Remember the glow-in-the-dark reindeer we wrote about last year? The same group that came up with an animal-safe spray paint to prevent herds of Santa’s helpers from getting hit by cars has struck again–but this time they’re keeping people safe instead of wildlife.
Reflective paint company Albedo 100 teamed up with Volvo to create LifePaint, a spray paint that can be applied to clothing, backpacks, and bikes. It is completely invisible during the day, but at night, when headlights hit it, the paint glows like a beacon. It can wash out of clothes, but the downside is that it only lasts a few weeks.
The fact that it can be washed off has attracted criticism from people who say the temporary paint is less a safety measure than a publicity stunt. The product was developed to promote Volvo’s ‘Vision 2020’ resolution that no new Volvos would be responsible for the death or injury of a person by the year 2020.
It might not be better than a permanent light-up bike, but if you accidentally left your reflective gear at home, being able to paint your clothes with reflective spray does seem like a helpful (though temporary) safety solution. For more permanent solutions, there are startups that offer similar services. One company, Hub Powderworks in Massachusetts will paint your bike with a permanent highway-grade reflective paint for between $329 and $419. And of course there are DIY options out there too.
So far, 2000 cans of LifePaint are being given away at bike shops in London. If it is a success there, Volvo plans to expand the program.