This Bicycle Glows Like a Stop Sign When a Car's Headlights Find It

But maximum visibility doesn't come cheap.

(Photo: Mission Bicycles/Kickstarter)

Mar 21, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristine Wong is a regular contributor to TakePart and a multimedia journalist who reports on energy, the environment, sustainable business, and food.

Glaring neon vests and bright blinking lights are the gear of choice for most nighttime bicyclists. But for those seeking maximum visibility—and who have change to spare—a new option could be coming soon.

San Francisco’s Mission Bicycle Company is building a line of bicycles that promises to be visible from 1,000 feet away. The key ingredient to such long-distance discernibility is a high-tech coating developed by Ohio-based Halo Coatings.

Iridescent in daylight, the coating glows white under the glare of nighttime headlights. The technology had previously only been available on flat surfaces such as road markers and street signs.

To meet manufacturing minimums for the line, aptly named The Lumen, Mission is trying to raise $15,000 in the next month on Kickstarter. With three-quarters of its goal met after just a few days, it will most likely be gifted with more than it needs to bring The Lumen to the streets this summer.

The company’s plan is to deliver all the bikes from the initial order by August.

But with their steep price tag, the hand-built bicycles won’t be accessible to just anyone. A frame alone will cost $499, while a complete fixed-gear bike will set a rider back $1,250. Geared models will run between $1,600 and $2,500.

Other visibility solutions available to cyclists—such as the Blaze LaserLight, Pure Fix Cycles’ glow-in-the-dark bike frame, and Helios' smart handlebars equipped with front- and rear-facing lights—are, at several hundred dollars each, still pricey yet a little easier on the wallet than The Lumen.

So unless the price points fall, expect to see most riders continue to be outfitted the old-fashioned (and usually quite effective) way: with blinking lights on their helmet, under their seat, and on their handlebars.