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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 05-02-14, 08:17 AM   #1
Colorado Kid
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Reflective tape

Is it better to put one color of reflective tape on your bicycle? Is it much more eye-catching to put different colors on so the cars can see you in the darkness better?
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Old 05-02-14, 08:21 AM   #2
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Is it better to put one color of reflective tape on your bicycle? Is it much more eye-catching to put different colors on so the cars can see you in the darkness better?
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Old 05-02-14, 09:24 AM   #3
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I've only seen information about brightness, and it appears that white is the brightest. See: Which Retro Reflective Tape Is The Brightest ? | Retro Reflective Tape | Retro Reflective Tape
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Old 05-02-14, 10:20 AM   #4
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I've only seen information about brightness, and it appears that white is the brightest. See: Which Retro Reflective Tape Is The Brightest ? | Retro Reflective Tape | Retro Reflective Tape
From reading through that reference, it seems that the "type" of reflective tape is by far the most important aspect, and then color is secondary. Using a mix of white and yellow colored pieces of Metalized micro-prismatic reflective tape would give you a huge sight distance advantage over cheaper tapes.
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Old 05-02-14, 10:32 AM   #5
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white reflects all colors , any color, an overlaying filter, reduces that.
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Old 05-02-14, 10:34 AM   #6
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i find the white and yellow reflective tape to be incredibly garish and would never think about putting that stuff on my nude black commuters.

3M Scotch Scotchlite Reflective Striping Tape at FindTape.com
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Old 05-02-14, 06:31 PM   #7
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I'm in the process of ordering this stuff:

Streetglo - Invisible high intensity white reflective black tape strips kit for black motorcycle frames, bicycles or other vehicles.

I had it before on my Surly LHT fenders and the reflective tape is legit, it looks black like fenders (gloss). When you shine a flashlight on it, it turns bright white (like the 3m reflective tape). If you're looking for something you can use on a something that's black so it matches your gear, this is the stuff to get.

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Old 05-02-14, 11:46 PM   #8
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I vote for white/silver tape. Reflects full spectrum, so it would be more visible.

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Old 05-03-14, 04:15 AM   #9
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i find the white and yellow reflective tape to be incredibly garish and would never think about putting that stuff on my nude black commuters.

3M Scotch Scotchlite Reflective Striping Tape at FindTape.com
There's black reflective tape. I put it on my girlfriends black city bike, and it's near invisible until light hits it.

This is the stuff I used:

Amazon.com: Motorcycle Reflective Safety Tape - Black Adhesive. RTK-03A: Home Improvement
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Old 05-03-14, 04:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by andyprough View Post
From reading through that reference, it seems that the "type" of reflective tape is by far the most important aspect, and then color is secondary. Using a mix of white and yellow colored pieces of Metalized micro-prismatic reflective tape would give you a huge sight distance advantage over cheaper tapes.
+1

I use both red and white on my bikes, the white is definitely brighter, but not by a huge amount.

This is the go-to thread for these questions:
Making your bike glow down the road...

I was going to re-post one of the pics of my bikes from that thread, but for some reason my picture links are dead. I'll have to see if I can resurrect them.
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Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-03-14 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 05-03-14, 10:38 AM   #11
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There's black reflective tape. I put it on my girlfriends black city bike, and it's near invisible until light hits it.

This is the stuff I used:

Amazon.com: Motorcycle Reflective Safety Tape - Black Adhesive. RTK-03A: Home Improvement
yes...it's in my link. i even have a black messenger bag with retroreflective elements.
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Old 05-03-14, 05:23 PM   #12
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I've always ordered from these guys:
Identi-Tape - All Kinds of Colored Tape

Huge selection of choices,and smaller rolls than most places.
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Old 05-04-14, 08:12 AM   #13
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I'd focus more on where you put it. It really catches your eye on moving parts (rims, cranks, your ankles, etc.).
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Old 05-05-14, 01:00 PM   #14
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Identi tape store is great, but costs a fortune as you have to buy in bulk. Its OK if you just want one color.

