Volvo promotes a reflective paint which fades in 10 days!

The last word in safe bicycling, NOT! I mean, this could be a premature April foo’s joke!

The Volvo promotion, also touted on the blog The Verge, is more an exercise in creative photography than anything else, but also does a lot of fearmongering. Buses are shown twice endangering bicyclists to the extent I have to wonder whether the videos were posed. Another video shows a bicyclist smashing into the back of a car, which can be avoided by maintaining safe following distance, not by any lights or reflectorized items. A bicyclist describes a left-hook (in the UK, right-hook in right-side driving countries), a type of crash which is avoided by not overtaking between a vehicle and the kerb (curb).

It is very easy to make reflectorized materials look splendidly bright by using a lamp on or next to the camera. As usual in promotions of nonstandard reflectorized products, a bicycle is shown in the video emblazoned with the product — which only works for the driver of a motor vehicle whose headlamps are aimed at it — but without the headlamp required by law for the bicyclist to alert others. The bicycle’s saddle is at an impossibly uncomfortable angle, and who is to imagine that the chain, tires — and rims — on a bicycle with rim brakes — would be spray-painted? A photo of three bicyclists is clearly doctored: there is no way that one after the other would light up. Same with another where the bicyclist’s clothing flashes on and off while the bicycle remains bright. In any case, reflective coatings are nothing new, but one which is designed to last only 10 days, now that is a new twist in safety products. For information about earlier reflective coating promotions: http://www.bikexprt.com/witness/fabric/index.htm