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A bike tire that lights up at night

Posting in Design

"I'm cyclin' here!" That could be a modern day Ratso Rizzo on those two wheels. The LIT tire should make midnight riding cowboys out of otherwise intimidated cyclists.

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When I first heard about this, I had one of those hand to head why didn't I think of that moments.

Apparently I wasn't the only one.

A Portland, Ore. company has designed a bicycle tire that lights up at night, greatly increasing the chances that motorists will see cyclists and avoid crumpling them.

The technology of the LIT tire from Bike Soles is simple.

"LIT tires are designed with a wide (9mm) reflective sidewall that allows cars approaching your bike from in front or behind to see you at night. The improved visibility is dramatic," Bike Soles says on the Crowd Supply "crowdfunding" website, where the company is raising money.

Bike Soles will sell the tire for around $35, which it says is less than comparable tires that don't have the reflective layer.

"We met with some of the largest bicycle tire manufacturers in the world to find the right partner to produce the LIT tire. When we showed each of them our idea, there was always a moment when their facial expressions said 'Why didn't we think of that?' Bike Soles notes.

It selected a European manufacturer that it declines to identify. Bike Soles is raising money in part to fund the large production run that the manufacturer required.

I'm just wondering: Why stop with the sidewall? Why not make the outer layer reflective? Okay, so where rubber meets road it wears down and would thus erode reflectivity. That's not a problem with sidewalls. Seems to me it shouldn't be a problem for the outer layer either - surely some smart chemist or material scientist could crack that one.

Or have they? If not, someone please get on your bike and solve that one!

See the LIT tire in action in the video on Bike Soles' Crowd Supply site. (Apologies that I'm unable to embed it here - MH).

Photo from Bike Soles via Crowd Supply.

Other bright ideas for the road, on SmartPlanet:

And here's what some more crowds are up to:

— By on March 20, 2013, 1:29 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure