The ‘power of glove’ has been demonstrated by a Cumbrian designer. Ben Pawle, from Burgh by Sands, has helped to create a cycling glove which could defuse road rage and improve the fraught relationship between cyclists and drivers.

The product, called Glove, features a smiling face on both sides. Cyclists are encouraged to wave while wearing it. Glove features high-spec materials. It was launched last November after an online funding appeal which raised almost £30,000.

The appeal smashed its £5,000 target in 36 hours. Now more than 700 backers have pledged £29,853 on funding website Kickstarter. The product has been sold to people in 39 countries, including China, Australia and Russia.

Ben, 30, studied at Caldew School, Dalston, and in 2011 graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in product design. He now lives in London, returning to Cumbria every few weeks.

Ben says of Glove’s launch: “There has been a surge of interest about improving relationships on the roads, with the likes of Chris Hoy challenging the ‘us and them’ attitude. I was hoping to raise double the £5,000 goal. When we reached £29,853 we were over the moon.”

As a cyclist in London, Ben feels an improved relationship with drivers is much-needed. “I’ve had many near misses and a couple of collisions. When out of nowhere a vehicle almost hits you or a cyclist is up in your grill shouting at you, most people react aggressively. The main issue is the harboured grudge, where cyclists and drivers have a near miss and get pumped with adrenaline. The situations aren’t often resolved. So you have two people with short fuses and a prejudice against the next cyclist/driver they meet.

“The gloves are designed to change this. Waving says ‘thanks’, ‘sorry’, ‘after you’. When you do this, particularly with eye contact, it’s hard for someone to blow up in your face. Everyone remembers they’re human again. They’re a fantastic way of spreading positivity on the roads. They’re a pretty simple idea to get. Everyone around the world understands the smile emoji as positive.

“The part I’ve most enjoyed is when people write to us describing the reactions they get. One of my favourites is a chap called Dan who said ‘Just had my first pedal home wearing my gloves. Two drivers actually smiled and waved. I think the world might just have been saved!’

“I think the real product we can be proud of is the positive community that has formed. The gloves are really just a means to an end.”

Glove is water-repellent, windproof and breathable, with fabric on the fingers which works on touchscreen devices. The smile doubles as padding. Glove costs £32.95 and is available in five sizes.

It is produced by a new company called Loffi, formed by Ben and Jack Hudspith. They became friends while studying in Glasgow. Their company name is based on ‘lofi’, which means palm of the hand in old English.

Ben says: “We were discussing how to change behaviour on the roads. It felt like traditional campaigns were lacking a banner to rally behind.

“We were interested in encouraging more positivity. After several months of consciously smiling and waving in difficult situations we realised how powerful this simple gesture was. So we decided to build a product around it.”

Ben also has a design studio with Joe Rickerby - a software developer from Southwaite - and Mike Colville, a friend from Manchester. Ben’s previous clients while working for design consultancies have included Samsung, Barclaycard and Honda.

His parents, Sheila and Guy, and his brother Jacob live in Burgh by Sands. Last year Ben married Rosie Dias from Raughton Head. They met at Caldew School. “I love Cumbria,” says Ben. “It’s still very much home to me.”