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-   -   How safe is high-visibility clothing? (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/623722-how-safe-high-visibility-clothing.html)

noisebeam 02-22-10 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hshearer (Post 10436025)
Does anyone think wearing bright clothing is going to become more main-steam amongst cyclists in the years to come, as helmet use and lighting did?

Ummm, already is. Even the anti-cyclists make fun of the 'bumblebee' look.

rumrunn6 02-22-10 01:33 PM

sometimes I think I get buzzed because I'm too visible!

CommuterRun 02-22-10 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10435052)
Has it been researched?

Not that I am aware of.

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10435052)
Is it just a myth?

I don't think so.

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10435052)
Many cyclists claim that cars give them more room if they have their really, really bright yellow vests on. Is this really the case? Can yellow and orange vests safe lifes?

I was talking to a LAB instructor one time about harassment I don't see on the road.
"That's because you look like you know what you are doing.", was her reply.
Part of that is because I wear colors that are easily seen and noticed; predominately white, which may not work as well in other environments, but also yellow, bright orange and bright green.

Other things do come into play which are part of it, but attention grabbing colors are much harder to ignore than colors that tend to blend in. If my neighbor across the street hangs a white shirt and a black shirt in her yard without me knowing, the next time I look over there I guarantee I will see and notice the white shirt first.

Do bright colors save lifes? I don't know, but they might save lives.;)

rumrunn6 02-22-10 02:39 PM

they see us coming from a greater distance which makes going through intersections much safer. that's what all this stuff does - it makes you more visible from further away. anyone can see a bicyclist crashing through their windshield

genec 02-22-10 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 (Post 10436541)
they see us coming from a greater distance which makes going through intersections much safer. that's what all this stuff does - it makes you more visible from further away. anyone can see a bicyclist crashing through their windshield

Apparently not even this is true.

See this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chante_Jawan_Mallard

GriddleCakes 02-22-10 04:07 PM

I always use dayglo condoms and no STDs yet, so there you go.

mwchandler21 02-22-10 09:56 PM

I work as a traffic engineer and the federal guidelines (that each state is basically forced to adopt if the want their transportation money) for signing, traffic control and signals is the MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices) It has been standard for years that anyone with in the Right-of-Way should wear a hi-viz vest and the most recent version uped the requirements. The MUTCD clearly regards hi-viz clothing to be important to the safety of road workers, police and emergency responders. Below is the wording as stated in the MUTCD:

Standard:
04 All workers, including emergency responders, within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to work vehicles and construction equipment within the TTC zone shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004 publication entitled "American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear" (see Section 1A.11), or equivalent revisions, and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 2 or 3 risk exposure, except as provided in Paragraph 5. A person designated by the employer to be responsible for worker safety shall make the selection of the appropriate class of garment.
Standard:
06 When uniformed law enforcement personnel are used to direct traffic, to investigate crashes, or to handle lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters, high-visibility safety apparel as described in this Section shall be worn by the law enforcement personnel.
07 Except as provided in Paragraph 8, firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way shall wear high-visibility safety apparel as described in this Section.

ro-monster 02-23-10 02:40 AM

I used to ride everywhere in normal clothing, but I noticed that whenever I saw someone wearing high-vis yellow, not only did they stand out from the surroundings, but my mind immediately tagged the object in question as a bicyclist. And then I read about inattentional blindness -- the phenomenon of people completely failing to notice something because they were mentally focused on looking for something else. This is apparently a normal aspect of human perception, and it explains a lot of those "I didn't see them" incidents.

Based on that, I decided to start wearing a high-vis yellow jacket. Surely I can't be the only person out there whose brain associates that color with a bicyclist, and it seems to me that the more quickly someone can make that association, the better the odds that they'll respond appropriately. (Around here, most warning signs and road workers' clothes are orange.)

j3ns 02-23-10 02:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by annc (Post 10435822)
It's not that easy. You have to normalize for different types of rider to reduce the number of variables. For example, cyclists with high-viz clothing are more concerned with safety then cyclists with dark clothing so they ride in a more safe manner. Any difference in injure statistics maybe due to the way cyclists ride than what cyclists wear.

This is true. But usually the first step is to research whether there is a correlation, then to speculate about possible factors that could explain it. I was just hoping that someone had already done this regarding high-visibility clothing.

cyclezealot 02-23-10 02:55 AM

It's subjective I guess. But, the high viz green the road department people wear, sure catches my eye from a distance.. Nothing is more idiotic than wearing black at night... Which I often see among the kids.. As to night riding, give me plenty of lights and reflective gear..

Tsuru 02-23-10 06:21 AM

For me, I just think about runners who don't wear any high-visibility clothing. When there is no sidewalk, they are running toward me in my path. Ever come up on one at night with no reflective stuff on? They are practically invisible. Saw one last night, in a some cotton or other non-reflective content red hoodie and navy sweats, completely invisible, but fortunately for me, running on the wrong side of the street (aka, with traffic).

I don't think going full Fred is always necessary, but lights and some reflective action if you can is a good thing.

degnaw 02-23-10 06:44 AM

Even if stats exist, they wouldn't accurately portray anything; around here, most the vest-wearers are middle aged, conservative riders who stop for stop signs and red lights.

crhilton 02-23-10 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hshearer (Post 10436041)
Also, if anyone ever hits you, he's going to have a much harder time playing the "I didn't see that cyclist" get out of jail free card. That's my second reason for wearing brights (safety is #1). I don't want someone mowing me down and getting away with it.

