I think we're saying the same thing.
I liked the ad when I first saw it, and I still think it clever. But I don't think that it work nearly as well if the bear: a) entered the camera and then stopped moving and b) was a color other than the colors worn by the two teams. The bear is aided in blending in by being a dark colored moving figure in a field half full of dark colored moving figures. Try pausing the video while the bear is on screen, and even in still frame he doesn't stand out that much.
I think that two lessons can be taken from the video. Drivers need to broaden their focus to include objects beyond other motorized traffic, and cyclists would benefit from attempting to stand out from their environment.
actual research study so the answer is probably in study somewhere.
People give me more room when I have taillights; especially at night (I usually have them on within 2 hours of sunset as well, so I'm counting that time).
For the record, the only time I was in an accident with a car was when I was wearing my [then new] fluorescent yellow jersey in daylight.
"...it appears that observers are more likely to notice an unexpected event that shares basic visual features-in this case, color-with the events they are attending to. In a sense, this effect is the opposite of the traditional `pop-out' phenomenon in visual search tasks, which occurs when an item that differs in basic visual features from the rest of the display is easier to notice and identify."
Which suggests that hi-vis clothing will have the opposite of the intended effect, I think.
Just ride with and without. Personally I think I get another couple of feet passing distance with the vest. However, it's hard for me to judge these days because I also run a Dinotte, which also DEFINITELY generates a lot more passing room - between the vest and the Dinotte, people not only pull over into the far side of the far lane to pass, they actually often slow down (I ride 60 MPH roads).
Have you known a high-visibility vest to attack its wearer?Quote:
How safe is high-visibility clothing?
If I remember right, I believe it says something about how it is that drivers just don't see what's right in front of them.
Just scanning bikesnobNYC and saw this
Hit-and-run driver claimed he didn't see 6-foot-tall orange rabbit on the pedicab
Pedicab driver Kate Altermatt still can't believe the driver of a Mercedes didn't see her pedaling down Northwest Fourth Avenue last Easter. Altermatt, who is 6 feet tall, was wearing a bright orange bunny suit, and the Cascadia Pedicab was lit up with reflectors and a blinking red light.
"I was very visible," she said. ...
Here's a study on motorcyclist safety as a function of the visibility of clothing, helmet color, and use of daytime headlights:
Bright clothing seemed to be the most effective.
But, as I and others have noted above, there are issues with such studies since there may well be other differences between riders who choose to wear conspicuous clothing and those who don't. It's the same problem that exists with case-control studies of helmet effectiveness in crashes.
But before that, you might want to reconsider whether people can avoid things they can't physically see. The example with the bear is only relevant to the question of whether drivers are looking for cyclists -- or perhaps motorcyclists -- in certain environments.
Of course, whether a driver notices that "something" is probabalistic. It would be about the interaction between enough light physically reaching the driver and the cognitive function of the driver.
Prob(Noticed) = Prob("physically seeing object"|amount of light reflected) * Prob("cognitively aware of object"|physically seeing object)
Given the context of the common motivation for high-viz clothing, I assume that we are talking about low-light situations. In low-light environments, the effect on the first component is pretty large -- I don't have any cites handy, but I doubt that this is a controversial statement. Now perhaps there is some perverse circumstance where bright-yellow (or whatever) is far less likely to be noticed than something with poor reflectivity, but I suspect that other than the length of time that the cyclist is "visible" -- I would say that the longer one is physically visible, the greater the chance that a driver will become aware of the cyclist -- wearing high-rez material doesn't affect the second component in a negative manner. In VA, simply based on anecdotal observations, state and local employees working on roads or the side of roads often wear high-viz clothing and traffic cones/markers often have reflective material. So one might think that drivers might expect to see such material on roads making them more likely to cognitively notice it.
Now it is the case that if the second component is very small, then big changes in the first component will have little effect on the probability of being noticed. But I find it hard to believe that this probability will be very low. Drivers would be smashing into all sorts of things at a high frequency if it were the case.
According the cited study, fluorocent or reflective clothing reduces risk of injury (for motorcyclists in New Zealand in 1993-1996) about 37%. Use of colors in jackets (frontal clothing) did not show association with risk of injury.
According to these results I've had it all wrong. Using high-visibility clothing is a big factor (at least for motorcyclists in New Zealand) and "bright colored normal clothes" doesn't help.
Wasn't it Hurst, in "The Art of Urban Cycling" who wrote that a motorist can be looking straight at you but all that's registering in the mind of that motorist is that song that was playing earlier in the day ("Do you line Pina Colda's? ... Gettin' caught in the rain?")
Lots of cyclists ride at night in dark clothes without lights or reflectors without getting killed. This speaks to the care and vigilence of motorists. Lights and reflective clothing increases your safety, but LEDs are very directional so provide little help if they are not mounted well.
Is there anyone here who hasn't, at some point, had headlights fail and ridden home anyways? You had reflectors you say? Then did all the motorists that you encountered have functional, properly-aimed headlights that shone on your reflectors at the correct angle for functionality? Are you sure?
I've been caught out and ridden home probably dozens of times.
Less than idea? Certainly.
Was I reliant solely on motorist vigilance to prevent my demise? Hardly.
In most locations one can travel by bicycle fully invisible in a safe (from other vehicles) manner, it is just not very effective.