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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay well the reflector's attached to my road bike's wheel spokes looks so ugly.

I plan on removing them, BUT is it legal, NOT to have wheel reflectors?

Basically, I am only, and ONLY riding during the DAY.

So can I remove the wheel reflectors!? Its so ugly.




Hopefully its legal & btw, I live in Daly City, California. Which is basically next to San Francisco and South San Francisco.
 

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Could be illegal, look up your State's vehicle code. Currently I'm riding without reflectors on my wheels, but I do have reflective ankle straps. I'm also looking for reflective tape to put on the wheel spokes. Hopefully that will keep me from getting tazed.
 

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papa sboak
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I have no reflectors on my bike.

But then, at night I ride with an HID in front and 2 very bright blinkies in back.

I think reflectors suck. But getting hit by a car at night sux even more.

Spend a bit of dough on a white in front and red in back if you do any night riding at all.

If you never ride at night, then feel free to pluck them off your ride. They don't make a difference during the day.

I've NEVER heard of a cop caring about whether you have reflectors or not.

Then again, after seeing a biker lying on the sidewalk bleeding from the head after being hit by a black Passat pulling out of a driveway (the biker was riding on the sidewalk opposite auto traffic without a helmet or lights at sometime around 9 or 10pm)
 

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So. Calif.
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A typical wheel reflector can add so much weight to a road bike wheel, that it seriously unbalances the wheel.

Lift the front of bike with one hand, give the wheel a fast spin, and see how much the wheel bounces.
 

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California Vehicle Code (VC) Excerpt

Equipment Requirements. VC 21201

d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped with the following:

A lamp emitting a white light which illuminates the highway and is visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and the sides of the bicycle.

A red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle and visible from 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.

A white or yellow reflector mounted on each pedal visible 200 feet to the front and rear of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except bicycles which are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with side reflectors. All reflectorized tires must meet DMV requirements.

e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in place of a lamp attached to the bike.

My comment: The problem with VC 21201 (and similar codes all over the USA) is that it makes it legal for anyone to ride in darkness with completely inadequate, outdated and dangerous equipment. Regardless of whether or not you're going to ditch your reflectors, get a decent, high-power front and rear light if you're going to ride in the dark.
 

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Steaming piles of opinion
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Day riding only, no worries. Evening riding - those stinkin' wheel reflectors are as worthless as they are dorky. But get a set of Conti's with the reflective sidewall strip, and you are SUPER visible and obvious as a bike, provided you are in the headlight beams. The downside of this is that if you are in the beams to be seen, you are either too far ahead to matter, or too close for it to matter. Just the nature of side-on interactions.

Regarding legality: You are probably breaking some law, but it will absolutely not be enforced. I've ridden several tours in CA, organized by large-scale, reputable tour companies whose names you'd recognize. None of the bikes had any reflectors at all, and you can bet that if a corporation like Trek Travel or BBT isn't worried about the civil liability potential, you needn't worry about it.
 

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There's probably also a law in Daly City requiring bikes to get a license from the city.

No one follows that one either. Take off the reflectors and ride. Get some good lights if you are going to be riding in the dark.
 

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waterproof*
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On all of my wheels, including the light racing wheels, I bought some 3M silver-white reflective tap. It appears gray in normal light but amazingly bright white when reflecting at night. I cut into pieces sized to fit between the spokes and cover the rim (it's a semi-aero rim) so it's visible from the sides.

On my commuter bike, I took some and ran it betwen the spokes as a very liehgtweight replacement for the factory reflector.

Then I had my wife follow me around the neighborhood at night; she says it's _very_ bright and eye-catching, even from the front or rear.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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Most, if not all, state regulations will specify night time, dark, dusk, or other similar stippulations for reflectors and lights.
 

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I don't know if the laws hae been changed recatly, but i Ohio, it's ileagal for a LBS to sell a bike w/o reflectors, and verious other safty devices. However, what the customer does once the bike is out the door is purely to their discression. We are not requierd to run them during daylingt hours.
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Lights lights lights lights lights day or night, rain or shine. That is how I’ve managed to stay alive, I believe. The more, the merrier, if they blink, that’s even better. I’m currently working on an even brighter main front light, and figuring out a decent multi-battery pack setup to power front and rear lights (most are Luxeon III, V, and K2 LEDs, which draw a bit of current) along with a couple buckpuck controllers for current regulation (so as to not burn out the pricey LED modules). The end result ought to be more visible than a motorcycle. The reason for all this is HIGH VISIBILITY so as to be seen by motorists, although I’ve received some hasty replies on these forums from young punk-ass kids who think they’re immortal beings regarding my attempts at being an attention whøre with the “brighter-than-necessary” lights. I do ride when it’s dark outside, afterall.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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Thanks for the link!

That stealth tape is totally awesome, going on my stealth all black commuter. Ahahahha...
 

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waterproof*
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oh yeah I should've noted: when I _know_ I'm going to be riding in the dark, I have a white LED blinky for the h'bars, and a white LED on my helmet.

When I nearly got killed earlier this year, it was a doofus from a side street blowing a stop sign... it's the side impacts that'll getcha.
 

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Reflectors, I've ditched every reflector on every bike since I was riding a two wheeler...
I have a red blinker for the back, and a white Light & Motion Vega for the front.

MOST cops don't even know the laws as it pertains to traffic laws & bikes...
I'd be amazed if a cop would even know what the law is regarding lighting and bikes.
Of course, now that I say that, I'll probably end up getting my bike confiscated later this week for NOT having reflectors.
 
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What about lawsuits?

If you get clobbered and sue, the insurance companies may come looking to see if you met the letter of the law regarding lights and reflectors.

That's why I put a red reflector on rear and white on the front of my winter commuter.

I'm getting reflecto tires to handle the side view.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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I'd just use high power LEDs front and back. Normal reflectors aren't that effective to begin with---the light source and the observer have to be in just the right spot to get much out of them. Bright high-viz clothing, and powerful LEDs are better any day of the week over reflectors. IMHO.
 

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Wheel reflectors are somewhat visible from the front or rear at times. Nobody rides in a pefectly straight line. Look at overhead shots from the TDF, etc. It's the nature of the two wheeled beast. Your front wheel is always swerving/correcting a little bit. I've kept mine on a bike that I primarily ride at night. Can't hurt - that weight/wheel balance issue is complete nonsense.
 
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