Reflective coating technology could lead to safer cycling

By Adam Newman. Photos by Constance Winters.

Could reflectors on bikes become a thing of the past? They might, if a new technology from an enterprising company from Indianapolis catches on.

Halo Coatings, a specialty coating company that specializes in highway applications, has patented a new powdercoat process that leaves a completely reflective coating. The applications for bicycle frames and accessories seem endless.

As a proof of concept, attorney and cycling advocate Josh Zisson had his bike treated with the coating as part of a project to create the safest bike he could. You can see from the photos that it is incredibly bright when reflecting. Zisson share the story of his bike on his blog, Bike Safe Boston, an outlet for safety and legal advice for cyclists not just in Massachusetts, but also beyond.

 

The bike as seen under normal light, left, and when a camera’s flash hits it, right.

The process of coating an object like a bicycle frame with this reflective property is simple in theory, but difficult in practice, said Ryan Downey, CEO of Halo Coatings. Because of the quality control needed to apply it correctly, they only have plans to make it available through large-scale, industrial shops.

That might make it difficult to get your old frame re-coated, but Downey said Halo is in talks with bicycle manufactures to make new bikes with reflective frames and parts. Another new technology they are developing would allow reflective coatings to be applied to other materials such as plastics or carbon fiber, and even multiple materials at once, cutting down on time and complications.

Unlike reflective tape, the new material is much more durable, Downey said, and is capable of withstanding incredible stresses mandated by the automotive industry.

If the reflective coating seems familiar, Halo Coatings was the company that produced the reflective rims sold by Velocity Wheels.

There’s no word yet if this technology will become commonplace, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

What do you think? Would you ride a reflective bike?


 

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