Retro reflectivity

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Be seen at night, how retro reflective strips on your clothes and bikes keep you safe.
Discover what the braking distance is of cars and work out if a driver can see you in time


Various items of clothes: black top, white top, florescent top, retroreflective top to fit over coats or jumpers


At night find a lit path away from traffic.
Explain there are safe stopping distance for cars travelling a different speeds. This is a combination of thinking and braking distance.
For 30mph its 23 m or six car lengths, 40mph its 36m or 9 cars and at 50 its 53m and 13 cars.
in this simple experiment one scout tries on each top whilst standing at one of the stopping distances away from the rest of the patrol.
The remaining patrol imagines being in a car. Other road users are only seen in a moment of time as the car passes through the streets. To simply imitate the car a torch beam passes over the scout wearing the top for perhaps a second. What did the scouts notice, what will the next item of clothing reveal?
Try also with bike reflectors and bike lights, how much difference do they make?
What is retroreflectivity? its a materials ability to reflect back to the light source, unlike a mirror . This will only reflect and possibly away. Clear beads are bedded in a reflective material allowing the light to travel back almost directly to the source.


  • be seen
  • retroflectivity
  • road safety

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