The was a post on the site I mentioned previously flat out stating “reflectors don’t work”. It’s absurd, of course, but I sort of understand. You need lights too.

Reflectors are as effective as a lights for visibility. As with lights, it’s good to think about reflectors both on your body/equipment, and on your bike.

Reflectors (reflective tape, fabrics, etc) are really getting sophisticated these days. Just as reflectors don’t replace the need for a light, there’s a good argument for the reverse as well. They work differently, but work together effectively.

The Super Bowl’s on now. I’ll finish the post later.

OK, I’m back. I love the WHO, but …

The best way to think about reflectors, is how you see them work on others. I really appreciate the reflective clothing on joggers and walkers on the path. My lights can pick them up quite well back.

I’ve noticed a lot of good reflectors on bikes too, sometimes in good places I hadn’t though about. The point being, I noticed them.

I can divide them into two catefories – moving, and stationary.

Stationary ones work really well, especially from the side, where front and back lights might not be noticeable. I bought reflective tape for my TriCross. It’s really such a beautiful bike, and I sometimes regret the tape aesthetically.

But there’s no question it’s effective, as I noticed from well back when returning to my bike on night. I haven’t done it on the Spot, but I probably will. The Shwalbe Marathon Winter’s (and the summer ones) have a reflective stripe around the outside that really picks up at night. Great feature. All commuter tires should require this.

Motionary ones are those that move (duh). Specifically, I’d refer to reflectors on pedals, and reflective treatments on the back of a cyclists legs/shoes as good examples. There’s something about a moving light that attracts attention.

Very effective. They have an effect similar to blinking lights. The eye seems drawn to them, and it gets attention without being a distraction. I have a reflective ankly strap I always wear. Very good idea. Putting them on your wrists isn’t a bad idea either, especially for hand signalling.

Wearing bright clothing, and wearing reflective clothing, are two different issues. I’d recommend going with both. Remember – the reflective back of your bright jacket or jersey is effectively covered if you wear a pack. Make sure to get a reflective pack with plenty of clips for lights.

Panniers are a great opportunity to be visible. Use reflective tape on your side bags if they don’t already have a reflective surface. Tape a big “X”.

So there’s a lot to consider, and a lot you can do to help keep yourself, or your kids, safe when riding.

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