HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A pedestrian crossing the street at night often runs the risk of being hit because the driver can't see them. But a local inventor believes he has the answer in something he calls the Light Lei.
The "lei" is a light-weight string of high-intensity light-emitting diodes, or LED's, encased in silicone. Inventor Lyle Tenjoma said recent pedestrian deaths compelled him to make some kind of device that would make people visible at night.
"I can't think of any other way, other than to bring attention to yourself. Make it very blatantly obvious to the driver that you are there," said Tenjoma.
Last year was a bad year for pedestrian fatalities on Oahu. There were 25 such deaths, including several that happened on dark streets at night.
The Honolulu Police Department says so far this year, there have been five pedestrian deaths, compared with three a year ago. The latest was Shari Afuso, a Mililani jogger who was hit at night while in a crosswalk.
Tenjoma said the LED technology allows for a very bright light that doesn't get hot. "The amount of light output is about 2,400 lumens, which is about twice a car headlight, if you turn it up all the way," he said.
Kari Pantekoek is a frequent walker and runner. HNN asked her to try out the light lei at Ala Moana Beach Park. She said it was a practical solution, but added, "I would probably wear something like this if it was a bit more sleek."
The light lei isn't available yet in stores. Tenjoma is still trying to get the costs down before he'll sell it. But his motivation isn't profit.
"The idea is to help people. And to save a life."