Just stumbled on this fascinating article.
One of Hitler’s former drivers, a part-time inventor and loyal party comrade, had started producing bicycle reflectors, to improve the visibility of riders on the roads at night. Fastening small pieces of glass to bicycle pedals that would reflect the headlights of oncoming cars. In 1936, the SS formed a joint-company with the inventor, using his name – Anton Loibl GmbH. With SS help, Loibl applied for and promptly received a patent for his bicycle reflector design. A rival inventor even had his earlier patent application quashed.
In his capacity as police chief of the Reich, Himmler then issued a new ordinance on road traffic that made the reflectors mandatory for all bicycles on German roads. The SS company would oversee the marketing of Loibl’s invention and use part of the revenue to fuel Himmler’s research projects.
Industrial producers had no choice but to pay licensing fees back to the company for the privilege of producing Loibl’s design and within the first year the Ahnenerbe received 77,740 Reichmarks from the scheme. From 1939, this would rise to between 100,000 and 150,000 Reichmarks per year. As much as financial integrity was expected from members of the SS in their personal lives, the procurement of funds through questionable, and often illegal, means was actively encouraged when it was a matter of financing the organisation.
Although the activities of the Ahnenerbe came to an abrupt end in 1945 – the section of the traffic order which relates to reflectors, introduced by Himmler, is still part of Germany’s street law for bicycles – the Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung. Along with two sets of functioning brakes and lights for travelling at night, all riders are required to display two yellow reflectors on each wheel – pedal reflectors – one white reflector on the front of the bike and one red reflector on the rear.