Reflective gear has seen as many advances as modern bike lighting. It’s bright when a car or bike’s lights strike it. It’s cheap and it lasts for years with no batteries to charge or electric circuits to fail. For some reason cyclists treat reflective material as an accessory. It’s fine for the trim on our rain jackets or a nice to have on a messenger bag, but not something we think about with the same importance and focus as we do bike lights.
That’s a mistake.
As a driver I often spot a cyclist up the road because of their reflective material before I see their lights. Pumping ankle bands are distinctively a signal there is a cyclist ahead. My brain is trained to think cyclist, runner or road worker when I see reflective material. All of which demand some extra care as I approach them.
By all means fit your bike with effective lights, but also make sure you have made good use of reflective material as well. Ankle bands are small, cheap and useful if you are wearing street clothes. They really catch the eye of a driver. Reflective gloves make your turn signaling much more effective and they’ll fit over gloves in cool weather. A reflective vest or sash is easy to wear over anything and packs away into a small corner of your bag during the day.
You don’t have to wear all the stuff I have on in these photos, but wear a couple items to make yourself more visible without needing to add the weight, cost and complexity of more lights.