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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-01-06, 01:14 PM   #1
acidinmylegs
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Being Conspicuous

I haven't seen it posted yet, so I thought I'd share this VeloNews article. It talks about what part of being seen is ours, legally, in the case of an accident. I know that we 'play in traffic' and most of us are lit up with an assortment of lights. Anyway, a good read.
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Old 12-01-06, 01:19 PM   #2
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Why the heII are most of the bike helmets sold dark???

I'm shopping for one and I don't get it! I want the Bell Metro--but I don't want a black helmet. I'll likely spray paint it once I get it. It's just stupid.
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Old 12-01-06, 01:24 PM   #3
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Use strips of reflective tape instead of painting your helmet.
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Old 12-01-06, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbattle
Use strips of reflective tape instead of painting your helmet.
+aliens

Reflective tape on the brain bucket rocks. I'll post a pic when I'm back at my home machine. My helmet looks like it's got strips of EL glow tape on it, just from the camera flash.
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Old 12-01-06, 02:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbattle
Use strips of reflective tape instead of painting your helmet.
Where do you get it?
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Old 12-01-06, 02:38 PM   #6
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Where do you get it?
Most hardware or autosupply stores. My LBS has some but the LHS was cheaper.

There's a good online website but I can't remember the location.
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Old 12-01-06, 02:55 PM   #7
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I'm keeping my black furio thank you.
A helmet is how large compared to your torso? That is where most of my reflective efforts are focused. That and the bike.
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Old 12-01-06, 02:59 PM   #8
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Why sell reflective tape at an auto parts store?
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Old 12-01-06, 03:04 PM   #9
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For campers, trailers, marking up poles in your driveway, adding reflective surfaces to a vehicle, etc

I think the question should be "why don't they sell it at more places beside auto part stores" or "why is it so freaking expensive at a bike store?"
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Old 12-01-06, 03:07 PM   #10
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Thanks!
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Old 12-01-06, 03:30 PM   #11
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Where do you get it?
These guys have some.
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Old 12-01-06, 06:00 PM   #12
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Here's what my reflective tape looks like on my helmet. (I got the tape at REI; $5 for a 27" strip that I cut from 1" wide into 1/4" wide.) I've also got a reflective triangle on my backpack, and reflective hang tabs swinging off the bottom back of it because I know that my vest isn't too great and can't be seen from behind when wearing the backpack.
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Old 12-01-06, 06:09 PM   #13
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Still there is no good reason (other than the marketplace ) why many models (not just the 'commuter' types) of helmets can't come in a fully reflective color scheme.
If I could buy a fully white-retroreflective Pneumo I'd buy it at the outrageous prices they already sell for.

Helmets don't really add to conspicuity from the rear, but they do from the front, especially for the more performance oriented bike set ups.

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Old 12-01-06, 10:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thdave
Why the heII are most of the bike helmets sold dark???
Here's my (conspiracy) theory: If you can find it, go read the owner's manual that came with your bike. Almost certainly it will say something along the lines of "never ride your bike at night." Why? Liability. They don't want any.

In 1993, there was a case, Johnson vs. Derby Cycles, involving a cyclist who was riding at night on a bike that had only the reflectors that came with it. He was hit by a car and severely injured. He sued the manufacturer of the bicycle, claiming that he had been misled into believing that the reflectors made it safe to ride at night. The plaintiff was awarded $7 million. You can read about the case here:
http://www.johnforester.com/Consult/GreenJM/derby.htm

This decision created a big problem for bicycle manufacturers. They are legally required to put reflectors on every bike they make, but there is now caselaw precedent that selling a bike with reflectors but not lights is negligent. Their solution is to make sure that every new bike they sell includes a directive that the bike is not to be used at night.

My bet is that the helmet manufacturers want no part of this litigation lottery, and their lawyers have advised them that reflectors on the helmet would expose them to liability.

This case is also why you can't buy a bike with anything more than the bare minimum legally required reflectors. It would be great to have a frame painted in reflective paint, but no manufacturer dares.

I'm building up a frame right now for a new inclement weather bike, and I just finished wrapping the frame in some DOT-C2 conspicuity tape I got off Ebay. It looks fabulous!
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Old 12-01-06, 11:36 PM   #15
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If I were making my living designing and selling helmets I'd aim for the mass of helmet users, which doesn't tend to ride at night. I'd also probably watch the latest trends in riding apparel and try to make my helmets look good with what the norm in cycle wear is. If black helmets were the big sellers I'd be sure to have a bunch in my line-up.

I taught the MSF course for motorcycle riders a couple of years and told every class that a bright colored helmet is a great improvement in visibility and I know that to be true. That said, I have a dark yellow BMW R1100S with matching dark yellow and black jacket with minimum reflective piping and two black helmets (one flip up). I've been riding with this gear since I bought the bike new in 2000 and I've never had a close call that I didn't see coming and adjust for. Awareness and the ability to react pays off in spades. I use lights for visibility and keep my awareness up with the help of a mirrors. Bike commuting is different in that there's a great deviation in speed between the rider and traffic. For that reason I'll add a couple of extra tail lights but hold short of looking like rolling Christmas tree.

In situations such that a big city brings, all the visibility you can get as a cyclist may pay off. That's not my commute.
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Old 12-02-06, 08:28 PM   #16
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I'm aware of two helmets available in the U.S. that include conspicuity in their design:

The Vigor Sequel and Reflectek helmets.

And here's what the BHSI has to say about reflective helmets: Reflective Material on Bicycle Helmets
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