What I often do is go to the automotive parts store and get the same stuff in smaller quantities. Colors are red, and the red/white stripe you see on most commercial vehicles.

That Black tape is not bright at all. I have some, but it is near worthless compared to white.

The black stuff glows about as bright as a license plate, or a bit less. The white tape is blinding compared to it.

Still, none of it does any good unless a car light is shining directly at it.
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Old 05-05-14, 01:13 PM   #15
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Wouldn't you want red on the back and white on the front?
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Old 05-05-14, 04:08 PM   #16
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I recommend Reflexite REF-DB Retroreflective V92 Daybright Tape, found on Amazon. I use it on my commuter. It is very bright! It comes in several different colors. I ordered the silver/white and red. Be sure you know exactly where you want to lay it because it is difficult to remove. The tape has been on my commuter/winter bike for two years, and at this point the fraying tape needs to be removed and replaced.
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Old 05-06-14, 10:07 AM   #17
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Wouldn't you want red on the back and white on the front?
Yep, I cut it up, with white on the front, and red on the back.

Realistically though, the color doesn't make much difference, what is important is that they see you. Just look at trucks, they use the automotive stuff and it is red/white striped.
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Old 05-08-14, 09:35 AM   #18
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white reflects all colors , any color, an overlaying filter, reduces that.
That works by absorption of a specific wavelength/s of light, while emitting the remaining wavelength/s. This does not necessarily reduce the amplitude of the reflected light energy but rather just changes what color you see.
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Old 05-08-14, 09:40 AM   #19
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Just saying that the color overlay is a filter layer over the silver-white glass particles that reflects the light.
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Old 05-10-14, 02:51 AM   #20
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That works by absorption of a specific wavelength/s of light, while emitting the remaining wavelength/s. This does not necessarily reduce the amplitude of the reflected light energy but rather just changes what color you see.
Side by side, the white reflective tape is clearly a little brighter than the red reflective tape of the exact same type, from the same manufacturer/batch.
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Old 05-10-14, 05:07 AM   #21
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You might want to look at this report http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/117813/BikeReport.pdf.

This little snip from the conclusion provides a good summary
Quote:
The results of the study showed that there was no statistically significant difference in performance among the various reflector treatments and the current CPSC regulation reflectors.

Therefore, improvement to the existing reflector requirement does not appear warranted. The parallel path crash simulation showed that the flashing red LED taillight used in the evaluation could significantly improve a driver's detection distance over the CPSC regulation reflectors.
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Old 05-10-14, 07:00 PM   #22
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Side by side, the white reflective tape is clearly a little brighter than the red reflective tape of the exact same type, from the same manufacturer/batch.
White is considerably brighter than any of the colors -- the color filtration is purely absorptive, the colors that get blocked aren't re-emitted as some other color, they're just blocked. Red tape reflects only the light hitting it from the red end of the spectrum, the rest is absorbed.

For example, see 3M's specs for 983 "Diamond grade" reflective tape for the difference in coefficients of retroreflectivity. Yellow is a little bit less efficient than white, but red is much lower.

http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...-&fn=PB983.pdf
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Old 05-11-14, 04:04 PM   #23
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I spent a few dollars on a 5' roll of 3M "Conspicuity" tape off fleabay (yellow, which was kind of greenish), and my choice was to attract attention by chopping it up into a message. Here's what drivers see hanging off my left rack:



BTW the white bands top and bottom are cut from a safety vest I found lying in the road. I stuck those on with duct tape.
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Old 05-11-14, 04:11 PM   #24
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I recommend Reflexite REF-DB Retroreflective V92 Daybright Tape, found on Amazon. I use it on my commuter. It is very bright! It comes in several different colors.
I've bought the silver and the fluorescent yellow. They turned out to be very different. The silver stays very well (2-3 years with little peeling), but the fluorescent yellow is much thicker and peels off right after applying it. I'm very disappointed by the latter as I like the lime color which I think is more visible in daytime.
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