Volvo has relaunched its glow-in-the-dark Life Paint in the UK, designed to improve the safety of people cycling in the dark – and for the first time, it will be sold online.
Introduced on a trial basis in April 2015, free samples were quickly snapped up, and the product – developed by Swedish start-up, Albedo100 – went on sale through Volvo Car UK dealerships later that year.
But the product was criticised by cycling campaigners, including Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of the urban design firm Copenhagenize Design Co., who said: "Everything about the Life Paint campaign is classic smokescreening from the automobile industry.
"Life Paint is simply a way to shift the focus from a failed product that is under fire and place it on the vulnerable traffic users. Pure victim blaming."
Life Paint is a reflective safety spray. It is invisible by daylight, yet is astonishingly light-reflective in the dark. Designed to react to a vehicle's headlights, the spray reflects light in the same direction as the light source – shining brightly and alerting drivers to your presence.
Life Paint washes off, and will not affect the colour or surface of your chosen material. It will last for approximately one week after application, depending on what surface you spray it onto and how much you apply.
But some road.cc readers who tried it last year were less than impressed with the results, saying that application to bikes, equipment and clothing was patchy, and that the reflective coating didn’t last as long as was claimed.
When it was first put on sale last year, Life Paint cost £10 a can. That’s now gone up to £13 – mainly due to the fall in the value of the pound since the European Union referendum, we’d guess – and if ordering online (maximum 10 cans), there’s a flat £7 shipping charge.
The relaunch is accompanied by an outdoor advertising campaign, which according to Volvo Car UK “includes 183 digital six-sheet sites on some of the most dangerous roads in and around London.”
The company’s managing director, Jon Wakefield, said: "LifePaint is another example of Volvo's human-centric approach to safety.
He added: “Not only are we a world leader in safety technology for our cars, by offering this innovative spray online, we're helping to protect more people on our roads than ever – whether they drive a Volvo or not."
In its press release announcing the relaunch, Volvo also mentions the City Safety pedestrian and cyclist detection technology deployed across its 90 series of vehicles.
Models in which the technology features include the XC90 SUV, currently being used in a driverless vehicle trial by Uber in San Francisco that has made the headlines in recent days after one was filmed running a red light through a pedestrian crossing.
A member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition who rode in one of the vehicles involved in the trial said he twice witnessed it turn across the path of riders using a cycle lane.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.