Indian bicycle makers never
got it right with their reflectors. This has been proved by the International
Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), which is Government of India
owned Automotive Testing and R & D
centre. ICAT has found the traditional retro-reflectors currently being
used by the domestic bicycle
manufacturers to be of inferior quality and not confirming to the basic
photometric requirements as per ISO 6742-2 standards set for the retro
The Union Ministry of Road
Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has been stressing on the need of fixing retro-
reflective tapes instead of traditional retro-reflectors, which is more visible
as well as use of fluorescent paint, a move that would help bicycle riders to
pedal around safer at late hours in the country. Union Minister of Road
Transport Nitin Gadkari has already written to Ram Vilas Paswan , Union
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to update and
mandate the safety standards for bicycles with need to provide fixing of retro
reflective tapes at specified locations on the bicycles to make them visible at
Gurgaon based ICAT which had
done the testing for both retro reflectors as well as retro reflective tapes
found the performance of the RR tapes as far superior as compared to the
conventional bicycle retro reflectors as far as retro reflection values are
concerned. Higher amount of retro reflection values essentially correspond to
better presence (easily seen) on the roads.
During tests ICAT found that
the retro-reflectors used on bicycles
picked from the market do not conform to the basic photometric
requirements as per ISO 6742-2. Moreover, the Centre found that the average
cost of a good quality retro-reflector is about Rs. 10 per sq. inch and
typically 35-40 sq. inches of retro reflectors are used on a bicycle (including
front, rear and side). On the other hand, the cost of a good quality RR tape is
about Rs. 1.0 per sq. inch.
are one of the most vulnerable road users , susceptible to high rate of
road accidents. In the year 2012 alone about 6,600 cyclists were killed in road
accidents. Poor visibility of bicycle riders due to lack of proper reflective
devices installed on bicycles, is major reason for the high rate of accidents
with motorized vehicles,” Gadkari has pointed out in his letter.
“Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has
been working closely with Department of Consumer affairs and Bureau of Indian
standards to improve safety of bicycles
and ensuring its compliance in the
manufacturing of bicycles and getting it mandated through quality control
order. The ministry has also provided
the quality standard for retro-reflective tapes for use in automobiles,
“The campaign to fix
reflective tapes on bicycles free of cost for easy spotting of cyclists by
drivers of other vehicles at night is
the joint initiative of the International Road Federation (IRF) , and Ministry
of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India is already on in
Delhi and likely to be taken to other major cities including Chandigarh ad
Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Koch,” said K.K. Kapila, Chairman,
International Road Federation (IRF) , a global body working for better roads.
“Installation of retro-reflective tapes on
bicycles will help make bicycles a safer mode of transportation on various busy
roads, particularly during late hours. In Delhi, IRF, Delhi Traffic Police and MoRTH had recently carried out of putting
retro reflective tapes on about ten lakh bicycles,” he added.
“Cyclists are the second most vulnerable road
users after pedestrians. Cycles with retro-reflective tapes can be spotted from
a distance of at least 100 meters at night and during foggy conditions.
According to data available for 2012, around 114 cyclists died in road mishaps
in the city. At the national level, the number of cyclists killed in accidents
stood at 6,600. Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu accounted for the maximum deaths,
claiming over 50pc of fatalities across the country,” said Kapila.
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