SOLAS Tape

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SOLAS Tape

People that know me know that I am a fan of increased visual conspicuity for motorcycle riders.  I wear a conspicuity vest over my jacket, and a have a brakelight on the back of my helmet.  The motorcycle has MotoLights mounted low on the front forks, a headlight modulator, taillight modulators, and additional running and brake lights.

To further aid in making the bike visible at night, I've started adding some SOLAS tape to strategic areas of the bike and gear (helmets, jackets, etc.)

SOLAS tape is highly retroreflective, waterproof, thin (so it can bend around curves) and very adhesive.  Typical examples of its use is on lifejackets, to make people more visible to rescue teams at night.

Unlike many other retroreflective tapes, SOLAS tape is still very bright when viewed off center axis.  Under diffuse lighting it appears a medium grey, but when a direct light (headlight, flashlight, etc.) is reflected, it appears very bright white. 

The tape can be purchased online, or from a local marine supply store.  The package I got contained twelve 2"x4" strips... cost was about $24.

I used some of the tape to add highlights to my helmet, but the main project was to improve visibility of my Givi v46 top case.

Unlike some of the other Givi models that have large brakelights, the v46 has a row of 4 small brakelights in the center of the case. The the large red lenses that wrap around the case are not lit, and have only simple silver plastic reflectors behind each lens.  So the largest red area appears quite dull at night.

I read that some people were adding SOLAS tape behind the lenses to increase the reflectivity of the lenses, and thought it was worth a try.

Click on the small photos for larger images.

Note: The photos below are illuminated only by the camera's flash, which approximates the effect that a headlight would have on the case.

The first photo shows the case after the left side lens was completed.  The flash is easily reflected by the tape behind the lens.  The right side lens is quite dark in comparison.

Here's the case with SOLAS tape behind each lens.

Finally, I added a couple of inches of tape to the center of the case, just above the latch/handle. This will reflect a small bright white area... just something else for other cars to notice.

I'll make some additional photos with the topcase mounted on the bike, with the brakelights lit... for the full effect.  I'll also add pictures of the tape and its application on helmets and on various areas of the motorcycle and cars. 

Stay tuned!

 

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