Can you see me now?

[November 16, 2006]

The question is begged to be asked, "When is it you have too much reflective tape on your motorcycle?"  For me the answer is, "It's never enough!"  I put more and more on and I still think it's not enough.  Am I paranoid?  Perhaps.  At the same time my thoughts, including some of my friend's thoughts (e.g. Minh, Eugene, and Russell), it never hurts to be seen in the darkness of winter.  This is especially true when 5:00pm (STD time) rolls around and it is time to commute home in the dark.  As most of us know, it's the most dangerous for a motorcycle to be hit from the the backside.  Who knows what the results can be:

  1. You might get launched (endo) and do the Superman
  2. You might turn into road kill (roll underneath a car)
  3. You might roll over the hood and roof (the best possibility in all bad situations but end up getting run over by the car behind the car that is trying to run you over)
  4. You can be viewed as a bug stuck in an SUV's grill (where's that water hose?  I have this gigantic bug stuck to my grill.  It looks like it even has a helmet on)

I don't know about you, but none of the above mentioned possibilities really excite me.  In fact, it does the opposite.  Absolutely terrifying.  Remember this mathematical equality:

soccer moms = motorcyclists road kill

What do I do to combat the darkness of winter's night?  SOLAS reflective tape.  What is SOLAS reflective tape?  SOLAS stands for Safety Of Life At Sea.  SOLAS is an international treaty agreed upon by the world community as a safety standard for merchant ships.  This treaty was originally adopted in response to the Titanic disaster in 1914.  The treaty has since been upgraded numerous times to keep up with the marine industry's more modern developments.  As far as I can tell, the latest and last SOLAS convention is SOLAS 1974.  For more information about SOLAS, refer to the IMO website.

History aside, I can't take credit for the idea of putting SOLAS reflective tape on my bike.  The idea came from my friend Minh.  He was the one that discovered it and presented it to me.  I was so impressed with the brilliance of the reflective material that I decided to update all of the reflective tape on Mr. Moto.  The SOLAS tape is approximately 2x to 3x more brilliant than the standard 3M reflective tape.  This is due to the increased amount of metallic material used in the SOLAS reflective tape.

According to my wife, who was driving her car behind me one night, she claimed that she can pick me out from the crowd so long as there is a direct line of sight.  She said she was able to see me approximately 1/4 to 1/2 miles away.  It was possible that I was even a mile away.  That's good.  There is no reason for anybody to say, "I didn't see him."  The proof is on the bike, and in the photos.

The SOLAS reflective tape comes in two forms.  One is the adhesive back and the other is a non-adhesive sew on.  The SOLAS tape is not cheap.  It runs about $1.50 per foot where as the standard reflective tape runs about $.30 per foot.  However, the construction of the SOLAS tape is much better than the standard reflective tape.  It is more sturdy and can stand up to weathering.  It's all worth it I say.

To purchase SOLAS reflective tape check out

Update [ Sunday - August 17, 2008]

I can't believe it, the 150' roll of SOLAS tape I purchased in 2006 is finally running out.  This is after a lot of pattern changes, passing out the tape to my riding buddies, numerous changes of helmets, changing bikes, and so on so forth.  I still have about 20' left of the tape but I know I will always need more SOLAS tape so I purchased another 150' roll.  Unfortunately, has changed their SOLAS tape pricing so it's no longer economical to purchase from them.  However, Land Fall Navigation is selling the SOLAS tape at the same price two years ago.

The question is still asked... can you top this?

Written on: November 16, 2006
Last modified: August 18, 2008