Mashable had an intriguing article on Volvo’s glowing bike spray called “Lifepaint”.
Invisible to the naked eye, thousands of small, light-reflective particles that responds to any light sources, making any surface brilliantly reflective.
Cyclists and runners have been using a reflective material for a long time. But, manufacturing costs tend to reduce how much reflective material used
Athletes have long been the force to settle for tiny reflectors or rejoice when a clothing company adds some reflective piping to their sportswear (and charges extra for it)
Volvo has a long-standing reputation built around driver safety. They consistently claim 5-star safety ratings on their vehicles https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/volvo/s60/safety
Recently, they brought that focus on safety to cyclists. By teaming up with Grey London, the advertising company and Albedoo100, Lifepaint was born.
The winning idea behind Lifepaint is that it is invisible during the day.
You can spray it on your bike, — or on your favorite riding gear — and it will look normal in daylight.
But, at night, it comes to life with the slightest light source.
Combined with blinking LEDs, it turns any rider into a tour de force of “What the heck is THAT!?”
The spray is temporary and can be washed off, so people worried about their clothing or bike can easily remove the effects.
A More Permanent Solution
For the American Commuter, you might want a more long-term solution. Thankfully an array of reflective paints is available online.
The downside to these paints is that they leave a sheen on top of whatever you spray them on. This dulls the color and makes it obvious that something has been painted on the surfaces.
For the commuter who is serious about their safety, that is an acceptable trade-off.
But it it’s not something you’d likely want to do on your expensive road bike.
I’ve become very aggressive with my lighting. Even during the day, I like to have three lights mounted on my bike.
First is the one screwed to my seat post. This guarantees that I always have at least one light with my bike.. even if I forget the other two.
Then, I attach one to my jersey collar and one to the pocket of my jersey (or the back of my backpack, if I’m commuting)
This arrangement gives me a “low, medium, high” variety of coverage and helps increase my chances of being noticed.
Thanks to the wattage-sipping capacity of these lights, the batteries seem to last forever.
The entire setup costs me about $60, with the middle light (the one that goes into my jersey pocket or backpack) costing me the most at $32).
Cameras For Accountability.
You’ve probably seen all of those motorcyclists with helmet mounted cameras.
While this is a pricier option, it is certainly worth considering.
Not only does it let you capture beautiful shots from your ride, but a clearly displayed camera can help increase driver’s awareness and caution around you.
The bottom line is that cycling in America has become much less safe through the years. And it is the cyclist’s responsibility to do everything in their power to get home safely every night.