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Old 02-06-07, 04:45 PM   #1
Falchoon
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Clothing - cyclists vs motorcyclists

How come cyclists usually wear brightly coloured clothing to help them stand out so motorists and other people can see them but motorcyclists generally don't? I know MC are faster and keep up with the traffic and cyclists are generally slower but car drivers are still running into them so why not wear brighter clothing?
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Old 02-06-07, 05:20 PM   #2
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Uh-oh !

HelmetHead will need to chime in to this one.....

My theory is that motorcyclists spend more time IN traffic, slowing and stopping WITH traffic... That may help to explain why they are caught in rear-end collisions more than cyclists...

I personally whitnessed a double rear-end collision where the 2nd car slammed into the back of a harley with a girly passenger and NO helmets ! Lucky for them the driver kept the fartley under control and managed to pull over to the sidewalk where the girl limped off of the bike grabbing her lower leg ...

The saddlebags exploded from the back of the hardley into pieces !! I swear I saw lots of tools fall out of it (that is why hardleys have those saddle bags, to store tools to fix them all the time)...

LOL
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Old 02-06-07, 05:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falchoon
How come cyclists usually wear brightly coloured clothing to help them stand out so motorists and other people can see them but motorcyclists generally don't? I know MC are faster and keep up with the traffic and cyclists are generally slower but car drivers are still running into them so why not wear brighter clothing?
I've wondered this too.

Certainly motorcyclists often talk about not being noticed, but I suspect this actually happens much more rarely than it does for bicyclists, because motorcyclists are usually riding where others are most likely to be paying attention, and bicyclists are often riding where others are much less likely to be paying attention.

So I think the not being noticed is much more about where we are riding rather than about what we are wearing.

I know that I've been less concerned about bright clothing while bicycling since I've learned the importance and relevance of riding where motorists are paying most of their attention.

I have an all-black thermal cycling jacket that in the past I would never wear without a colorful and/or reflective vest over it, but now I do. I'm not any less visible, by any significant degree, than a motorcyclist in a black leather jacket.

Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-06-07 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 02-06-07, 05:33 PM   #4
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It would be tough to look cool in a reflective yellow pleather jacket.
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Old 02-06-07, 06:07 PM   #5
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Look at sport bike helmets and jackets sometime. While not neon like alot of cycling clothing, it is flashy with lots of reds, yellows, greens (Kawasaki green) etc... Also, many manufacturers use reflective piping and stripes these days.
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Old 02-06-07, 06:24 PM   #6
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Consider this - the military requires one to wear a reflective vest when riding a motorcycle. In my day it was only required when on-base or in uniform, but apparently it's required at all times now, in uniform or out.

IMO, bright clothing on a motorcycle is probably a good thing from an increased visibility standpoint, but like most things in our society, what is culturally acceptable and 'fits in' is more important. Ironic how riding a motorcycle is the ultimate badge of freedom, independence and even rebellion, yet we worry about looking like everyone else.
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Old 02-06-07, 06:26 PM   #7
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As a motorcyclist I'll answer this for you, from my perspective.

1.) Loud pipes save lives. My pipes are loud enough that anyone in a vehicle within earshot will know I'm there.
2.) Leathers are like armor. Everything I wear while on my bike (motorbike) is there to protect me in the case of going down. It is almost impossible to find leathers in any color other than black. because
2.a.) Bright colors on a bike are, as some people would say, gay* as ****
2.b.) Bikes have just as much lighting as cars, you don't see people in cars painting them hi-vis green
2.c.) It's a marketing ploy: bikers are tough and tough guys wear black
3.) No need to go further than this as this explains probably %99.999999 of us out there

* gay as in fluff, not homosexual. so don't give me any "you're homophobic" crap. this is the english language and words DO have multiple meanings. clean up your own back yard before you come knocking on my door
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Old 02-06-07, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kemmer
Look at sport bike helmets and jackets sometime. While not neon like alot of cycling clothing, it is flashy with lots of reds, yellows, greens (Kawasaki green) etc... Also, many manufacturers use reflective piping and stripes these days.
This is just a marketing ploy to attract to young kids.
The same way you see some old man having his late midlife crisis buy a yellow vette with a yellow vette branded jacket and yellow vette branded hat.
Or seeins somene riding a Trek with a full on Trek kit but has no aspirations to race.
They just want to pay good money to become a moving bilboard.
marketing is a genius thing, and the world is not lacking fools to target
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Old 02-06-07, 08:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
This is just a marketing ploy to attract to young kids.
The same way you see some old man having his late midlife crisis buy a yellow vette with a yellow vette branded jacket and yellow vette branded hat.
Or seeins somene riding a Trek with a full on Trek kit but has no aspirations to race.
They just want to pay good money to become a moving bilboard.
marketing is a genius thing, and the world is not lacking fools to target
I see you resisted the urge, as I did, to say some other things about 'sport bikes'.

