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Old 08-29-12, 01:15 AM   #1
Juggler2
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Wheel Reflectors

Ok, considering wheel reflectors are good safety enhancement, in fact required in some states, I'm afraid I'm gonna need a "brush up" on BF customs. A spinning wheel reflector is a very visible piece of safety hardware. I don't think too many would disagree with that.

My question, why are they removed by so many here at BF? I personally am of the opinion, your bike, your decision. I'm going to make sure all my bikes have them.
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Old 08-29-12, 01:36 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Juggler2 View Post
My question, why are they removed by so many here at BF?
1. where did you get your statistics from, out of curiosity?

2. the people who do object to them seem fixated on wheel balance. I lost one of two spoke reflectors at this speed, and didn't notice at the time, so I'd say no harm, no foul if you want to run them:


and before anyone asks me AGAIN, that is a Sky Mounti inclinometer and you can get them on Large Auction Site "E"

On a performance note, microprismatic reflectve tape would make a better reflector than the traditional plastic cube-corner type, because reflective tape will reflect back to the source even at severe input angles, unlike plastic/air cube-corner reflectors that rely on the refractive difference between plastic and air in order to reflect (they lose reflectivity beyond a certain input angle). So if you're interested in the widest visibility angles and/or minimal effect on your wheel balance, you could make your own lightweight super-reflectors from Reflexite V82 (night-gear.com has it) adhered to a thin plastic sheet. Zip-tie that to some spokes and practice your light-saber sound effects. vrrrmm, whrmmm, KSHHH!!!
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Old 08-29-12, 01:47 AM   #3
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I run reflective tyres on my wheels that see a lot of night riding:
Plenty available:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/tyres/?s=reflex
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Old 08-29-12, 01:50 AM   #4
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Well, I didn't quote any statistics, what I did do was refer to an observation. Seems reflected light (from whatever) source, is generally considered a good thing, yet moving wheel reflectors, are generally looked down on or made fun of. I don't do light saber sound effects.
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Old 08-29-12, 08:44 AM   #5
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See also http://sheldonbrown.com/reflectors.html. Short version is, a car won't see a wheel reflector until it's about to hit you. Headlights (and taillights) are better.
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Old 08-29-12, 09:01 AM   #6
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I use reflective tape, because it's more reflective than reflectors. I have reflective sidewalls as well but they don't stay reflective for very long due to the very dirty route that I take - after 2 or 3 months of riding and cleaning the mud off, most of the reflective stuff is gone (Schwalbe Marathons)

As far as wheel balance goes, meh, put it on the side opposite the valve stem. If it weighs a little more, its position closer to the hub will make up for that. Wheels are probably MORE balanced with a reflector on them than without, as long as you're not running a 1970s era big fat reflector, but rather one of the newer thin models.
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Old 08-29-12, 09:05 AM   #7
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Reflectors are so "passe" - all the BF members I know use reflective tape - tsk tsk tsk

And as a matter of updating my own perfect store of knowledge - can anyone refer their experience as to the best available source of reflective "tape like" apparatus? The type I've used comes on 6"x10" cards - pre-cut little shapes..... in neon yellow or orange....
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Old 08-29-12, 09:15 AM   #8
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See also http://sheldonbrown.com/reflectors.html. Short version is, a car won't see a wheel reflector until it's about to hit you. Headlights (and taillights) are better.
Lights are of primary importance, but side visibility has its uses too. Ever been stuck in a large intersection waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, so you can make your left turn (for U.S. riders)? The light turns yellow, traffic finally clears, and you need to get out of the intersection as traffic on your left and right launches at you from their green lights. The cyclic motion of a wheel reflector is an eye-catcher. For example, I have to make a left turn here every day on the way home:



A stationary cyclist might not be easy to see against the glare of two or three lanes of headlights. Side-visibility lights would be great too, of course. The Sunlite #95589 (the HL-L515) is an amber 2AAA-powered blinkie that makes a good side-vis light.

Quote:
And as a matter of updating my own perfect store of knowledge - can anyone refer their experience as to the best available source of reflective "tape like" apparatus?
For flat surfaces, 3M Diamond Grade is about as good as it gets. I get it off Ebay. For one-axis curves, like a frame tube, Reflexite V82 has nearly the performance of 3M Diamond Grade and is much thinner, so it doesn't try to flatten out and peel itself off in the process. Night-gear.com carries V82 in 1" widths in colors (silver reflects best), and 2" widths in silver, and alternating silver/red for DOT applications.

For two-axis curves, like a fender, cut ~1cm strips of V82 and apply them crosswise. If you try to apply it en masse on a two-axis curve, it'll wrinkle.

Last edited by mechBgon; 08-29-12 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 08-29-12, 12:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Juggler2 View Post
in fact required in some states,
"In fact", you need a reference for any state that requires them. (GA had a requirement for pedal reflectors but I don't recall seeing wheel reflectors as a requirement in the state traffic laws.)

