My road bike isn't fitted with a rear reflector as I got it second hand and I think they removed it. If I purchased some red reflective tape and fitted it around the seatpost/seatstay, would this make my bike compliant with the law in the UK?

The law says I need a red reflector facing backwards, so I'm unsure if good quality reflective tape (such as this) would comply with the law due to it not purely facing backwards, and the fact that it is not a solid reflector?

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    I'm unable to add new tags, but a 'reflector/reflective' tag or similar would apply to this and I'm sure to some other questions too?
    – Noah P
    Feb 19, 2020 at 19:03
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    Legal reflectors have required proof stamps/markings which obviously the tape does not carry.
    – Carel
    Feb 19, 2020 at 20:29
  • @Carel excellent point - the law says "(reflector must be) marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent)"
    – Criggie
    Feb 19, 2020 at 23:51
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    I've just looked at your profile - I did an MPhys at UMIST when it still existed! reflectors should be easy enough to pick up for pennies if there's a bike cooperative near you, but I can't easily find one in Manchester. Note that many rear lights also act as reflectors, less so the more modern designs.
    – Chris H
    Feb 20, 2020 at 13:45
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    good quality reflective tape ... would comply with the law That's a question for a lawyer to answer. And even if it does, if you get whacked by a car at night do you really want your lawyer to have to make the, "No, he didn't have a reflector, but per this and that and that over there means the reflective tape he used is legally equivalent." in response to "Was he complying with the law" when it's just as easy to mount an actual reflector and then have your lawyer answer "Yes!". Feb 20, 2020 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Depends completely on the wording of the regulations in the UK, which are the "Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations" or RVLR.

The relevant points of RVLR are:

  • Lights and reflectors are required on a pedal cycle only between sunset and sunrise.
  • Lights and reflectors are not required when the cycle is stationary or being pushed along the roadside.
  • When they are required, the lights and reflectors listed below must be clean and working properly.
  • Reflectors have to be fixed to the rear of your bike and to the front and rear of each pedal.
  • The Pedal Cycles Safety Regulations (PCSR) ensure that every new bicycle is sold with several extra reflectors, some of which are not required by RVLR like spoke reflectors (though these are still a good idea)

Rear Reflector One rear reflector is required, coloured red, marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), positioned centrally or offside (on the right-hand side of the bike), between 250mm and 900mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind. source https://www.cyclinguk.org/lighting-regulations

Full law is at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/3220/contents/made

Note that the laws are not retroactive, so if your bike predates 1985 then you are not required to update it. However this is silly and you should be visible at all times.

For me in NZ, there is a requirement stating:

You must have a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 metres when light shines on it (eg a car’s headlights). source: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resources/factsheets/01/docs/01-cycles.pdf

No part of that indicates what the reflector should be made of, merely that it points backward and has a certain performance.

Yes that tape would fit the legal performance requirements as described.

But it misses out on the labelling requirement, unless your tape says it conforms to BS6102/2 (or equivalent) To be honest anything's better than nothing!

Note you are required to have pedal reflectors too. Since clipless pedals tend to not have reflectors, check your cleated shoes which should have some of that tape on their heels too.

  • I'd put that tape up the rear-face of both seat stays, and a goodly sized patch on the rear of the seatpost. If you have a carrier, or full mudguards then there may be additional surfaces which can take some tape. Red is for rear, White reflectors should face the front, and amber/yellow/orange reflectors can be any direction.
    – Criggie
    Feb 19, 2020 at 23:50
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    not all clipless shoes have reflective parts (a downside of my new ones) - but some (e.g. my) pedals have enough flat surface for a couple of bits of the tape, which works quite well (as does the long stripe down my mudguard)
    – Chris H
    Feb 20, 2020 at 13:41
  • I don't have any reflectors on my ride, and it came from a rather large reputable company in the UK. I do have front and rear lights which I do run on a flash mode during the day.
    – Dan K
    Feb 23, 2020 at 12:53
  • @DanK yeah - reflectors aren't "cool" and are not mandated during daylight hours in the UK. So its legal for them to sell it without.
    – Criggie
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:28

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