Reflectors on newly purchased bike

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Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby newblah » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:01 pm

Hi all,

I recently got my first roadie, the bike has three reflectors on it that came with the bike, rear red reflector, front white reflector and a set of orange wheel reflectors.

Do people generally keep the orange wheel reflectors on the bikes? I don't see anyone else on the road with them but as far as I know by Australian law they are in fact required. I also want to replace the front reflector with one that can go below the front stem as it takes up some important real estate where I could be putting a computer/light etc.

cheers
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:07 pm

newblah wrote:Hi all,

I recently got my first roadie, the bike has three reflectors on it that came with the bike, rear red reflector, front white reflector and a set of orange wheel reflectors.

Do people generally keep the orange wheel reflectors on the bikes? I don't see anyone else on the road with them but as far as I know by Australian law they are in fact required. I also want to replace the front reflector with one that can go below the front stem as it takes up some important real estate where I could be putting a computer/light etc.

cheers


Generally, they are all required as far as I know, including a bell.

They are the first thing I remove when I buy a bike, as well as the plastic frisbee on the rear derailluer.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Marx » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:11 pm

I’m not sure on the law regarding wheel reflectors, although after 20years of daily riding I pretty sure of how it’s being administered if there is one, as I have never been pulled up or advised to fit wheel reflectors.
Perhaps its just a law for the ‘sale’ of a bike, but not a law saying you ‘ have to ride’ with wheel reflectors.

I never leave them on when I upgrade or change bikes.
It’s mostly a fashion thing with me.
It’s the same with the plastic cassette/wheel hub guard on the rear wheel, I remove that as well for no real reason.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:24 pm

I have never understood front and rear reflectors.

During the day they are zero use, they are only use at night when cars have lights on. At night you are required to have lights so what purpose do the reflectors actually serve?
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby citywomble » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:34 pm

Hi,

It's a legal requirement for using a bike on the public highway, having said that it is very unlikely that any action would be taken by the police unless you had really annoyed them.

Reflectors take over when lights fail (which the do) , are movement related (pedals and wheels) and are most valuable for being seen side on by the wheel reflectors.

But, tHe main issue here is one of legal liability and consequences in an accident. In an accident at night lack of reflectors would be a consideration which in some cases could exonerate the other driver or even have the cyclist held liable for causing the accident. At the very least it would probably result in any damages being reduced under contributory negligence.

Consider being T boned (SMIDSY upheld) or a driver swerving to avoid side on bike and hitting someone else (cyclist held liable)
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby queequeg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:33 pm

There are two issues at play:

1) What a bike must be sold with:-
2) What you must legally have on the bike to ride it

1) is not the same as 2)

In most states the only legal requirement for reflectors is that you must have a red one on the back if you are riding at night. None of the other ones are required by the road rules, so you can pull them off. The only other mandatory equipment is at least one working brake and a bell (Rule 258)

I know that in WA there was a requirement for the wheel reflectors and reflectors on pedals, but I am not sure if this is current. In NSW it is definitely only the red one that is needed!

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragv ... N?tocnav=y

259 Riding at night

The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays:
(a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle, and
(b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle, and
(c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low-beam.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby high_tea » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:38 pm

citywomble wrote:Hi,

It's a legal requirement for using a bike on the public highway, having said that it is very unlikely that any action would be taken by the police unless you had really annoyed them.

Nope. Not in Qld anyway. The Road Rules require a brake,a bell and, if riding at night or in reduced visibility, lights and a rear reflector. That's it. The vehicle standards reg explicitly doesn't apply to bicycles.

I agree that being visible is good. Reflectors are one way of doing it. Reflective tape is another. Me, I like both. But there's no legal requirement to have wheel reflectors in Qld, not that I can see.

Contributory negligence: sure, I guess. But someone being drunk and lying in the middle of the road didn't work as an absolute defence. It's pretty unlikely that the mere lack of reflectors would be enough to exonerate a driver. It depends on the circumstances, I suppose.

EDIT: add reduced-visibility requirement for reflectors. The same requirement that queeqeg mentioned.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby find_bruce » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:45 pm

I think that both newblah & citywomble are in WA, where regulation 204 of the Road Traffic Code 2000 requires wheel & pedal reflectors at night & reduced visability. As far as I am aware, WA is the only state which requires you to have reflectors on the wheel & pedals. In every other state and territory, they are, as queegqeg says, a requirement for most new bikes (there are exceptions), but the various road rules only require front & rear lights and a rear red reflector.

As for citywomble's other point, anyone interested may care to read Little v Mackellar [2012] NSWCA 331 as an illustration of the sort of things a court considers in such circumstances. Interestingly the expert in the case was of the opinion that, after considering the direction from which the bicycle was approaching the car (at right angles to the road, crossing the car's path from right to left), the area illuminated by the headlights on low beam and the night-time visibility at the scene of the collision, that even if the bicycle had been fitted with reflectors on the wheels they would have been ineffective in reflecting light back to the car. As high_tea says, it is not the mere absence of reflectors that determine the matter, but all of the circumstances. In Mr Little's case that he was riding at night, without lights or wheel reflectors, was crossing the road and failed to see a car driving with its headlights on and rode into the side of the vehicle at the front.

