PPG today announced that it is providing the world’s first commercial retroreflective powder coating to Lyft for use on e-bikes in the company’s DIVVY bike-share program in an effort to increase cyclist visibility. The partnership represents the debut of retroreflective e-bikes in the United States.
Designed to reflect maximum light back to its source, PPG ENVIROCRON™ LUM coating is a proprietary and patent-pending breakthrough technology. While liquid-based retroreflective coatings are commonly used to increase the visibility of pavement markings and street signs,PPG Envirocron LUM coating is the first-ever retroreflective powder coating.
Lyft’s pilot program for its new high-visibility e-bikes debuted in the Bay Area in California in June 2021 and expanded to Chicago, Illinois, in December. It launched in New York City earlier this year. Following the debut of the program, Time magazine recognized Lyft’s retroreflective e-bike as one of “The Best Inventions of 2021.”
Lyft’s new fleet of e-bikes are coated with an Abel Gray finish, which is a tribute to the late Abel Lopez. A Lyft engineer, Lopez, was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in October 2020.
“Until his untimely passing, Abel was a valued member of the Lyft family and was very passionate about our efforts to implement retroreflective technology into our e-bikes,” said Edgar Japitana, Lyft senior group manager, Supplier Industrialization Engineering. “Improving cyclist safety is paramount, and we are so proud to memorialize Abel through our partnership with PPG and its Abel Gray coating named in his honor.”
According to the National Safety Council, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation increased 37% between 2010 and 2019, jumping from 793 annual incidents to 1,089.
The genesis of PPG’s Envirocron LUM coatings technology is rooted in nature, inspired by the reflective properties of deer’s eyes. Using a formulation with embedded glass beads, the single-layer coating refracts light and retroreflects it directly back to a vehicle’s driver to enhance visibility.
The coating delivers a non-solvent solution with high transfer efficiency. It provides exceptional scratch and mar resistance for the e-bikes to withstand a high volume of riders and meet Lyft’s goal for a durable and sustainable solution.
“PPG has been at the forefront of retroreflective powder coating technology for several years as part of our commitment to innovation and sustainability,” said Paul Bradley, PPG technical manager, Industrial Coatings. “We are proud to partner with Lyft in its efforts to produce high-visibility e-bikes as part of our shared commitment to enhance on-road safety.”
Powder coatings such as PPG Envirocron LUM coating are part of the company’s commitment to innovate sustainable solutions. PPG is striving to achieve 40% of sales from products and processes that have improved sustainability by 2025.