Friday, 3 April 2015

Volvo's Life Paint - Part of the Cycling Safety Solution?

What an amazing idea Volvo's Life Paint is.

If you've missed it, here's a lovely explanatory video:

The product is not yet on sale, but has limited availability at a small number of bike shops in the south east of the UK. The Swedish car manufacturer claims that the reflective safety spray can be applied to any fabric, making it glow brightly in car headlights, but is invisible in daylight. It even washes off.

What's not to like? I'd certainly love to get my hands on a can to test it!

But there's been criticism from some cycling safety campaigners, including the CTC and London Cycling Campaign, saying that cyclists should not have have to make themselves visible and that drivers should show more awareness.

Mikael Colville-Anderson from Copenhagenize Design Co has called the spray 'victim blaming' and started a petition against it.

As someone who cycled in central London most days for 5 years and regularly rides on dark country lanes, I have to say - boringly - that it's not either/or.

Cyclists need to wear and use whatever we can to make ourselves visible - we should contribute to our own safety. And I see too many cyclists riding in dark clothing and often with no lights on, who are almost impossible to see.

But drivers must also pay much better attention to cyclists and laws must be enforced.

If a smart idea like Volvo's Life Paint can be part of the solution, that's fine by me.