Alert reader Scott observes that in my piece on winter cycling preparedness, I suggest that side-on reflectivity helps comply with Minnesota statute (which I cover in my manifesto on State Statute 169.222, aka bicycle laws of Minnesota).
I get it right in the latter: the rule is front and back reflectivity, not side-on.
However, given that a lot of pedals just don’t have a design to comply with the way the law suggests reflectors should attach, I have encountered several instances where side-on reflectors have helped riders argue compliance. Attaching front-back facing pedal reflectors on a LOOK pedal? Ha ha, good luck with that one. This is probably where my mental toot came from in this article.
Should you rely on side-on visibility to argue statute compliance? Probably not. I’m not a lawyer. However, is side-on visibility awesome? Yes. Side-on visibility can help in a lot of situations. The law puts forth minimums.
Similarly, this is why I say to get the requisite red rear reflector, and then supplement with an amber reflector. The amber reflectors typically have far greater visibility, yet the law still dictates the red, and you can actually have issues if you don’t have the red… even if you have something better.