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Lumos Matrix helmet helps riders stand out for safety

Packed with a headlight and color LEDs, the Lumos Matrix helps riders be seen in traffic.

The Lumox Matrix helmet sports a bright white LED headlight on the front.
Brian Bennett/CNET

During the pandemic I've returned to an old hobby: skateboarding. It's definitely way more fun than taking daily walks for exercise. But because I'm bombing hills on a longboard built for speed, wearing a helmet is a must. That's why I decided to give the $249 Lumos Matrix a try. Not only is the Matrix certified to protect against head injuries, it has LED lights to get its users noticed while on the road. 

A bright white LED headlight sits on the helmet's front side. And on the back is a large rectangular field of color-changing LEDs. You can toggle this array to scroll in multiple eye-catching animations too.

This helmet really stands out

Even in daylight, the Lumos Matrix looks like it came from the future. Its polycarbonate surfaces are sculpted in smooth, rounded lines. The front edge of the helmet is upturned, forming a slight brim. Above that is the "u" shaped white LED headlight. Its curves honestly remind me of samurai helmet crests, or perhaps the horns of a robotic bull.

The back LED array can show numerous eye-catching animations.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Four air hole slots occupy the top of the Matrix. The real action though happens on the helmet's back. Here you'll find a matrix of 77 color LEDs, hence the Matrix's name. This array of lights can display various animations and patterns to better help other riders, pedestrians and drivers see you. The Matrix comes with 7 preset display options. They include things like scrolling red dots, a spinning radar scope, twirling rainbow triangles and even exploding fireworks.

The Lumos Matrix can also display left and right turn signals.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The Matrix also comes with a few features targeted at bicycle riders navigating city traffic. For instance there's a small remote bundled with the helmet. It allows you to display left and right signal lights on the Matrix's back. You also get a handlebar clip for the remote to mount it on your bike.

Another of the Matrix's traffic-minded abilities is its automatic brake light. You can have either the remote or your phone detect when you're decelerating. The Matrix will then display a flashing red square to warn people behind that you're slowing down. 

It seems like overkill but you can command the Matrix over wireless Bluetooth connection though the Lumos phone app (iOS and Android). Still, it does come in handy when you're wearing the helmet and its back display is out of sight.


The Lumos Matrix is pretty wild-looking even in the daytime.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Riding with the Matrix

So far my experience with the Lumos Matrix has been a good one. I feel a lot safer wearing it than I did with the cheap helmet I was using before. That model, while made by a reputable company, isn't officially certified for impact protection. For that you'll have to spend a little more on the certified version.  

I also got lots of attention using the Matrix. At dusk, pedestrians would often stare as if I was some sort of alien life form. Either that or they would smile, wave or shoot me a thumbs up as I zipped by. Motorists gave me a wide berth too which was comforting. I've had a few close calls riding my neighborhood streets. Blue minivan making u-turns without signalling, I'm looking at you. 

That said, priced at $250 the Matrix is much more expensive than basic helmets. Still, other than the Matrix, I have yet to find a helmet with LEDs that isn't designed exclusively for bike riders. 

Also keep in mind that you can spend serious money on professional downhill skateboarding helmets. And a full-face model like the Predator DH6-X will set you back almost $500. Of course those products are for riders light years beyond my meager skateboarding skills. So for the time being, the Matrix suits me just fine. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.