But seriously, if we are as tough as we think we are, we'd have no problem hitting the road wearing pink leathers and with sparkly streamers on the bars, if it suited us. A lot of it really is trying to look the part like we think it's supposed to look. I think we're tough enough to admit it.
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Old 02-06-07, 08:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falchoon
How come cyclists usually wear brightly coloured clothing to help them stand out so motorists and other people can see them but motorcyclists generally don't? I know MC are faster and keep up with the traffic and cyclists are generally slower but car drivers are still running into them so why not wear brighter clothing?
Perhaps you have not noticed the motorcyclists wearing the orange vests.


Heck one company has even invented "air bag vests" that inflate to reduce injuries in a fall.

Over all though the daylight headlights and the ability to keep up with and pass traffic might give motorcyclists a few advantages that cyclists don't have... so we have to go with passive systems... such as bright clothing.
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Old 02-06-07, 09:03 PM   #11
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One should always be colour coordinated with their MC. It's a rule. My GPZ1100 is red and black so I wear red and black. Other cyclists will not laugh at you if you are not colour coordinated with your bike but motorcyclists will.
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Old 02-06-07, 09:03 PM   #12
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I've noticed more and more motorcyclists wearing the high-vis yellow bicycle jackets, high-vis yellow construction worker vest, and don't forget that motorcycle gear is often highly reflective, brightly colored, and then the motorcycle itself has daytime running lights. I've even seen motorcycles with bike blinkies, too.
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Old 02-06-07, 09:28 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=CrosseyedCrickt]As a motorcyclist I'll answer this for you, from my perspective.

1.) Loud pipes save lives. My pipes are loud enough that anyone in a vehicle within earshot will know I'm there.


They also make lives miserable for pedestrians and residents of the roads you ride on. Your vehicle should be no louder than any other vehicle of comparable size, weight, and horsepower.


2.) Leathers are like armor. Everything I wear while on my bike (motorbike) is there to protect me in the case of going down. It is almost impossible to find leathers in any color other than black. because
2.a.) Bright colors on a bike are, as some people would say, gay* as ****


Definitely true and there is no need to apologize in your footnote either. Whether you like gays or not is your own business and an opinion you are perfectly free to express in any way you see fit. If my fellow flamers give ya a hard time tell 'em to eat a snickers bar and get over the super bowl.



2.b.) Bikes have just as much lighting as cars, you don't see people in cars painting them hi-vis green....
2.c.) It's a marketing ploy: bikers are tough and tough guys wear black



A study by the NHL years ago showed that wearing black made guys alot more aggressive and intimidating. In our suck-your-soymilk world, thats nice for a change. I don't know what being tough will do if you are flying thru the air at 60 mph after an accident....but hey...whatever boats your float.


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Old 02-06-07, 09:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
1.) Loud pipes save lives. My pipes are loud enough that anyone in a vehicle within earshot will know I'm there.
Doesn't loud pipes also limit what you can hear around you? That aspect certainly can't make you safer.
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Old 02-06-07, 10:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by RomSpaceKnight
Other cyclists will not laugh at you if you are not colour coordinated with your bike but motorcyclists will.
You're eroding the rationale for much of my wardrobe here...
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Old 02-07-07, 07:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughstuff


A study by the NHL years ago showed that wearing black made guys alot more aggressive and intimidating. In our suck-your-soymilk world, thats nice for a change. I don't know what being tough will do if you are flying thru the air at 60 mph after an accident....but hey...whatever boats your float.


roughstuff
There was also a recent study somehow connected to the Japanese that an aggressive look of a motorcycle means it will be noticed. I cannot find the report, (google "aggressive motorcycle" and all sorts of stuff comes up) but the conclusion was that if the front of the motorcycle coming at a motorist was arranged in a manner to look like an aggressive face, the motorcycle would be noticed more often.

