I've been putting a bicycle-style tail lamp on his collar. Well, not any more!
Because I run at night with my dog, in places where there are no footpaths, I always take care to make him as visible as possible. I use a reflective strip around his collar, and I’ve been putting a bicycle-style tail lamp on his collar. Well, not any more! I recently acquired a PolyBrite Lighted Collar from the Australian distributor, B-Fit Sportswear.
This neat product combines a retro-reflective bright green strip on the outside of the collar with a red-glowing clear polymer extrusion embedded within it. In the daytime I was thinking “Yeah, OK, so it’s bright green and blinks red.” but at night it was really very visible.
Where I take Sinner has very few streetlights, so I wear my own headlamp and tail light also. Every time I swung my head around to look at Sinner the reflective sheath of the collar stood out like a sore thumb and when my head was turned away my peripheral vision caught the bright red pulses from the polymer core. It is viewable from a much wider angle than the small bicycle tail light I usually use for him.
Claiming weather resistance, I could see no O-Ring or gasket around the battery compartment opening. I wouldn’t use this product if there was the slightest hint of rain, as I don’t think they meant wet-weather resistance.
The main advantage I see in this product over a mere reflective collar is that reflective requires the wearer to be in the path of the light – in this case headlights – to be effective. The PolyBrite collar is noticeable when the light beam is not on the wearer directly. So there is a much better chance that the wearer will be seen before being directly in front of the car or truck.
The main disadvantages? Well apart from weather resistance, there is the battery. It’s a CR2032 lithium but the light output doesn’t seem to be regulated. My “factory demonstrator” model came with a flat-ish battery and the light output was meagre when I turned it on. Regulation would keep the light bright until the battery was used up, but might use the battery up faster.
The collar’s blinker is controlled by a push button set into the end of the battery/control case. The button has no “feel” and is very light, so it’s possible to accidentally switch the light on when putting the collar down after using it.
On my dog, there is around 45% of the collar length when properly adjusted that is neither reflective nor self-illuminating. His neck is 455 mm around, and only 255 mm of the collar is the PolyBrite reflective with the light backing.
The d-ring to attach the lead is in the middle of the lighted section. This means that if your dog’s lead is taut, the lighted section of the collar is pointing towards you. The other side of the collar is dark. If the dog’s lead is slack the leash’s clip weighs the lighted section down and the top of the collar and half of the sides are black. In the picture above, the entire back section of the collar is dark. Mind you, when the dog wears the clip-on bike light, the light is predominantly visible in one direction so suffers from the same problems.
Overall, an innovative safety product. I have a feeling it can be done better, though. 7/10