Are you wondering what benefit a light up backpack would bring to your life?
Perhaps you've seen some of our Futliit social media activity and you're wondering what exactly an LED backpack can do for you?
Are you thinking about walking to work but are worried about how to make yourself more visible when travelling in the darker winter months?
Perhaps you’re a shift worker who is often walking to work in the dark?
Do you have to walk along poorly lit streets, rural lanes or areas with narrow or indeed no pavement where you’re very close to the traffic?
If so, read on because a Futliit LED light up backpack might well be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Some scary road safety statistics to consider
The first thing to point out is that here in the UK the nights draw in pretty quickly from September. At the time of writing, sunset here in London on 1st September was 19:47. By the end of September, sunset will be at 18:41 which is an hour’s difference give or take a few minutes.
By the end of October, due to the clocks changing, it’s 16:35 and by the end of November it’s 15:55.
Within the space of a couple of months, most commuters working standard office hours will be walking home in the dark, even without adding in the effect of rain and storms which reduce visibility even further.
But the really scary stats come from the Office of National Statistics’ report, ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: Pedestrian Fact Sheet 2021’:
- An average of 8 pedestrians died and 115 were seriously injured per week in reported road collisions.
- 70% of pedestrian fatalities occurred on urban roads and 30% on rural roads.
- The weekday peak time for pedestrians to be killed or seriously injured is 3 – 6pm.
- 28% of all accidents happen to those under 19.
- The most common contributory factor allocated to vehicles was ‘Driver or rider failed to look properly’.
Although there is never a substitute for drivers paying proper attention, an LED backpack can make you that little bit more visible at night and give you the confidence that you can be seen.
What is an LED backpack?
So first things first. What actually is an LED backpack and how does it light up?
LED backpacks incorporate small LED lights, normally in a strip or block, into the back or side of a standard backpack. The LED lights run off coin sized batteries and have a small switch to turn the lights on and off. The better backpacks have various flashing modes and also include reflective panels for added visibility.
Above: the Futliit LED backpack in action
Some LED backpacks are designed just for fun and have panels of lights for decoration but some like the Futliit LED backpack, are designed to make you safer walking home in the dark.
Why do YOU need an LED backpack?
Many of us who walk to work or school, know that it can get very dark out there at night and that street lights only cover part of where we walk. An LED backpack can make you more visible at night or in low light conditions, giving drivers and other road traffic a clear indication that you are there.
That can be particularly important for kids who are starting to walk to school on their own for the first time. They need their independence but haven't yet developed the road sense of adults. No matter how much you've drilled them in road safety, even the most sensible child can step out into the road without looking or fool around on the edge of the pavement.
At this point, I need to be completely clear. In the hierarchy of road users, pedestrians are the most vulnerable and drivers absolutely MUST pay attention and take proper care. All of us who drive know to watch out for kids running out unexpectedly or people dashing across a crossing at the last minute.
But we also know that people get distracted and accidents happen. Anything you can do as a pedestrian to make yourself more visible and ensure you are seen, surely must be a good thing.
Why can’t I just attach a backpack light to my backpack?
The Futliit story began when our eldest daughter started secondary school and had to walk to and from the school bus (you can read our story here: Part 1 and Part 2). We lived in rural Warwickshire and our village had no streetlights nor pavement. As the nights drew in, it soon became clear that walking in the road in her navy school uniform, she was practically invisible to drivers.
The first thing I tried was giving her a backpack light to attach to the back of her backpack but it proved to be a pain. The light was fiddly to attach and, as there wasn’t a specific fixing point on her backpack, it needed to be attached in a particular way to make sure that the light was visible to drivers. If she left the LED light on her backpack all day at school it got damaged and so, when she got off the bus, she had to fiddle about trying to attach the light in the cold and dark. It was all too hard and impractical.
That was why, when designing our Futliit backpacks, I made sure that you can turn the LED lights on easily when the backpack is already on your back. Nothing needs attaching or requires you to open the backpack to find a switch. You simply put the backpack on, light it up and off you go!
So…is it just the people in rural areas who need an LED backpack?
Rural roads can be particularly dangerous. They’re often narrow and windy, with limited road markings and sometimes aren’t particularly well maintained. Even in villages, there might not always be pavement or street lights so pedestrians are forced into close contact with cars. Plus, rural roads are often heavily used by vulnerable road users such as walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.
Above: my daughter walking the route to the bus stop
You might think that living in a well lit residential area would make you safer than living in a small village with poor lighting. But 70% of pedestrian fatalities happen in urban areas.
Yes, 70% of pedestrian fatalities happen in urban areas.
Even in the town, not everyone lives in a well designed modern estate where pedestrian access is baked into the estate design from the start. There are always urban areas which aren’t well lit and if you are walking home from a shift in the middle of the night, the street lights might even be off. Older parts of towns often have narrow pavement where you might be close to the traffic or worse, streets where the parking situation means that pedestrians are forced into the road.
If an LED backpack helps you to be that little bit more visible to cars and gives you a little bit more space, why wouldn’t you consider it?
Join the Futliit family - you can get your Futliit LED backpack here.
Be safe, be seen, #BeFutliit
Other articles you might like:
- Walking to work top tips
- How to be more visible walking home
- The Invisible Child: tips for children walking to school