It makes sense if you consider that as babies we recognize faces almost right away, so it is somewhat built into our brains, and an aggressive face might stand out that much more.
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Old 02-07-07, 09:48 AM   #17
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Page 21 of the MSF's Motorcycle Operator Manual recommends wearing bright clothing including vests and bright helmets

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Old 02-07-07, 09:58 AM   #18
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I live in a town where there are basically only old people and college students. The only motorcycles I see around here have postures like TT bikes, and would probably glow in the dark they're so colorful.

Back in Allen (home of the largest Harley dealership in the country), things were different. But those people were upper-middle-class, riding for fun not transportation. They were almost always in groups.
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Old 02-07-07, 10:04 AM   #19
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I see high-viz vests on motorcyclists on the rise in the rainy season here in the Northwest. Savvy riders choose high-viz for safety. these are not military riders, but may have picked up the idea while riding to/from base or just from common sense.

just riding a motorcycle or bicycle on the road doesn't guarantee anything, as a neophyte traffic rider tries to insinuate in his posts here in A&S.

But, if you drive your RV like a bicycle, you're likely to get noticed as you powerweave the Winnebago.....
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Old 02-07-07, 10:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
Doesn't loud pipes also limit what you can hear around you? That aspect certainly can't make you safer.
Being able to hear on a motorcycle is not nearly as important as it is on a bicycle.
I have plenty enough mirrors on my Shovelhead to see all around me without having to move my neck.
Now before anyone starts chiming in, stop before you start unless you ride a motorcycle, and I'm not meaning "I ride my cousins R1 when I go and visit hime every year". If you are not familiar and comfortable with being on a motorcycle in traffic then you can not possibly offer anything but armchair speculation on the subject.... anyhow, back to AlmostTricks question.
Yes, having the loud pipes does limit what I can hear. But I have not had that become an issue in the 20 years I have been riding a bike, not even once.
In TWO, (Two Wheels Only) a motorcycle magazine, they had statistics on motorcycle accidents with some pretty interesting numbers. I cannot recall them verbatim but here are some of the ones that stuck in my head, all numbers are approximate.
80% of motorcycle accidents resulted in injury or death
60% of them were intoxicated
75% of them were under the age of 30
75% were on sport bikes
10% were speeds less than 35mph

So from those numbers, which is the best of my memory, most accidents involving motorcycles are the young people on crotchrockets usually going faster than they should and drinking. If they are fortunate enough to live past their stupidity phase then they may one day upgrade to the real bikes for men, which have much less occurances of accidents assuming the riders stay sober.
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Old 02-07-07, 11:59 AM   #21
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Because motorcycles are required by law to have decent headlights and taillights, and many cyclists use these day and night to increase visibility?

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Old 02-07-07, 12:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
1.) Loud pipes save lives. My pipes are loud enough that anyone in a vehicle within earshot will know I'm there.
I will disagree with you on this one as it only helps people behind you see you. If you are loud enough to be heard in front then you are putting your own hearing in jeopardy and others. It is this kind of thinking that has cities like Cave Creek instituting ordinances limiting motorcycle decibals in their communities. I can usually see police lights far before I can hear their sirens.
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Old 02-07-07, 12:09 PM   #23
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As a former MSF Instructor, Ducati rider and 30+ yr. motorcyclist I'd say most motorcycles are bigger (more obvious) than bicycles, lots are pretty bright in color and all newer ones run headlights day or night. In addition, many of us wear bright, mutlti-colored helmets and/or clothing. Now, why don't bicyclists wear leathers?
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Old 02-07-07, 12:30 PM   #24
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Drivers are looking for other cars, not for two-wheeled exceptions.

The safest thing, imho, a motorcyclist can do is to get a wider heads-on profile. Other than riding responsibly, of course!
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Old 02-07-07, 12:38 PM   #25
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Most motorcyclists wear leather jackets, and leather jackets are almost always black.
That being said, military personnel are required to wear a reflective vest when riding on base. Military bases typically have a 12,000 foot runway, so the road that parallels it is over two miles long.
When I was in the Navy, I brought my Kevlar faired HPV on base, and it was so darned camoflaged, it was declared "invisible" , even though I ran 12 volt lights. I had to wear a reflective vest while riding it on base.

I would say that black leather jackets go with the Harley ,
and colored leathers go with the Japanese bikes, in general.
A friend of mine has a 2002 Suzuki Hyabusa and he works for the DPW (Department of Public Works).
He wears his county issued reflective vest while riding, and he insists that the color of the reflective tape is "Strong Yellow-Green", and NOT lime green. A new law in New York declares silver reflective tape "for road-cones only" he says.
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