Direct to content
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

The Finnish Invention Keeping People Safe: Safety Reflectors - Embassy of Finland, Canberra : Current Affairs

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Canberra


Embassy of Finland, Canberra
Tel. +61-2-6273 3800
E-mail: sanomat.can@formin.fi and consular.can@formin.fi
English | Suomi | Svenska | Facebook |  |  | Instagram
Font_normalFont_bigger
 
News, 2/3/2017 | Embassy of Finland, Canberra

The Finnish Invention Keeping People Safe: Safety Reflectors

As a part of the Embassy of Finland's centenary program in the theme of TOGETHER/YHDESSÄ to celebrate 100 years of independence, we are holding an Instagram competition based around the lifesaving Finnish invention: the safety reflector. The prize is an evening of fun and food in our Finntastic sauna for you + five friends. You can enter in three simple and easy steps:

  1. Get your FREE reflector at any of the Embassy of Finland's events. We'll be handing them out in an effort to promote safety on the roads at night – something very common in Finland but less commonly used in Australia.

  2. Follow us on Instagram by using the QR code on the leaflet or @finlandinaustralia.

  3. Use the hashtag #howiusemyreflector to show us how you stay safe. Extra points for uniqueness and creativity!

The results of the competition will be announced on National Reflector Day, 1 October 2017.

Personal safety reflectors are a safety standard in Finland. It is required by law (Finnish Road Traffic Code) that pedestrians wear reflectors when travelling the roads after dark. You can commonly find reflectors sewn onto outer garments, dangling securely from pockets or hanging from a Finn's neck. Finnish children grow up with this as the norm. Where on Australian playgrounds there's the commonly known mantra "No hat, no play!" the corresponding safety item in Finland is the reflector.

Safety is fashionable too! This lady is wearing reflectors in the shape of a lizard and a star. Photo: Australian Safety Reflectors
Safety is fashionable too! This lady is wearing reflectors in the shape of a lizard and a star. Photo: Australian Safety Reflectors

The story of the safety reflector is an interesting one, and starts with your average everyday citizen, Finnish farmer Mr. Arvi Lehti. Finnish winters have always been long, cold and very dark, making transport and travel especially difficult in the 1950s. Out of necessity to protect horse carts and vehicles, Lehti invented the personal safety reflector. But soon, demand required that he introduce reflectors for pedestrians as well…and thus the current pedestrian prism reflector was born. The world's leading pedestrian reflector has since been manufactured by the Finnish company TALMU, now known as Coreflect.

For the fashionistas, Finland doesn't just force unsightly fluoro yellow armbands on your everyday pedestrian. Rather, safety reflectors have become somewhat of a fashion statement. You can buy them in every colour of the rainbow and all colours in between, in any shape or size (snowflakes, love hearts, you name it!) with any graphic art printed on. It's a fashionable accessory that keeps our pedestrians safe and mothers from worrying.

It's easy to use a reflector as well. It's generally used during twilight or nighttime and can be used anywhere, whether you're in a sparsely populated area or in the middle of a metropolis. You can attach it to your bag, computer case, equipment, sleeve or just hang it around your neck. It is generally most effective when hanging freely at knee height as it allows it to catch the headlights of moving vehicles.

Keeping children safe on the roads. Photo: Australian Safety Reflectors
Keeping children safe on the roads. Photo: Australian Safety Reflectors

Personal safety reflectors significantly increase the safety of pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and other road users. The countries that use reflectors have the lowest pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries in the world. So, why isn't this a common thing in Australia? While the night here may not stretch on for as long as the Finnish nights, it still gets pretty dark. It's been shown that with a reflector, pedestrians can be seen at more than three times the distance than without a reflector. The Embassy of Finland will be giving away reflectors at all Finland 100 events throughout the year (see the program here), so come on by, have a chat with us, and together we can keep safe on the roads!

The distance from where you can be seen with and without a reflector.
The distance from where you can be seen with and without a reflector.

Did you know?

The classic 'snowflake' reflector has been manufactured since 1969 and is a common sight in Finland. It was designed by the Finnish product designer Kalervo Suomela for TALMU (now Coreflect) and was originally commissioned by the Finnish Red Cross.

Photographs and artwork provided by Australian Safety Reflectors © 2017

Print this page

Updated 2/21/2017


© Embassy of Finland, Canberra  | About this site | Contact information