Consumer Reports: Can You See Me Now? (Top Reflective Running Gear)

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Cars kill more than 5,000 pedestrians, bicyclists, and joggers each year. A vast majority of those accidents happen after the sun sets. Special reflective clothing is supposed to make you easy to spot.

Consumer Reports tested several options: jackets, bike shirts, and an inexpensive safety vest. There was even a button-down shirt made with reflective thread. Some of the clothing stood out from the rest and was easy to see, but some just blended into the night.

Take the Betabrand shirt with reflective thread. On the company’s website, it looks easy to spot. But Consumer Reports found that it’s not visible from 300 feet, the distance it takes for a car to stop if it’s going 60 miles per hour.

It’s really important that the garment you wear can be seen from the front and the back. And the more reflective the pieces, the better. The $180 Gore Phantom Windstopper soft-shell jacket is easy to see coming and going, but it didn’t outshine the Uline safety vest, with its big, bright strips. And it’s inexpensive, about $15 at uline.com.

You can up your safety game with the addition of accessories like a battery-operated wristband or a reflective ankle band. Consumer Reports found that they are all highly visible from 300 feet. And when they move up and down as you’re biking or running, they really stand out.

Consumer Reports also checked out iron-on reflective tape. It costs only about $4, and you can put it on a jacket, a backpack, or anything you or your kids might wear at night.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.