Of course questions of liability and negligence only arise after a collision & I am sure everyone here is all too aware that as a cyclist you are much better off avoiding the collision in the first place.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby newblah » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:52 pm

Thanks all. Since it appears that people only remove them for fashionable reasons I might just keep them for now. The front light annoys me a lot as I've had to put my computer on the stem isntead due to the front reflector using up space. When you spin the wheels by hand while holding the bike you can also feel that the weight of the actual reflector obviously puts the wheels off-balance a bit, not sure if this is an issue though
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby g-boaf » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:13 pm

My first bike came with reflectors but I took them off and used lights instead. My new one - I just told them to not put them on. A fairly high end Giant with wheel reflectors? On carbon clincher wheels with a strange spoke arrangement? :lol: A rear reflector on my giant would be quite difficult to fit, even though it can be done.

Best thing to do is just get the reflectors and take them off later.Note that this is at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any consequences.

Depending on what sort of bike computer you have, there are some good mounts you can get. Like K-Edge for Garmin, etc.
Last edited by g-boaf on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:28 pm

Plastic reflectors on wheels are right up there with left handed screwdrivers in the usefulness stakes.

Ditch 'em, get some of THIS and apply liberally.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby bradman » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:16 am

queequeg wrote:Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

What exactly are these "penalty units"?
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby queequeg » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:46 am

bradman wrote:
queequeg wrote:Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

What exactly are these "penalty units"?


I think that penalty units are defined in the actual act, but typically it is just $ amour per unit, and it saves them having to rewrite the road rules every time they want to increase the $ of the fine.
I just did some checking, and the "penalty units" don't really seem to be applicable anymore.
for certain rules

See: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragview/inforce/subordleg+606+2005+pt.8-sec.170+0+N?tocnav=y

and

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragview/inforce/subordleg+606+2005+sch.3+0+N?tocnav=y
Last edited by queequeg on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Lukeyboy » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:59 am

What about dish wheels? They don't have any spokes to put reflectors on. :P :P
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Nobody » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:47 am

Reflectors don't work in some situations, the most notable is with big trucks. Trucks usually have a large distance between the driver's eyes and the headlights. Since reflectors are made to return the light to the light source within a narrow angle, they are useless for big trucks.

Probably also worthwhile to know that by the time a car driver can see a front or side reflector on your bike, it may be too late to avoid hitting you anyway.

http://sheldonbrown.com/reflectors.html
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Mozzar » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:52 am

From my experience working at a bike shop it is only required at point of sale for the customer to take the reflectors and they don't even need to be attached to the bike. Even if it's the law to have a bell and reflectors on a bike I have yet o be pulled over by the police for not having any.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby find_bruce » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:56 am

queequeg wrote:
bradman wrote:
queequeg wrote:Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

What exactly are these "penalty units"?


I think that penalty units are defined in the actual act, but typically it is just $ amour per unit, and it saves them having to rewrite the road rules every time they want to increase the $ of the fine.
I just did some checking, and the "penalty units" don't really seem to be applicable anymore.
for certain rules

See: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragview/inforce/subordleg+606+2005+pt.8-sec.170+0+N?tocnav=y
and
http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragview/inforce/subordleg+606+2005+sch.3+0+N?tocnav=y

You are close queeg,queg, but not quite right. As you say a penalty unit is a dollar amount that avoids having to change every law if they want to increase fines to keep up with inflation. In NSW a penalty unit is currently $110, so 20 penalty units is $2,200. :shock: Before you get too concerned though, this is the MAXIMUM amount a court can fine you for no light in NSW, in practice if it went to court you are likely to be fined significantly less. The second set of figures are what is known as the "on the spot fine" which for no lights at night is Level 1. So if a police officer decides to give you an infringement notice on the spot the fine is just $66. If you decide to challenge it in court and lose, the Court can still fine you up to $2,200.

While the road rules are almost standard across the country, the penalty for breaching them varies tremendously from state to state. For example in WA there is a different value for penalty units depending on the legislation. For road offences it's $50, but it can be as high as $110. The penalty for no lights at night is 2 penalty units, $100 & the penalty for no reflectors at night is $50. I just noticed a typo in my earlier post - it should be regulation 224 of the Road Traffic Code 2000.

In Victoria the fine for no lights at night used to be $55 (0.5 penalty units), but after lobbying by Bicycle Victoria, it was increased to $146 (1.25 penalty units)

Lukeyboy wrote:What about dish wheels? They don't have any spokes to put reflectors on. :P :P

In the unlikely event that you intended your comment to be taken seriously, you have 4 options
  • Don't ride at night or in reduced visibility
  • have a different set of wheels for riding at night or in reduced visibility
  • buy the reflective tape Mulger Bill linked to. It probably hasn't been tested for compliance with
  • ignore the law & run the risk of a fine or worse being injured because someone didn't see you.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Lukeyboy » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:15 pm

find_bruce wrote:
Lukeyboy wrote:What about dish wheels? They don't have any spokes to put reflectors on. :P :P

In the unlikely event that you intended your comment to be taken seriously, you have 4 options
  • Don't ride at night or in reduced visibility
  • have a different set of wheels for riding at night or in reduced visibility
  • buy the reflective tape Mulger Bill linked to. It probably hasn't been tested for compliance with
  • ignore the law & run the risk of a fine or worse being injured because someone didn't see you.


