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Reflector tape?

Old 12-23-11, 06:18 PM
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Reflector tape?

For some reason I was browsing through the Illinois laws regarding bike lights and I found out that a reflector is a required piece of equipment when riding at night. I ride almost nightly in the winter and have a very good lighting system, but when I buy a bike one of the first things I do is remove all the reflectors. I'm thinking of applying reflector tape to the frame. Anyone use reflector tape on their night-ridden bikes?
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Old 12-23-11, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy
For some reason I was browsing through the Illinois laws regarding bike lights and I found out that a reflector is a required piece of equipment when riding at night. I ride almost nightly in the winter and have a very good lighting system, but when I buy a bike one of the first things I do is remove all the reflectors. I'm thinking of applying reflector tape to the frame. Anyone use reflector tape on their night-ridden bikes?
Yes, I use the SOLAS Marine or the DOT Conspicuity tape. Might need to check the laws carefully I have seen some where you have to have the OEM reflectors on the bike, even if you are using something that is better. I use small bits of the silver or white DOT tape on my rim surfaces between the spokes in lieu of wheel reflectors, I also try to buy tires with reflective sidewalls. I also will use a large strip of the red up my back fender.

I run lights as SOP. I use dyno hubs with good quality LED head lights and steady LED tail lights with stand lights. I also run a blinky as a back up/visibility light. Current light is the Planet Bike Super Flash.

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Old 12-23-11, 07:10 PM
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In states where a reflector is required, you might need to have a CPSC-certified reflector. The Cateye Reflex tail light incorporates one into it's design, killing two birds with one stone. Indiana law requires a headlight and and rear tail light or reflector.
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Old 12-23-11, 07:51 PM
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CO requires a red reflector, but I've never had a cop stop me to tell me my Dinotte 140R was insufficient.
I'm considering adding a reflector just to be fully legal in case of an incident where a lawyer might be grasping at straws.
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Old 12-23-11, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo
CO requires a red reflector, but I've never had a cop stop me to tell me my Dinotte 140R was insufficient.
I'm considering adding a reflector just to be fully legal in case of an incident where a lawyer might be grasping at straws.
+1 on the lawyer thing. If a driver hits you and you don't have the required reflectors (rear and wheel), you could be found culpable enough to lose any rights to sue. That's even if you have an active rear light. Consider it a cheap CYA.

Here's the relevant laws

Every bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or EPAMD in use at the times described in section 42-4-204 shall be equipped with a lamp on the front emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front.

Every bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or EPAMD shall be equipped with a red reflector of a type approved by the department, which shall be visible for six hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle.

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.

A bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or EPAMD or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by subsections (2) to (4) of this section.
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Old 12-23-11, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM
In states where a reflector is required, you might need to have a CPSC-certified reflector. The Cateye Reflex tail light incorporates one into it's design, killing two birds with one stone. Indiana law requires a headlight and and rear tail light or reflector.
North Carolina is similar, but I am willing to wager that less than 2% of the bikes on the road meet the minimum requirements.

For riding after dark, every bicycle must be equipped with proper lighting equipment:
Front - a lighted lamp that is visible from a distance of at least 300 feet.
Rear - a red reflex mirror or lamp that is visible from a distance of at least 200 feet. [§20-129(e)]
I greatly exceed those regulations, with one notable exception, (and I seldom ride that bike at night) all of my lights meet the German road requirements, which are probably some of the best in the world when it comes to bicycle lighting requirements.

Aaron
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Old 12-23-11, 08:54 PM
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I used some 1" 3M tape and kept the reflectors.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
100_0294M.JPG (28.3 KB, 9 views)
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Old 12-23-11, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM
In states where a reflector is required, you might need to have a CPSC-certified reflector. The Cateye Reflex tail light incorporates one into it's design, killing two birds with one stone. Indiana law requires a headlight and and rear tail light or reflector.
I've never seen a state that stipulates a CPSC reflector for lawful nighttime operation. All the state laws I've read so far stipulate actual real-world performance minimums.

In my state, the reflector must be red, and must be visible in lawfully-aimed low-beam headlights for all distances up to 600 feet. The reflector can be approved by the CPSC, the DOT, or any other entity, but what matters in court is its actual performance. So a DOT-approved or CPSC-approved reflector with a coat of mud could fail the test.

Anyway, if you'd like to go with reflective tape instead of plastic reflectors, that's a valid approach. Reflective tape reflects even from severe angles, it weighs only a few grams, and you can put it where you want it. Here's some that's available in smaller quantities, thin enough not to be too prone to peeling, and high quality: https://www.night-gear.com/1-inch-v82...-reflexite-539

Oh, and if you want to enhance your visibility from the front approaches, to help show up when you're waiting to turn across traffic for example, you can pinstripe the underside of your top tube and downtube with the silver stuff, and consider a stripe down the front of each fork leg:



Or you can just get completely carried away


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Old 12-24-11, 12:01 AM
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I have two CPSC-type-approved reflectors for legality, but rely much more on tape for conspicuity.

This shot simulates the angle of lighting from a car half a lane to my left, merging into my lane. As you can see, the two red reflectors are relatively invisible compared to the reflective tape on the rear mudflap, fender, pedals, and shoes.

I also put quite a bit on my helmet -- a less efficient position because of the higher angle, but it's above most obstacles that could block lower parts of the bike.


Conspicuity 3 by joshua_putnam, on Flickr


The largest single reflector is half a square foot of diamond-grade tape on a waterproof flap that snaps to my backpack.


Reflective Flap on Backpack by joshua_putnam, on Flickr

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Old 12-24-11, 12:30 AM
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The law here (Ontario Canada) stipulates a rear red reflector or light, a front light AND several inches of reflective tape on the seatstays and fork.
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Old 12-24-11, 09:01 AM
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Indiana rear reflector requirement only specifies that it be visible from 500 feet - that's it.
Yes, indeed, that reflector will be worthless covered with mud. Just like a light is worthless with a dead battery.
Best strategy may be a combination of powered lights, reflectors and reflective tape and/or fabric, etc.
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Old 12-24-11, 09:27 AM
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I'd also recommend riders keep their red reflectors or add them back to their bike.

Reflective tape is great stuff.
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Old 12-24-11, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jputnam
...The largest single reflector is over a square foot of diamond-grade tape on a waterproof flap that snaps to my backpack...

Doesn't quite look like a square foot (144 square inches).
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Old 12-24-11, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi
Doesn't quite look like a square foot (144 square inches).
Oops, you're right, late night memory error. This one is 4" x 18", half a square foot.

The square foot is a different reflector, the one on my hard-side pannier that isn't in this photo.
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Old 12-24-11, 06:36 PM
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I ride nearly every night so it looks like the reflectors will go back on. The legal issues are reason enough. I'll probably add some reflector tape for safety.
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