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Wheel reflectors - who needs'em, right?

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Wheel reflectors - who needs'em, right?

Old 01-25-23, 08:37 PM
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sjanzeir
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Wheel reflectors - who needs'em, right?

Well, I've sensed a general indifference towards the humble little wheel reflector around this forum, and I've read posts by multiple users in which they say that one of the first things they do with a new bike is remove wheel reflectors. I've done the same to my bikes, but after one close call (in which I was driving abd the other party was riding,) wheel reflectors are now back on all of my five bikes!

I was driving home the other night and came up to a tee near our home where the street lights have been out for a while, and the place was almost completely dark. I turned left from a fairly well lit main street into the short side street that brought me up to the very dark tee, and I had only the 40-year-old headlights of my old Peugeot to rely on. Just as I was fixing to turn right at the tee, a cyclist came out of my right and turned left in front of me. He was wearing dark clothes on a black bike and literally the only reason I saw him at the last moment was the single, solidarity reflector he had on his rear wheel. That's when I decided that I'm putting the reflectors back onto the wheels of the bikes.

Moral of the dumb, silly, stupid ststor Those little things that plenty of people discount as gimmicky children's toys and just throw away can actually save lives. It sounds a little hyperbolic, I know, but that little wheel reflector probably saved him from a visit to the hospital and me from spending a night (or more) in a Saudi jail.
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Old 01-25-23, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
Well, I've sensed a general indifference towards the humble little wheel reflector around this forum, and I've read posts by multiple users in which they say that one of the first things they do with a new bike is remove wheel reflectors. I've done the same to my bikes, but after one close call (in which I was driving abd the other party was riding,) wheel reflectors are now back on all of my five bikes!

I was driving home the other night and came up to a tee near our home where the street lights have been out for a while, and the place was almost completely dark. I turned left from a fairly well lit main street into the short side street that brought me up to the very dark tee, and I had only the 40-year-old headlights of my old Peugeot to rely on. Just as I was fixing to turn right at the tee, a cyclist came out of my right and turned left in front of me. He was wearing dark clothes on a black bike and literally the only reason I saw him at the last moment was the single, solidarity reflector he had on his rear wheel. That's when I decided that I'm putting the reflectors back onto the wheels of the bikes.

Moral of the dumb, silly, stupid ststor Those little things that plenty of people discount as gimmicky children's toys and just throw away can actually save lives. It sounds a little hyperbolic, I know, but that little wheel reflector probably saved him from a visit to the hospital and me from spending a night (or more) in a Saudi jail.
If you have rims with a deep enough profile, reflective tape on the rims (the non-braking surface areas of course) is a little better, as you'll be able to see it from more angles.

There are also good commuting tires with reflective strips, but they don't show up as well as tape on the rims when viewed from behind.
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Old 01-25-23, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
If you have rims with a deep enough profile, reflective tape on the rims (the non-braking surface areas of course) is a little better, as you'll be able to see it from more angles.

There are also good commuting tires with reflective strips, but they don't show up as well as tape on the rims when viewed from behind.
Both my 20" folding bikes have tires with reflective sidewalls and double wall rims. As you said, the reflective sidewalls barely reflect to begin with, and they only get worse as road grime builds and greasy fingers smudge them up with every puncture repair.

As for reflective tape on the rims, I'm kinda old school: I prefer to secure a reflector to a spoke with a metal screw to sticking one on with glue.
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Old 01-25-23, 08:50 PM
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Don't forget your head and tail lights as well as reflector straps around your ankles and wrists (so drivers can see your hand signals). And put on a reflector vest.

You had described the other cyclist as wearing dark clothes. So don't wear dark clothes.
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Old 01-25-23, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
... people discount as gimmicky children's toys and just throw away can actually save lives.
... when "turned left in front of me ... wearing dark clothes on a black bike."

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Old 01-25-23, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
... when "turned left in front of me ... wearing dark clothes on a black bike."

And the problem you're having is?
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Old 01-25-23, 10:24 PM
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I've noticed that those reflectors are quite noticeable from a distance at night when I'm driving my car. I'll never discourage anyone from leaving a safety feature on their bike.
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Old 01-25-23, 10:40 PM
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From my experience the reflectors are visible from a decent distance and do make a difference in being able to see an otherwise obscure cyclist in the dark. I never bother taking them off, just isn't worth the effort, but I also don't bother installing them in bikes or wheels I build. Recently the whole family got a friendly ribbing at one of the harder mtb trails on the Island, another rider at the trailhead noticed that of the 5 bikes we were riding, 4 still had reflectors on (three of them even had dork discs still since they hadn't broken yet), mine didn't from rebuilding the wheels with stronger hubs and spokes. But I don't worry about them because when I ride at night I've got a taillight and one of several headlights that are at least 1100 lumen and typically a second on my helmet, same for any of the family. But I also wouldn't criticize anyone for having them, especially if they ride at night with no lights.
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Old 01-25-23, 10:55 PM
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Reflective Tape works well.
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Old 01-25-23, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
And the problem you're having is?
No problem. I agree with you that it is ...

Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
... dumb, silly, stupid.
​​​​​​​
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Old 01-26-23, 01:30 AM
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I like reflective tape instead of those plastic spoke reflectors. Glow in the dark tape is nice too.




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Old 01-26-23, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
No problem. I agree with you that it is ...

​​​​​​​
Three things you're well versed in, I'm sure!
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Old 01-26-23, 05:09 AM
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fwiw: around here, one can report burned out street lights

I keep my wheel reflectors, cuz, why not?
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Old 01-26-23, 09:10 AM
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another yes vote by a small wheel reflector user



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Old 01-26-23, 09:50 AM
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Most states have laws stating that certain reflectors are required on your bike if it is ridden on the public roads. Some don't make a difference for day or night. Some will allow lights to take the place of reflectors and others require them regardless of lights.

If you live in a state that is a share the blame state with liability lawsuits, then you'll fare better as a plaintiff if you follow what your state says whether you like it or not.
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Old 01-26-23, 10:41 AM
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I rarely ride at night, and there are only two of my bikes that go out at night; the M80 and the Rudge. The Rudge has its own Dynohub lighting system, and along with the hub-polisher reflector that hangs on the S/A rear hub and my reflective trouser-cuff band, I do okay, but still have to be aware of cars approaching from the side, my weak point on that bike. The M80 gets the whole treatment, though: pedal reflectors, spoke reflectors, reflective decals, rear reflector and front light (of course). Most parts of Maine don't get much traffic, but I live in the largest town in the state, so the cops have a job keeping motorists slow in the downtown area. That road is the only way to get to Portland from the north, so it is a dangerous little spot if you are not paying attention.

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Old 01-26-23, 10:51 AM
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I used to place small pieces of retroreflective tape on my wheels and got out of the habit. I should get back to doing it.
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Old 01-26-23, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
Three things you're well versed in, I'm sure!
Only after reading your post.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Only after reading your post.
So you're saying you were completely oblivious in your sheltered, cozy existence until I jolted you back into reality as to a little something called The Real World. You're welcome.
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Old 01-26-23, 12:42 PM
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On my rig, I currently have several features I use in the hope it'll matter:
  • A couple of spoke reflectors for each wheel.
  • Pedal reflectors.
    • Reflective conspicuity tape lengths along several of the bike's tubes (fork, down, seat, and seat stays).
  • Clothing and jacket with reflective bits.
  • Lighting, fore and aft.

I figure, every bit helps others see me better. Seems to induce people to give me a bit wider berth. And I haven't yet had a from-the-side or from-the-rear disaster narrowly avoided. So, perhaps it is resulting in people clearly seeing me, at those times when I'm out during the dawn/dusk periods. I certainly hope so.

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Old 01-26-23, 01:02 PM
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The spokes of my Campagnolo Shamal wheels don't lend themselves well to most spoke reflectors but reflective tape does a good job and weighs almost nothing
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Old 01-26-23, 01:10 PM
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I once got a nice used triple crankset that had reflective tape on the crankarms. Curious as to the effect, I put 'em on a bike and had my friend ride down the road and I followed in the car. That works really well - the more moving reflective bits the better.
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Old 01-26-23, 01:45 PM
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What I like about these is that they can be easily applied and removed. I also have used the reflecting snap bands. I no longer ride in dark or dusk conditions but I still keep them around just in case...


Amazon 18 USD



ChiCom AliExpress 2.40 USD

Yep... I used the ones from AliExpress and they work fine...
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Old 01-26-23, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
What I like about these is that they can be easily applied and removed. I also have used the reflecting snap bands. I no longer ride in dark or dusk conditions but I still keep them around just in case...

Amazon 18 USD

ChiCom AliExpress 2.40 USD

Yep... I used the ones from AliExpress and they work fine...
Yeah, I've seen these before, but like I said earlier, I'm a little old school when it comes to this kind of stuff:








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Old 01-26-23, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
You were completely oblivious in your sheltered, cozy existence until I jolted you back into reality as to a little something called The Real World. You're welcome.


This helps explain the op. Thanks.
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