  • Run good quality front and rear lights (don't be a tight ass and buy the cheapest flimsy lights most people buy from their LBS just so the bike is 'legal' to ride at night).
  • Move to somewhere where common sense has been applied and its legal to run without wheel reflectors :P

Too me the orange wheel reflectors are just useless as by the time one sees them its too late. You have by a far greater chance of being seen by having a set of good quality lights on the front and rear of the bike rather than relying on a bit of plastic that reflects light at the correct angle to the driver just as they are about to hit you. Its like putting airbags on the front of trains. Bugger all. Its still going to hit whatever with 150t of moving momentium. Even the sun isn't bright enough for some drivers that still managed to get into a position to t-bone me.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby g-boaf » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:05 pm

Nobody wrote:Reflectors don't work in some situations, the most notable is with big trucks. Trucks usually have a large distance between the driver's eyes and the headlights. Since reflectors are made to return the light to the light source within a narrow angle, they are useless for big trucks.

Probably also worthwhile to know that by the time a car driver can see a front or side reflector on your bike, it may be too late to avoid hitting you anyway.

http://sheldonbrown.com/reflectors.html


Oh, that's so inconvenient. :lol: The law needs a rewrite to catch up. The need for wheel reflectors should be tossed out - I wouldn't be betting my life on them. I'll have powerful lights that are bright enough that they cannot possibly be missed.

find_bruce wrote:In Victoria the fine for no lights at night used to be $55 (0.5 penalty units), but after lobbying by Bicycle Victoria, it was increased to $146 (1.25 penalty units)


Great - an amazing achievement by them, perhaps we should break out the bunting?

It's not enough. It should be far more - perhaps $1320 or 1 month in prison. That's what this advocacy group should be doing if it is so interested in being a shining beacon of light for the rights of cyclists.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby drnick79 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:35 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Ditch 'em, get some of THIS and apply liberally.


Yep, I run this on my helmet and my Defy.

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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby dajackal » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:10 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Plastic reflectors on wheels are right up there with left handed screwdrivers in the usefulness stakes.

Ditch 'em, get some of THIS and apply liberally.


thinking of getting some of this tape for my backpack as it's a dull black and grey
Q: will it stick to a backpack?

also, where are some other good places to apply the tape? back of the pedals? seatstays? just wondering if there's a guide somewhere i can refer to.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby MattyK » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:46 pm

I disagree that spoke refectors are useless. Moving/rotating/oscillating shiny things like pedal or spoke reflectors definitely stand out.

I have a couple of sets of these on my spokes, they are inconspicuous, can be positioned for perfect balance, and are VERY reflective, from a wide range of angles (unlike orange plastic ones)
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:16 pm

dajackal wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:Plastic reflectors on wheels are right up there with left handed screwdrivers in the usefulness stakes.

Ditch 'em, get some of THIS and apply liberally.


thinking of getting some of this tape for my backpack as it's a dull black and grey
Q: will it stick to a backpack?

also, where are some other good places to apply the tape? back of the pedals? seatstays? just wondering if there's a guide somewhere i can refer to.

MattyK wrote:I disagree that spoke refectors are useless. Moving/rotating/oscillating shiny things like pedal or spoke reflectors definitely stand out.

I have a couple of sets of these on my spokes, they are inconspicuous, can be positioned for perfect balance, and are VERY reflective, from a wide range of angles (unlike orange plastic ones)

Matty, the blue bit is exactly why I think that factory wheel reflectors are useless, you want the smokebox to spot you before you are directly in front (or the tiny +/- 5 degree or whatever viewing angle they're good for).

Jackal, I doubt the self adhesive stuff will work on your pack but if you are handy with needle and thread and want to shoot me your addy I'll post you a couple of feet of 50mm silver (rail industry compliant) reflexite ribbon that I reclaim from worn out hi viz vests. This stuff is LOUD under lights. Add a bit of velcro and you've got an excellent ankle band too. A bit of the adhesive stuff on the seatstays, fork and seat tube and if you want to get creative, a narrow strip around the pedal end of the crankarms will have you shiny from all angles.

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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Duck! » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:29 pm

Lukeyboy wrote:What about dish wheels? They don't have any spokes to put reflectors on. :P :P

Actually they do. "Dish" is entirely the effect of asymmetric hub flanges to accommodate the gears or brake rotor.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Reflectors on newly purchased bike

Postby Nobody » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:56 pm

Duck! wrote:
Lukeyboy wrote:What about dish wheels? They don't have any spokes to put reflectors on. :P :P

Actually they do. "Dish" is entirely the effect of asymmetric hub flanges to accommodate the gears or brake rotor.
He probably meant disc wheels. Although now you'll probably reply with, "But MTB disc brake wheels have spokes too." :)
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