It seems we advocate wearing high visibility clothing, using lights, and defensive cycling. But barring all those, shouldn't all bicycles come equipped with—at the very least—wheel reflectors?
Jeesh, not one reflector on any of my dream bikes. Who knew? (Not me, of course.)
|Pedal reflectors. Photo credit: Tamia Nelson|
I recall the days when bicycles were covered in reflectors. The more the merrier. A white reflector on the stem, a red one attached to the seat post, one on each wheel, plus two on each pedal rounded out the collection, rendering a bike lit like a Christmas tree when a car's headlights shined. And sure, reflectors are only effective under certain lighting conditions, but for simple, low cost safety that doesn't need a battery, I believe reflective material goes a long ways towards making bikes safer for everyone.
While I ride the Ross around town, I better make sure I'm not out after dark, because I'm afraid I'll be invisible, even if I ride the sidewalk. Gotta put a blinkie in my pocket...
|Our rental bikes in France. Michele's bike had two reflectors on each wheel. Look at that shine!|
It seems we've lost a built-in safety measure in favor of simplicity. Sure, bikes look less cluttered, more streamlined—sleek even—which may appeal to a broader market. Or possibly those new to cycling. Why would a newbie want to ride a bike full of orange and red beacons that remind them of childhood rides? And, who doesn't like the simple single-speed? I betcha you won't find any reflectors on those babies.
Once you lose or break a reflector, they rarely get replaced. Out of sight; out of mind. I'm guilty of that. (Is that why orange vests became popular?) But still, I lament the fact that plastic reflectors have gone the way of the dinosaur.