The Speed Vest

September 18, 2008 By Paul Wagorn

Sometimes someone comes up with something that makes everyone else think “Why didn’t I think of that ?”

Have you ever outpaced cars and been honked at? Had a car almost wipe you out while making a turn? Do you ever ride your bike so fast that you wish that everyone else could know how close to the speed of light you were? Or sometimes are you riding your bike, cars honking impatiently behind you, wishing that they knew you were actually going more than 10 mph? Or maybe you just want to show off to your buddies that you left in your dust!

Enter… the speed vest!

Brady Clark and Mykle Hansen have invented a wearble speedometer which displays your current speed in large numerals on your back. Made for cyclists, it uses a sensor on your wheel to send a signal to a microcontroller that then turns the numbers on and off on the back of the vest

When asked about the inspiration for the vest, Brady said “[I was] riding my bike down a steep hill one day and “taking the lane” (riding in the middle of the traffic lane) so that no cars could pass me too closely, I thought- Some people must really be pissed at me- I wonder if they knew I was going 25+ mph they’d think the same.”

“we’re trying to learn how it can best be used as an advocacy tool for bicycling. I don’t mean racing- I’m talking about sharing the road safely with motorists. Mykle and I are both lucky to live in cities that have invested in building and retrofitting streets to be more amenable to biking on. Unfortunately even in Portland (#1 bike city in the nation) and Minneapolis (#2) there are missing connections in what would be an ideal network. I’m hoping that by riding the Speed Vest in these areas of deficit that we could lay the groundwork for making these connections before any pen hits paper or paint hits the street.”

Here’s a video demonstrating the speed vest in action:

The speed vest isn’t yet available commercially and only a limited number of speed vests have been made as Brady and Mykle are still trying to decide on whether or not they wish to put more energy into the project as a commercial venture; however they are talking to manufacturers and other companies who are excited about the project, so we might see something in the near future.

Mykle has a fantastic site that describes the speed vest in more detail, including pictures describing how it was made and how it works. Check it out here.

If you’d like to be updated, or if you’re a bicycle advocacy organization and would like to use it for outreach and education, send and email to info (at)

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Reader Comments

I NEED this. Then maybe people would stop getting so pissed off at me for riding at the speed limit.
Posted by web design on September 19, 2008

Hey, that not only helps cars to know your speed, it also helps them to SEE you - so it's also a great safety invention!
Posted by sundial on September 19, 2008

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