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Luminescent bike tyres

That light up as you ride
 
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There seems to be a growing trend among cyclist in our increasingly better lit cities to ignore dangers to others and especially themselves by not using lights on their bikes after nightfall. This has led to somber consequences and a worrying trend of bike accidents. Some kind of luminsecent agent could be employed that produces a bright light from the friction of the tyre and the road. This would be mixed into the tyre compound by default at all manufacturers. If there is such a compound it would have to be quite bright to be effective and to avoid a false sense of security.
Bolly, Nov 19 2009

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       I just wish cops would start enforcing the light requirements. Most if not all states in the US require lights after dark, it's never enforced, just used as a defense in case of accident. I believe there are similar requirements in the UK. (Note that I am a properly lit cyclist)   

       On the actual idea, getting adoption among riders would prove difficult, as would finding a bright enough compound. Not bad otherwise, as long as it didn't effect tire durability.
MechE, Nov 19 2009
  

       I quite like "somber"! appeals to my neolithic "lets make a barrow" genes
po, Nov 19 2009
  

       I don't think you would get nearly enough light to be useful, from any reasonable technology.   

       Far better are the retro-reflective materials, which are already used on the sidewalls of some bike tyres.   

       Anything on the tread itself will not last long, but side- reflective tyres are extremely effective (even more so than most bike lights). The only risk then is a collision between two equally un-lit cyclists, in which case it serves the buggers right.   

       One of pleasures in life is winding down the window and shouting insults at unilluminated cyclists as I pass.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 19 2009
  

       //One of pleasures in life is winding down the window and shouting insults at unilluminated cyclists as I pass.// of course. "stop at the red light - you twat!"
po, Nov 19 2009
  

       // I have motion-activated green LED bulbs screwed onto the valve stems of my bike //   

       <Updates weapons targeting database>
8th of 7, Nov 19 2009
  

       No, I'm sorry, but anything that interferes with natural selection of cyclists has to be boned. And what [po] said.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Nov 19 2009
  

       I feel the need to point out that under most circumstances, the only friction that occurs between tire surface and road surface is static friction, which cannot be converted into energy.   

       Kinetic friction could potentially be converted to energy, but it only occurs when the tires skid/slide against the road.   

       On the other hand, the flexing of the tire as it approaches, touches, and departs from the road surface could probably be used as an energy source... but I'm not sure precisely how.
goldbb, Nov 19 2009
  

       Who r you, and what have you done with the real [goldbb] ? That was almost rational ..   

       // anything that interferes with natural selection of cyclists has to be boned //   

       Agreed.
8th of 7, Nov 19 2009
  

       A mixture of quartz and spearmint Lifesavers ground up and sprinkled into the tyre rubber during manufacture should do it.
BunsenHoneydew, Nov 19 2009
  

       [goldbb] I'm quite sure it is dynamic friction, hence the warming of the tyre and tyre wear. Not skidding but tiny slips as the tread conforms to the hard suface and back again.   

       [21 Quest] The people I was taking about are NOT using any of the "existing proven methods"...
Bolly, Nov 20 2009
  

       This got my bun from the title alone, it would look very cool indeed. The idea itself rather detracts from the title, being a bit vague and reliant on some form of magical substance - it didn't really need a subtitle or body.
wagster, Nov 20 2009
  

       [Bigsleep] I don't know about you, but my tail-light is a constant 5 LED bright blinker, not once every 5 seconds. I've never seen a decent bike light that was anything less. Which makes them at least as bright as a car (or motorcycle) tail-light. It's also mounted high enough to be very visible. I probably should add a second for redundancy, and will shortly, but this one alone is more than enough to be visible from the rear. A minimal additional glow from the wheels isn't going add much to that. A strip of reflective tape along the seat stays, rear fender, and/or rear rack is probably a much more effective additional back and side light than a piezoluminescent material in the tire. That being said, yes, anything that contributes to visibility without being an excessive burden is a good thing (I would very much worry about the durability of a tire with crystalline grit embedded in it though, hence my earlier comment)
MechE, Nov 20 2009
  

       Pulse rate of about 3-5 hertz, normally on. Visible in excess of 500 feet, probably considerably in excess, I just haven't checked it beyond that.   

       And blinking tail lights also indicate a slow moving vehicle, which is entirely appropriate.   

       My 5 watt, always on LED headlight is brighter, on a per vehicle frontal area basis than most standard car headlights (not HID, admittedly). It's focused tighter but is fully visible from at least 45 degrees off axis. Visibility even more in excess of 500 feet, just not sure how far because, again, that's as far as I've checked it. I do not have separate side lighting at the moment, which I may remedy, but it is less of a concern because my chances of a t-bone encounter are reduced by proper care at intersections. (Meaning I stop at stop-signs and red lights, and slow at green lights and through intersections to check for turning and crossing traffic)   

       The point is I, and quite a few other serious cyclists, are well aware of exactly how vulnerable we are, and take care to be visible under whatever conditions we are riding. That being said, we have just as much right to be there and have other road users treat us respectfully as does anyone else. (And probably more than people who are drinking coffee while talking on the phone and programming their GPS while piloting a lethal weapon)   

       My problem with this idea is that if my tires are more likely to slip or blow out, I consider that a lot more of a safety issue than the 1-2 lumens they might provide.
MechE, Nov 20 2009
  

       //mandate the use of a giant reflective Dr Seuss hat// [+]   

       I have often thought there needs to be more of a market for cool creative retro-reflective garments. I'm sure it was somewhere on here I read about pinstripe business suits where the pale stripes were retroreflective?   

       [MechE], doubling up is worth it, just in case one runs down oe breaks.
pocmloc, Nov 20 2009
  
      
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