To top
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Volvo’s newest project doesn’t have anything to do with cars. Well, kind of. Volvo has teamed up with Swedish start-up Albedo100 to create LifePaint, a spray-on reflective paint targeted towards bicyclists. It uses special adhesives that are invisible during the day but light up at night by reflecting the glare of car headlights.

“Volvo has always taken safety seriously,” Grey London says in the product statement. “They invented the three-point seat belt in 1959 and then opened up the patent so that any car manufacturer could use it. Now they’re giving away a product to take Volvo safety beyond its cars.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.58.12 AM

LifePaint is a part of Volvo’s new ambitious vision: “By 2020, no person will be killed, or seriously injured, by a new Volvo.”

But some are suspicious of Volvo’s intentions. Some cycle campaigners have sparked debate and an online petition in response to LifePaint.

Mikael Colville-Anderson, CEO of Copenhagenize Design Co., who started the petition says cars should be the ones sprayed with LifePaint, not just bikes.

Colville-Anderson calls Volvo’s LifePaint the “classic smokescreen campaign.”

“Volvo produces products that kill,” Colville-Anderson says. “They share the responsibility for 1.2 million traffic deaths–and millions more injuries–each year globally.”

Manager of Landry’s Bikes in Boston, Mark Vautour, says he thinks LifePaint sounds like “a cool idea” but it’s important to remember it isn’t going to solve the whole problem.


“Visibility isn’t the only issue,” Vautour says. “Part of the deal is that drivers aren’t conditioned to look over their shoulder for bicyclists.”

Mark’s been commuting through Boston for the past seven years, both as a driver and as a bicyclist. He says the difference between the two is stark.

“Being in a car is really insular. It’s basically sitting in a two-ton box,” Valour says. “When you’re on a bike, you’re watching for other bicyclists, potholes, cars turning right, parked cars opening doors, the list goes on and on.”

For Vautour, the key to safety is to teach drivers and bicyclists alike how to be aware of each other. And part of that solution lies in simply getting more bikes on the road.


“The more bikers and bikes we can get on the road, the more normalized the experience is,” Vautor says. “It’s how you get cars to get used to sharing the road.”

Although Vautour thinks Lifepaint can only resolve one of the many safety nuances between bicyclists and drivers, he says LifePaint is something to look forward to.

“As long we don’t pump this LifePaint up as a solve-all kind of product, there’s really no harm,” Vautour says. “You know where I can get my hands on some?”


On April 2, Volvo began a trial run in London, where over 19,000 bicyclists are injured every year. They gave away 2,000 cans of LifePaint in six different U.K. bike stores. If it’s well-received, Volvo says they have plans to distribute LifePaint worldwide.

In the meanwhile, enthusiasts can get their hands on other reflective paint products from Albedo100.

Leave a Reply

We are on Instagram