Reflectors-Yes or No?

Personally I remove all of the reflectors on any of my bikes and use lights and blinkies at night. But someone once told me that its illegal for you to not have reflectors on your bike when riding at night.


With that in mind I decided to see what THE MAN had to say about reflectors and the law…

These excerpts pertain to bicycles and the applicable sections from the California Vehicle Code 21201. Equipment Requirements
(d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped
(1) with a lamp emitting a white light which, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle;
(2) with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle;
(3) with a white or yellow reflector on each pedal visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet; and
(4) with a white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and with a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle…

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0 thoughts on “Reflectors-Yes or No?”

  1. Charinko says:

    I don’t know what the man saids here in WDC. But as my returen trip is alway after midnight, anything make me “visible” is good idea. I think reflectors and refloctive tape are actually very effective, sometimes better than poor performing/aimed flasher. And left turning car can spot your wheel reflector better. I have added some on my bag, helmet and frame.
    One thing people often forget is that not only motorist but other bikers need to see you too. I don’t remember how many times I had near miss with other bikers because they didn’t have a good flasher, HL nor reflectors… and needless to say they don’t stop at STOP sign.

  2. Treadly&Me says:

    I can’t imagine why you’d want to take the reflectors off in the first place!

    Absolutely, positively, yes – I’ll have reflectors and I’m thinking of adding reflective tape wherever I can make it stick. Anything that makes me more visible is a good thing.

    And here’s something to consider: for that fleeting instant when a car headlight catches your rear reflector it’s probably more bright than your rear light anyway. And the nature of prismatic reflectors ensures that the reflected beam of light goes straight back to the source, which is near enough to the driver’s eyes. Which is especially helpful when it comes to visibility but not enough on its own – you still need those lights as well.

    In my part of the world lights and reflectors are both required by law. And common sense says it’s a good idea to keep your reflectors. So put ’em back on I say!

  3. Derek says:

    Interesting.. I admit that I always yank mine too. When riding at night though I usually have a niterider on..

  4. Randy says:

    They do look funny. But for us who ride in a military post, we have to have them. We even have to wear a reflector belt day or night.

  5. RL Policar says:

    Relax Tread…to each his own…

  6. Moe says:

    I believe that reflectors and blinkies must be installed on Commuter bikes, after all, they are Commuter Bikes. I rarely ride during the night, but when I had to ride at night I had 3 rear blinkies, a headlight and a blinkie in the front. I don’t care if I looked like a Christmas Tree, all I care was that I was visible to other drivers and riders.

  7. Travis says:

    That belt is the stupidest thing ever, just like the vests for motorcyclists. I usually just wrap the reflector belt arround my camelback, and call it a day.


    oh yes LEAVE is a good thing.. I am on 45 days of it.

  8. david says:

    i only remove the reflectors on the rims. i once had one come lose and wiggle it’s way down the spokes until it was caught and busted off during a ride….which bent one of the spokes.

  9. Brimstone says:

    Is this a serious question? If you take the reflectors off your bike cause you think they look funny you should seriously re-evaluate your judgement. It may not be sufficient to operate mechanized transportation devices. Think you won’t look stupid laying on the gverney with all those tubes sticking out of you? Think the driver’s lawyer won’t make you look stupid as the defendant in a lawsuit? Possibly it is good to remove spoke reflectors because they can be a hazard- but they should be replaced with reflective rim sidewall stickers.
    And those reflective belts save lives, hero. In case you havn’t noticed soldiers wear uniforms which make them intentionally difficult to see. It’s called “camoflage”. Back in the day soldiers would get up really early in the morning and do something called “PT”. Joe the ragbag would wake up late and come speeding onto post, sometimes plowing into groups of the squared away guys. After this happended over and over some really smart guy came up with the reflective belt.

  10. rain patton says:

    I was walking my bike the other day, and all of a sudden my bike came to a dead stop. I didnt know what to think. of course leaving in NYC as a woman I fist thought some guy grabbed my bike seat to stop it inorder to have a “chat” with me, but when i looked at my bike i saw that one of the reflectors had fallon off the front wheels, and was caught in the spokes.
    sometimes when im only going a short distance, ill either not wear my helment or just walk my bike the distance,
    I am terrified to realize that going a slow distance i would have flipped off my bike, and landed in oncoming traffic or landed on my head,
    I know take the reflectors off not for looks but for saftey

  11. The Kid says:

    I would like to know how many other people have had their reflectors fall of and get caught in the spokes, causing the bike to come to a dead stop. This happened to my son. He was on the bike and was thrown over the handle bars before he even could think about what was happening. He broke his collarbone and has incurred medical bills and a loss of income. Just curious!

  12. JC says:

    Another thing with spoke mounted reflectors is that they fall off on the road or trail and become trash. It’s better to preemptively leave no trace.

  13. John Henrick says:

    Regardless of California’s reflector requirement, federal law requires them, front, back and on the wheels. California can add to the law but they can’t take away from it. So if anyone removes their reflectors, they are in violation of federal law.

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