No he's not. They use that one with guys wearing bright cycling jerseys all of the time and nobody mentions the visibility of their clothes. If clothes are brought up it'll be by some internet poster saying "I bet he was wearing all black!" Nobody will disagree with the guy and it'll degrade from there.
And it won't go to court, where a lawyer could bring solid evidence and witnesses, because the DA will refuse to do anything about the incident.

Enjoy your ride and quit worrying about making sure the trial will go well if you're hit and killed. It won't, your death will be a total waste, and it'll be sad. Enjoy your life.

High viz clothing, grumble grumble grumble. I don't seem to get anymore room when I wear my neon yellow jacket than I do if I'm wearing a black shirt. So far, thousands of motorists have seen me in plenty of time to pass safely. Measuring the effectiveness of high viz clothing, when the effectiveness of black, is so high would be quite difficult.

crhilton 02-23-10 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GriddleCakes (Post 10436946)
I always use dayglo condoms and no STDs yet, so there you go.

Incidentally, keep it in your pants on the bike. It's the law.

closetbiker 02-23-10 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mwchandler21 (Post 10438489)
I work as a traffic engineer ... anyone with in the Right-of-Way should wear a hi-viz vest ... The MUTCD clearly regards hi-viz clothing to be important to the safety of road workers, police and emergency responders....

No doubt, it's good to be seen, but that isn't the whole story, is it?

People get hit in spite of being seen, wouldn't you say?

Sometimes, peoples minds aren't exactly where they should be, so being aware of what's going on might be just as, or maybe more important than what you wear.

Roody 02-23-10 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10439130)
This is true. But usually the first step is to research whether there is a correlation, then to speculate about possible factors that could explain it. I was just hoping that someone had already done this regarding high-visibility clothing.

The best you could probably do is to observe riders in dark clothing and in bright clothing, then measure how much passing space drivers give them. Of course this design tells you nothing about outcomes--whether or not hi-vis clothing actually reduces cyclist injury rates.

Again, to do that you would have to randomly assign large numbers of cyclists to two conditions and wait (probably several years) until enough data comes in to show a statistically significant result (or negative result). A study like this would be extremely expensive and I don't think it will ever be done in the next 100 years.

So the best bet is to extrapolate from the research that's been done with highway workers, and again...just use your common sense.

rwp 02-23-10 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 10439961)
No doubt, it's good to be seen, but that isn't the whole story, is it?

People get hit in spite of being seen, wouldn't you say?

Sometimes, peoples minds aren't exactly where they should be, so being aware of what's going on might be just as, or maybe more important than what you wear.

You're right.

Motorists need to A) see a vulnerable person AND B) react appropriately.
Hi viz clothing helps to achieve A) and also can give a little extra time for a motorist to achieve B).

That seems like a good thing. It hardly matters whether it's more or less important than being aware of what's going on around you. Both are good things.

invisiblehand 02-23-10 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10435052)
Has it been researched?
Is it just a myth?
Many cyclists claim that cars give them more room if they have their really, really bright yellow vests on. Is this really the case? Can yellow and orange vests safe lifes?

Probably much safer than low visibility clothing.

closetbiker 02-23-10 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by invisiblehand (Post 10440301)
Probably much safer than low visibility clothing.

Yeah. I don't know. Do the test and reconsider how important what you wear is compared to what people see when they look right at it

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch#playnext=1&playnext_from=TL&videos=x8XFhBC3zWA&v=Ahg6qcgoay4[/video]

annc 02-23-10 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 10440323)
Yeah. I don't know. Do the test and reconsider how important what you wear is compared to what people see when they look right at it

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch#playnext=1&playnext_from=TL&videos=x8XFhBC3zWA&v=Ahg6qcgoay4[/video]

I guess we need a dancing bear with hi-viz clothing to answer the OP's question.

closetbiker 02-23-10 10:41 AM

I knew someone was going to say that...

noisebeam 02-23-10 10:52 AM

I don't think passing distance is a good measure of visibility.

Roody 02-23-10 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noisebeam (Post 10440405)
I don't think passing distance is a good measure of visibility.

Agreed. If they move over to pass you, at least you know that they saw you. However, moving over more doesn't necessarily mean that they saw you better.

closetbiker 02-23-10 12:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rwp (Post 10440288)
You're right.

Motorists need to A) see a vulnerable person AND B) react appropriately.
Hi viz clothing helps to achieve A) and also can give a little extra time for a motorist to achieve B).

That seems like a good thing. It hardly matters whether it's more or less important than being aware of what's going on around you. Both are good things.

I'm not really saying wearing hi vis clothing is a bad thing but more that distracted drivers are.

Lots of times drivers see something, but their minds don't register that something is in their path and they better do something or they're going to hit it.

A driver may be sitting at a side street, waiting to enter a roadway, see a rider coming down the roadway, the rider is visible and has the right of way, but go anyway. Same thing with a driver waiting for a left turn or even immediately after overtaking a rider making a right turn in the riders path as if the overtaken rider suddenly ceased to exist. These are all very common scenarios.

noisebeam 02-23-10 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 10440577)
Agreed. If they move over to pass you, at least you know that they saw you. However, moving over more doesn't necessarily mean that they saw you better.

Right. Also being highly visible and noticed doesn't necessarily mean that a cyclist wont get buzzed. (or left hooked, etc.)

Being easy to notice only will help that a cyclist might get noticed sooner - how other drivers that notices the cyclist respond likely has less to do with cyclist shirt color and more to do with traffic & road conditions and the cyclists position and communications.


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