Especially before the snowfall in October and November, the nights are often pitch-black in Finland and the days quite dim as well. This puts pedestrians crossing the streets or walking along roads with no footpath at great risk, as drivers often cannot notice them in the dark. In the early 1950s, a Finnish farmer called Arvi Lehti came up with a simple solution to the problem by inventing the pedestrian reflector.
The story goes that Mr. Lehti originally developed the reflector to protect horses and carts from crashing with cars, but it soon became evident that the pedestrians would greatly benefit from his invention as well.
The reflector has been an invaluable invention in advancing pedestrian safety in Finland, as it improves the visibility of pedestrians as much as by hundreds of meters and allows the drivers more time to react. Nowadays, it is even required by the Finnish law (Road Traffic Code) that pedestrians wear an appropriate reflector while moving on the road during dark.
Pedestrian reflectors come in numerous shapes and colors. One of the most popular designs of the reflector is ‘Snowflake’ produced since the 1970s. In addition to new reflector designs, the Finns are constantly coming up with new ways for the pedestrians to get noticed in the dark. This year, for example, a Finnish supermarket chain introduced reusable shopping bags made from reflective material.