What is Brightness
There are many technical measurements and calibrations of brightness, but for our initial purposes, we’ll measure brightness on a Reflective Brightness scale from 0 to 500. 0 is pitch-black darkness and 500 is the greatest amount of brightness reflective material can currently generate. These numbers are a scale of how much light comes back to you (the source) when reflecting off of itself. For a frame of reference, at 100+ you begin to realize there’s something ahead; at 200+ you’re recognizing shapes and starting to gauge distance.
A measurement of how much light is reflected back when it hits the glass-beaded surface of reflective material.
THE FOUR LEVELS OF RA ON THE MARKET
– Cosmetic: Less than 30 RA. Reflectivity at less than 10 feet. Cosmetic reflective is as its name suggests, without substances providing no increase in visibility. Sportswear brands doing the right thing will not call this out as reflective on a garment.
– Low Brightness: 30 RA to 100 RA. This is the minimal level of reflective that is effective. Reflective material starting at this level will only provide a slight increase in visibility at 100 ft. or less. And this slight increase in visibility is only achieved when used in large amounts (greater than 50 sq. inches per garment). We believe a level of reflectivity between 30 and 100 RA is worn out and needs upgrading. Many brands call this out as reflective.
– Medium Brightness: 100 RA to 200 RA. Things are beginning to brighten up at the medium RA level. A rating of 100-200 RA will make you visible at moderate distances from 200’ feet. This does not mean that you will be seen or safer. The medium rating means that you have more chance of being seen.
– High Brightness: Greater than 200 RA. Everyone is seeing the light now. If you want to truly increase your visibility you should only use reflective of this brightness. This RA level is effective from distances of 500’. Use high-brightness reflective material applied in the proper biomotion locations and be assured that drivers can see you, process the info and keep everyone safe and seen.