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Old 10-31-12, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vol View Post

On another note of the (un)usefulness of reflectors: since they are so directional, why don't they make it ball-shaped, so it will reflect in every direction?
Looks like you're fine in NY with just the rear light. I still prefer to supplement my rear lights with some reflective material since 1) just in case one or both lights fail and I don't notice right away, 2) reflectors are cheap and light - so why not, and 3) the ones on my pedals/shoes move up and down as I pedal and make it clear that I'm on a bicycle.

As to the directionality, cube reflectors and the materials using that principle are indeed very directional but the direction is always right back at the source of the light. That gives you the best visibility to any driver who has his lights shining in your general direction. It's very different from the directionality of a mirror surface which would have to be carefully positioned to be perpendicular to the incoming light in order for it to be reflected back to the source. A corner-cube reflector works the same as if you throw an elastic ball into the cube corner formed at the intersection of two walls and the ceiling - no matter where you stand in the room, if you throw the ball into that corner it'll bounce out coming back to you (at least if thrown hard enough so it travels in fairly straight lines).
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