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Reflective Tape Visibility (conspicuity) Studies:
Studies have shown that night visibility is enhanced by the application of reflective tape to cycle rear frames, pedal cranks and other traffic facing surfaces.
These studies have also tested the benefits of reflective markings applied to cyclist clothing and found them to enhance visibility. In one study, reflective tape was applied to the rear frame. Detection distance was compared in four conditions: control, rear red reflector, high visibility jacket, and reflective tape. In the second study, the same conditions were studied with night street lighting on and off. In the third study, detection and recognition distances were evaluated in rainy conditions. In the fourth study, visibility was assessed with the reflective tape applied to pedal cranks of bicycles.
In the first study, the application of reflective markings resulted in a detection distance of 168.28 m. In the second study, the detection distance with reflective markings was 229.74 m with public street light on and 256.41 m with public street light off. In rainy conditions, detection distance using the reflective markings was 146.47 m. Reflective tape applied to bicycle pedal cracks resulted in a detection distance of 168.60 m.
Reflective tape applied to the rear cycle frame can considerably increase bike and motor cyclist conspicuity and safety at night. Reflective tape is highly recommended to complement anterior and rear lights of cycle riding at night.
3M Scotchlite™ Reflective Tape Description:
3m is the acknowledged leader in the technologies behind retro reflection and has been improving reflective tape performance
for over 80 years. 3m scotchlite is universally generally considered the best, the brightest and the most durable. Heavily used on motorcycles,, helmets and commercial vehicles for its improved visibility and safety
Reflective Tape Description:
Commonly known as 'reflective tape” RETRO-REFLECTIVE tape does not act like your personal dressing mirror which picks up imagery and light from all angles. Instead, reflective tape collects light from one source via tiny prisms or glass beads and multiplies its impact by sending the reflection in ONLY ONE DIRECTION – BACK TO ITS SOURCE.
3M is recognized as the original and most prominent developer of retro-reflective tapes and film dating back to the early 1900's.
Focusing your attention on the light source vs what you see, picture yourself driving toward a stop sign at night with your headlights on. As you know, from experience, the stop sign appears quite bright as long as your eyes are in the same or near plane as the headlights. However, another person walking on the sidewalk adjacent to your car, can look at the same stop sign and see little or no reflected light from your headlights. But, if there is another source of light behind the other person, THAT light may strike the sign and it will reflect back to the pedestrian, but not the driver 20 feet “off plane”
It is this narrow line of reflection which accounts for the high levels of brightness of reflective tape.
Early glass beads disperse this light much more than modern micro-prisms. Therefore, the newer prismatic tape may seem extremely brighter.
Certain types of reflective tape work better in specific situations. For this reason, the brightest tape in may fail to conform to shapes as well as more flexible films which use the glass beads. In this case the less bright becomes the brightest for the specific situation.
And once again, less is more.
The secret to successful visibility enhancement depends on choosing the right tape for the task.
We can help if you have questions about this.