It’s no secret that biking is a high-risk activity. Bumps, bruises, rashes, gashes, broken bones and traction are just some of the battle scars the hardcore downhill biker can expect. One guy I know was an inch from losing his manhood thanks to a rogue handlebar… Sorry for that mental image. Here’s a puppy.
But that’s not to say that biking in general isn’t dangerous. It doesn’t matter if you’re hurtling downhill, hitting some singletrack, or just making your way home from work – town or city, rocks or pavement, everything hurts when you hit it at speed.
Car company Volvo has revolutionised safety in the past – their station wagons jokingly referred to as “tanks” – and they may have done it again. Their new invention is called LifePaint, and it’s already saved lives in London, one of the most populated cities in the Western World. Cyclists are ever more numerous, and with more cars on the road than ever before, a bike courier literally takes his life in their hands every day they show up for work.
Drivers may scoff at cyclists “taking up space for real vehicles”, but the realities of a car bike crash are too horrific to ignore. In Canada, around 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year, and one out of every 3 deaths occur at night or where artificial lighting – streetlights – are used. So simply getting to the bike park or heading home could mess your day up pretty bad.
Which is why this new development from Volvo is so exciting.
If you couldn’t be bothered to check out that video (come on, your time isn’t that valuable), it’s essentially an invisible spray that, when direct light shines on it, becomes highly reflective. The wearers can hardly not be seen. Below, a still from the movie. On the left, normal studio lighting. The right has the studio lights off and a focused beam.
This has the capacity to do a lot of good in the world. And, as mentioned in the YouTube comments, opens some pretty interesting doors for graffiti. But that’s not any of our business.