As a driver (and cyclist), if there’s one thing that gives me the heebie jeebies when blasting along A roads on a dark evening, it is seeing a tiny LED rear lamp on the back of a bike. In the dark, let’s face it you don’t see them until the last 200 feet or so, and taking a bend you know, it could be with just braking distance between you and potentially ruining the cyclist’s night… I take my hat off to cyclists with the balls, and by this I mean balls the size of a prize bull’s, who cycle country lanes after dark.
Cycling in the UK is frequently seen as dangerous, especially at night. They reckon that 11,000 cyclists are seriously injured every year on Britain’s roads that is enough to keep many a corpulent driver behind the wheel in its own right. To be able to see a cyclist in full from as far as possible is the safest possible outcome. If you can’t miss them with your eyes there’s no way a judge will let the dangerous cycle hater off when he’s hauled up before the beak.
There are two brands of reflective cycle paint on the market that are invisible in daylight yet light up when a light it shone on them in the dark. Volvo is trialling something called Life Paint but a company already sells a similar range of paints called Albedo 100.
Life Paint / Invisible Bright
You may well have seen a viral video released by Volvo ahead of the car company giving away 2000 free cans of spray. Volvo has a goal of not killing or seriously injuring another road user by a new Volvo by the year 2020.
If Life Paint flies off the shelves and receives good customer feedback then the company plans worldwide release of the spray on the general market.
A similar spray already exists made by Albedo 100. Invisible Bright (£12.99 from the Albedo website) is designed to be sprayed on fabric surfaces. It will last a week or until your clothes go in the washing machine. Being water soluble, please don’t use it in the next October storm at night as it will wash away…
It is meant to be good on all surfaces except suede and leather. Albedo also stock a sparkling grey spray which will be seen in the daylight, yet if you like a little sparkle then it won’t matter much.
Light Metallic reflective spray
On the Volvo viral video you will see bikes reflecting in the dark. This was a bit cheeky of them, as the Life Spray is only good on fabrics. For the video the Albedo Light Metallic reflective spray was used (£17.99 a tin). This is a permanent spray for metal, wood, concrete or plastic.
It isn’t invisible unlike Life Spray so will dull the fancy paintwork on your commuting steed. However, at night you’ll be hard to miss.
Reflective spray and pets
Many teenagers like to walk the family dog from their bike. A very good way to burn off its pent up energies is to get Fido to race you. Do be sure not to have him / her on the lead while you’re cycling as you could be hauled up for animal cruelty. If you do take your dog out with you for a late night ride you can also purchase a reflective spray from Albedo which is suitable for fur! Should you be so inclined!
Not everyone likes to wear a high visibility vest for the same reasons they don’t like helmets. Finding the Albedo 100 online today showed me that no matter how good your product, it really only is how well you market it these days. It says it all that Volvo have put out a viral video to even get the original noticed!
The bike haters of this world won’t stand a hope in court if you had just sprayed yourself with one of these reflective cycle paint sprays and stood out like the London Eye on the road. It is certainly something to consider if you don’t want to be an injury statistic.