit since I was 21 and I am now 63.

jecs - 06/12/14 - 4:37pm

Left arm up for a right turn on a bike is totally stupid. Many drivers thought that I was either turning left or flipping them off.

And most of the time I do not see cars signal with their lights (or hands) right or left at intersections, they just go.

Fizzy - 06/18/14 - 11:30am

@jecs – that is because the DMV now days pays very little attention to hand signals in their training of new drivers. Case in point, Friday riding home, in a bike lane on a side street and needing to turn left, knew way before hand I had left coming up so look behind me to see where closest vehicle is and he is 150yds away. I pull into the lane 50yds before my turn, hand extended and roll at my normal speed (15mphish) to the turn. Right as I get to the turn I hear him revv his engine behind me and then honk (hand is still extended as I was able to immediately flip him off) as he starts yelling at me that I need to get my f’ing head check and not to f’ing pull out in front of cars, that he is an f’ing rider too and how f’ing stupid I was. As I turn and look to give him another “you’re number 1 in my book buddy” low and behold what do I see in his hand but his cellphone. So either A) he was busy texting, driving faster than I was riding and realized only before hitting me that I was turning and in the lane (hence suddenly jumping out on him) or B) he has not clue what hand signals are. I have ridden this route to work and home for 3yrs now, do the same thing everyday, and there is always at least 1 every year that does this.

@Hotep – that is all fine and dandy but riding in a metropolitan area means squat if the drivers equally don’t pay attention to you or don’t give a sh*t about you. Most of the people that mouth off about the people that quote statutes either don’t ride where they claim they do or do not pay attention to any of the laws that apply to them (you are part of traffic and thus can be ticketed as a moving vehicle) and blow through stop signs, turn signals, traffic, etc. I have ridden in major metro areas (Sac, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Modesto, Stockton and all the outlying suburbs) and currently live in a much smaller town out of CA. What I have found is that no matter what, unless the driver is an avid biker they generally feel you are a parasite on the roadways and will do what is necessary to “eradicate” you from existence if given the chance. Hence the people that have stated to me “I have to control a X-ton vehicle and you don’t understand how difficult that is!! (my response; if you have a hard time controlling that x-ton vehicle there are other issues at play here and I would gladly take you down to the local PD or Sheriff’s office to turn in your drivers license because you obviously don’t know how to properly operate a vehicle.) or “they are just sprocket jockeys that don’t care about the people around them and just do what they feel like.” (this is true in some cases as I have see the few guys that ride fixies in town blow through stop signs/lights with no helmet on and suddenly cut across traffic without really looking only to flip-off the driver they just cut off to go the to store and grab their sixer of PBR and clove cigs.)

Not matter what, the best thing we can do as riders is be ULTIMATELY aware of our surroundings, treat every situation as though the people around you do not see you nor know what you are doing even when explaining to them. In the event of an incident with a vehicle, well hopefully you and your bike are ok, you have the fortitude to grab the person’s information (license plate number and vehicle at least) and immediately file a police report for those situation necessitating it. Until the US takes a stance like many of the European countries were biking is widely used and adopted and SAFE lanes are constructed specifically for us then we have to do everything in our power to change the perception and protect ourselves.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.