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Risk Hierarchy: Information - Rider Ed - Driver Ed - Conspicuity - Bike Defect - Ultra-Defensive Riding - Crash Avoidance - Injury Mitigation - Crash Scene
This New Zealand study found that wearers of white helmets have a 24% lower risk of being in an accident than black helmet wearers.
This speaks for itself. We add a speculation that, along the lines of wide and low running lights increasing the visual mass and aiding estimation of closing speed, perhaps a large bright area of helmet at the top of the motorcycle might also increase the visual mass of the bike and help estimation of closing distance. We don't know this, but we have an experiment in mind.
One also speculates that you could maybe take this a step further.
There is a little info out there on helmet lights. Off-road bikers use them all the time, usually one or a pair of 35 watt halogen lights mounted to the side of the helmet. They are using them to help see at night, especially low branches, not for conspicuity.
There's also a product named the RiderLight and another named Signalfly, can't find either of them currently available. They are an LED array that is stuck to the back of a helmet, powered by button cells, and controlled wirelessly via a control unit attached to the brake light circuit.
The possibility of a combined LED front conspicuity light unit and tail/stoplight, powered from the bike and possibly wired into the brakelight and/or turn signal harness is intriguing. LED should be a lot cooler than incandescent.
There are all sorts of potential issues with this - the possibility of the unit interfering with the protective action of the helmet in a crash, or a wired connection for power from the bike fouling a rider who comes off in a crash. The Signalfly helmet-mounted brake lights used a battery worn by the rider and commnicated wirelessly with the bike. With LEDs this configuration would be possible, but an umbilical fitted with pop-out connectors (like many helmet headsets use) should be feasible.
Pushbike riders use clip-on LED devices at night. We plan to do some cheapie experiments in this area later in the year. It stands to reason that a helmet-top light is the highest possible mount point for a front conspicuity light and also for a high-mounted brake light. I'm thinking super-LEDs based on the police lights mentioned in the running lights section.
We recommend light-colored, bright or white helmets. We believe the safety benefit is proven.