Feeling like you’re visible in traffic helps you to feel safe as a cyclist. While you may already have lights and hi-viz clothing, you may also want to invest in some reflectors for an added safety boost. They can be as simple as adding a white reflector to the front of your bike and a red one to the rear, or you can have lots of fun with them. Nowadays you can buy spoke reflectors that light up your entire wheel as you roll along, as well as reflective stickers that you can put wherever you want.
They’re a really affordable way of adding an extra layer of safety and reassurance to your ride, as well as a great opportunity to express your unique personality and put a personal stamp on your beloved bike.
Here are our suggestions for the best bike reflectors.
The best way to make sure your movements are seen
If you prefer to wear your reflectors rather than attach them to your bike, ankle and wrist straps like these ones from HiVisible are especially useful. Research shows that drivers notice up-down movements, like pedalling, before the overall trajectory of a bike. Having reflectors on your ankles while you pedal is therefore a very smart move.
In addition to this, regardless of the number of lights and reflectors we have on our bikes, if we need to signal to make a turn, there’s always a chance that drivers won’t see our arms in the darkness. Wearing reflective wristbands will help them see your signal, and give them plenty of time to slow and wait for your maneuver.
A super fun and very visible way to stand out
We love these spoke reflectors because they’re incredibly easy to attach to your bike with no tools required, they’re subtle enough that during the daytime you barely know they’re there, but when night time comes along your wheels are lit up like bright disks and are impossible to miss. They give you incredible visibility from a side angle, making it much more likely that a driver pulling out of a side road will see you before they make their maneuver.
While you can also get lights to attach to your spokes that do a similar job, the great thing about these reflectors is that you never have to worry about batteries running out, and they’ll never stop working.
Get nostalgic with these familiar reflectors from childhood
At some point or another, we’ve all had a set of these front and rear reflectors on one of our bikes, most likely during our childhood. There’s something very nostalgic about them. Memories aside, they’re also very well designed to reflect white at the front of your bike and red at the rear, mimicking your lights and making it clear to drivers which direction you’re going in.
Although we seem to see them less and less these days, which is perhaps down to aesthetics more than anything else, it’s good to know that they’re still available to buy and at a very affordable price, too. These MFC Pro reflectors will fit onto a 22-24mm diameter seatpost, which should suit a multitude of bikes, though it’s always worth measuring first, just to be sure.
Add some sideways visibility to your ride
These white spoke reflectors are similarly nostalgic, and reminiscent of our childhood bike builds. They offer excellent sideways visibility and work well paired with the MFC Pro reflectors for all-round visibility. You might opt for these if you find the Jusmar spoke reflectors a bit too much. They’re super easy to install, and require you to just snap them onto your spokes - no tools needed.
Each pack includes two reflectors, so you have one for each wheel, and you can buy them in white or red. We’d personally recommend the white versions as they’re much more visible to drivers at night, and give the impression of you coming closer to them (and therefore being something they should think about) rather than moving away (and them not needing to pay you much notice).
Put them in strategic places to enhance your visibility
Reflective stickers are extremely versatile because you really can put them anywhere you like. Choose strategic places on your bike that will most likely draw attention to you. The rectangular strip stickers would be perfect on the back and front of your pedals, for example. The up-down motion will draw drivers’ attention to your presence
You can also put stickers on your fork and rear seat stays to help light up the front and rear of your bike. Or, you could attach them to a bag, your helmet, or your clothing for some added wearable reflectors.
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Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.
Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall.
Height: 156cm (5'2")
Rides: Liv Devote, Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Whyte Victoria, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike
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