The federal government (CPSC) requires bikes to be sold with them (that is, the bike owner can remove them).
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Old 08-30-12, 12:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
"In fact", you need a reference for any state that requires them. (GA had a requirement for pedal reflectors but I don't recall seeing wheel reflectors as a requirement in the state traffic laws.)

The federal government (CPSC) requires bikes to be sold with them (that is, the bike owner can remove them).
California, Colorado and Montana do (reflectorized tires can be substituted). Nevada and Utah stipulate either side reflectivity, or lights that accomplish the same. That's from a check of states from Oregon to South Dakota, I'm not going to do them all right now
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Old 08-30-12, 08:29 AM   #11
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California, Colorado and Montana do (reflectorized tires can be substituted). Nevada and Utah stipulate either side reflectivity, or lights that accomplish the same. That's from a check of states from Oregon to South Dakota, I'm not going to do them all right now
"Side reflectivity" is not just "wheel reflectors". It doesn't appear that it is common that states specifically requires "wheel reflectors".

Of the three, only Montana mentions wheel reflectors.

http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/61/8/61-8-607.htm

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(3) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with either tires with retroflective sidewalls or reflectors mounted on the spokes of each wheel. Spoke mounted reflectors shall be within 76 millimeters (3 inches) of the inside of the rim and shall be visible on each side of the wheel. The reflectors on the front wheel shall be essentially colorless or amber and the reflectors on the rear wheel shall be amber or red.
Colorado does not.

http://colobikelaw.com/law.php
Quote:
Every bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or EPAMD when in use at the times described in section 42-4-204 shall be equipped with reflective material of sufficient size and reflectivity to be visible from both sides for six hundred feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle or, in lieu of such reflective material, with a lighted lamp visible from both sides from a distance of at least five hundred feet.
California does not.

http://www.sacbike.org/sacbiking/CVCLaws.htm

Quote:
(d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped (1) with a lamp emitting a white light which, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle; (2) with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle; (3) with a white or yellow reflector on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet; and (4) with a white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and with a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles which are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors. Such reflectors and reflectorized tires shall be of a type meeting requirements established by the department.
...
(b) No person shall sell, or offer for sale, a new bicycle that is not equipped with a red reflector on the rear, a white or yellow reflector on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle, a white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles which are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors.

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-30-12 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 08-31-12, 04:48 PM   #12
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Well, I didn't quote any statistics, what I did do was refer to an observation. Seems reflected light (from whatever) source, is generally considered a good thing, yet moving wheel reflectors, are generally looked down on or made fun of. I don't do light saber sound effects.
They are the minimum required by law and not very good. There is material available that makes a much better reflector than that crap. I don't ride much a night, but I have lights that make me more visible.
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Old 09-01-12, 05:56 AM   #13
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according to my local "Active Transport and Road Safety Coordinator"...
Quote:
The Handbook of Road Safety Measures (by Elvik et al) has a table of the effects of bicycle equipment on accident rates (page 673 on the 2nd edition). Its best estimate for the effect of spoke reflectors is a 9% increase in 'multi-vehicle accidents in darkness'. Its 95% confidence interval is +1;+18% increase.
no further details available.

if i didn't have reflective-sidewall tires, i'd probably keep my CPSC spoke reflectors (but then i don't care about looking like a geek; i'm trying to find pie-plates for my new wheels). there are also the white reflective things that clip onto spokes, and look a bit like reflective soda-straws... i'm not sure what they're called or where to get them, but they blow away the CPSC reflectors, especailly off-axis... although the CPSC reflectors might win if it's raining.
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Old 09-01-12, 07:38 AM   #14
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For those who have problems with the reflective sidewalls getting dirty, you might want to look into Lightweights for wheels. They are little self adhesive reflectors that are designed to wrap around your spokes (plus a few for other locations, such as crank arms etc). Unless you're traveling through some pretty deep mud puddles, they'll keep out of the muck and work beautifully.


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there are also the white reflective things that clip onto spokes, and look a bit like reflective soda-straws... i'm not sure what they're called or where to get them, but they blow away the CPSC reflectors, especailly off-axis... although the CPSC reflectors might win if it's raining.
I've seen some of those reflectors they're 3M Spoke Reflectors Sekuclip Compact, but I've been told they're from Germany. Some guy on Amazon wants $30 for each set, but I'm betting that getting them shipped from europe would still be cheaper at €4.90/set of 36 pieces. Found something on Walmart's website for $20.49USD but only has 18 pieces (thought they seem longer, so cutting them in half would double your pieces)

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Old 09-01-12, 09:11 AM   #15
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I do like my reflective sidewalls. They work well even when dirty, although I guess it depends on how dirty. I took the clamp-on spoke reflectors off because I thought they were less effective than the reflective sidewalls, and I thought they were ugly.

Pedal reflectors are a good idea, but mine don't last long. After awhile I stopped replacing them.
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Old 09-08-12, 08:22 AM   #16
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Try RimSkins in the reflective format.
http://www.therimskin.com/

Much larger reflective area, and they provide good SIDE visibility. They won't do squat for head-on or rear-on reflectivity though.
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