Can shinier bikes keep riders safer on the road?

Joshua Zisson

A new bike design being touted by the author of Bike Safe Boston features brake lights, puncture resistant tires, and a special new coating that makes it more visible to oncoming traffic. Could these be coming soon to a road near you?

Joshua Zisson, author of Bike Safe Boston, says yes, and he joined Halo Coatings about a year ago to help make that a reality.

“This frame is different from anything available on the market today,” he wrote in a blog post recently. “When headlights hit it, the whole bike glows bright white, making it next to impossible for drivers to miss. I’m convinced that this sort of high visibility technology can save lives and make biking safer and more appealing for everyone.”

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It’s also the sort of always-on technology that riders can take advantage of without thinking if it does become standard.

The technology’s pedigree actually hails from highway safety: Zisson said Halo Coatings was founded in 2008 to build better, brighter highway safety strips so even in stormy weather, you know where one lane ends and another begins.

But since then, the Indianapolis-based company’s been exploring other uses for the coating.

“It can be applied to pretty much anything,” Zisson told me, including making more reflective strollers and tennis shoes.

Now, the Suffolk Law School graduate is working to build up a client base for Halo, focusing on selling bike manufacturers on the virtues of the easily-applied substance. Right now, there’s only two bikes who sport it: Zisson’s, which he built to showcase various safety technologies, and a bike in Oregon that originally inspired him to investigate Halo Coatings’ offering.

“At this point it’s pretty much a showpiece,” he said of his own bike, which he details in his blog post. “I rode it to the office today, but I try and keep it pretty pristine.”

And while Zisson is currently the sole Boston representative of Halo, he said the 15-person company, comprised mostly of “chemists and lawyers,” was considering moving its laboratories to Boston to take advantage of the local talent.