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Subject: Reflective Tape
From: Jobst Brandt

Reflective tape is available in most better bike shops in various forms, most of which is pre-cut to some preferred shape and designed for application to some specific part of the bike or apparel. The most effective use of such tape is on moving parts such as pedals, heel of the shoe or on a place that is generally overlooked, the inside of the rim.

First, it is appropriate to note that car headlights generally produce white light and a white or, in fact, colorless reflector returns more of this light to its source than ones with color filters or selective reflection. Red, for instance, is not nearly as effective as white.

Placing reflective tape on the inside of the rims between the spokes is highly effective for night riding because it is visible equally to the front and rear while attracting attention through its motion. It is most effective when applied to less than half the rim in a solid block. Five inter-spoke sections do a good job. One can argue that it isn't visible from the side (if the rim does not have an aero cross section) but the major hazard is from the front and rear.

Be seen on a bike! It's good for your health.

Jobst Brandt

You need lights too, and there are other important choices to make in reflectors. See my article About Bicycle Reflectors -- John Allen

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See also John Schubert's Why Reflectors Don't Work

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More Articles by Jobst Brandt
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