A study by the European Road safety Observatory has found that nearly 8 per cent of those killed in road accidents throughout the European Union are cyclists. While the total number of road fatalities in a year averages just over 25,000, over 2,000 of these are cyclists. With our roads busier than ever with drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians all vying for space, a communication vacuum and flaring tempers will only aggravate the situation.

Ford, in partnership with industrial design specialists Designworks, has developed what it calls the ‘Emoji Jacket’, a prototype jacket that allows the wearer to effectively communicate their emotions to other road users around them by using emoji icons. The back of the jacket features a large LED panel that allows the user to display their mood -- whether they’re happy, neutral, or worried while travelling. Indicators, and a hazard symbol can also be displayed to make other road users aware of the cyclist’s movements and possible dangers ahead. These functions can all be controlled without the cyclist removing their hands from the handlebars, via a wireless remote with independent buttons. This remote control can be easily mounted and removed from the bike.

“Emojis have become a fundamental part of how we use language. Whether used to convey facial expressions, humour, or sarcasm, they have become integral to our ability to express ourselves and quickly. This jacket created in partnership with Ford Share the Road allows riders to express their feelings and creates an important emotional link between them and other road users,” says emoji expert Dr. Neil Cohn.

The jacket has been developed as part of Ford’s Share the Road campaign that aims to enable more people to cycle safely, especially for short journeys.