Photo of glow-in-the-dark duck tape

Would I be able to use glow-in-the-dark duct tape to help illuminate a bike at night? I already ride with forward and rear lights.

  • 4
    I would strongly suggest that you cut off a square piece, put it on some other surface and leave it outside. At dusk, look to see how much it is glowing. At two hours after sunset, look to see if there is any noticeable glow. Then consider the utility of the glow.
    – user11524
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 21:55
  • 4
    FOLLOW-UP: I'm giving the tape to my kid for future art projects. Now hunting down for some reflective tape.
    – Rick
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 14:13
  • UPDATE: REFLECTIVE tape now lines my rear fender. Thanks to everyone.
    – Rick
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 14:38

4 Answers 4


You don't want glow-in-the-dark tape -- it's only useful if you store your bike in a dark shed and need to find it. The amount of "glow" is such that it's only visible in pitch darkness -- and that's for only a few hours after it has been exposed to bright light.

What you want is called "retroreflective tape" -- it reflects light back in the same direction regardless of the angle of incidence. It essentially turns your whole bike into a bike reflector. You can also buy it in adhesive rolls. Go wild with it, put it on anything and everything on your bike -- especially things that move as the eye is more sensitive to motion. The side of the bike is particularly important since we tend to have front and rear lights, but little on the side except wheel reflectors (which often fall off).

This is some retroreflective tape that I put on the rear fender and seat stays of my commuter (I have more retro tape on the sides and front that aren't visible in this photo). Left is under normal light, right is with my camera flash.

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Photos by me, released to public domain.

  • 1
    +1 for a good answer. I'd also say putting some on the sides, since you have lights in the front and the back, but you don't have side lights.
    – Batman
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 21:05
  • 1
    Oh, believe me, I have it everywhere (edited answer to make this clear). My commuter bike lights up like a christmas tree from whatever direction. However, I found it easiest to just take the photo from the rear.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 21:06
  • I'd recommend using red tape facing rearwards though. (In some places it's a legal requirement that in general reflective material on the rear of a vehicle is red.)
    – armb
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 16:34

I would put reflective tape round the frame and the handle bar, in such positions that it can be seen by oncoming traffic and traffic from the side, (like the middle part of the handle bar and/or the head tube, the down tube and if you have a lot also on the seat tube, and if you can find a spot, also on the back of our bike, if you have fenders that come down enough on them otherwise just under the seat might work. And on all bags you have on the bike, any location.

Glow in the dark tape might have a fun effect, not going to add to your safety but you can use it in the same spots when you want the fun of it.

My bike has reflectors all around and on the tires, and still I would add more if possible.

  • 4
    Bad advice. The OP got glow tape, not reflective tape. However much you put on a bike, it will NOT be seen by oncoming traffic.
    – Calimo
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 13:45
  • Reflective tape would be more effective, indeed. I had assumed he used the wrong name for the right tape.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 12:58
  • He included a photo of his tape, which is the wrong type of tape (i.e. glow in the dark tape).
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:49
  • @RoboKaren I have changed the answer to reflect the kind of tape mention and what should have been used.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 17:24

I'd recommend putting it partly around each wheel - so as it rotates it creates a flashing movement. Elsewhere, bars and front &rear triangles maybe?

  • Agreed - these reflectors are brilliant, and work as you describe. dx.com/p/…
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 19:32

Reflective tape works well on the sides of your bike where you might not have lights. On the side of the forks helps people to see you coming out of an intersection. I've also seen it wrapped around two spokes. the movement helps catch peoples attention.

  • 5
    But this isn't reflective tape: it's glowing tape. Commented May 17, 2015 at 11:14

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