Cyclists have also been using it for years. I am specifically talking the reflective material here, not the colour of the fabric. This material usually contains microscopic beads or cubes that internally reflect the light back to the source.
The phenomenon is well known. Companies such as 3M with their Scotchlite are probably the most famous, but even before then people have experimented with the properties. Even Hollywood used the technique:
So with regards cycling one thing I have wondered is why the technology hasn't been used on bike frames? A fair few years ago someone handed out "snap bands" - the sprung steel backed, lightweight ankle reflector we've all become used to seeing. They placed them on the bike frame as a gift from the council and myself (and probably a large number of other people) thought - "now there is an idea!" and promptly left them on the bike for (hopefully) increased visibility.
A few weeks later I decided to make mine more permanent and cut the end off the snap-band to cable tie sections on the bike frame. A couple of other riders I saw also did the same. The only downside was in washing the bike, and sometimes with maintenance you had to remove the reflectives.
This got me wondering.
I know that several companies produce reflective paints and stickers. What is there to stop bicycle manufacturers applying this tech and then layering lacquer over the top to give some permanence? I think this is an opportunity being missed. Imagine a reflective edge around the manufacturer logo. Or rings/line of paint that follow the contour of the frame so that others can see a bike shape more clearly from a small distance?
Obviously this wont force people to look but it does provide an opportunity to experiment with colour, shapes and logos in the medium of light. We already experiment with colour on and off the bike, light is the next step.