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

sudo bike 03-08-10 06:02 PM

*shrug* Like I said, it's made a huge difference to me, as a driver, in the past. I've no reason to believe that I'm especially out of the ordinary in this regard. I see no reason not to throw on a high-vis shirt or vest in most situations...

squirtdad 03-08-10 08:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ajenkins (Post 10488303)
I honestly don't feel so afraid of being on a bicycle that I need to gear up with tons of safety crap to ride. I get on the bike, ride intelligently, get off the bike. Pretty simple, actually. I just don't understand why everybody is so afraid of cycling.

Cycling isn't dangerous.

I really hate this argument/statement, in that is is such an over simplification, implying that anyone who thinks about safety is afraid of cycling or promoting cycling as a dangerous activity. And it ignores or masks reall issues.

No cycling is in and of itself not a high risk activity on par with say jumping snowmobiles over roads or being a test dummy on Mythbusters.

however........

The physics in cycling involves riding a vehicle that has no inherent stationary stability, requiring forward movement or good track standing skills to remain upright. Bikes are efficient machines that the most out of shape rider to easily ride a 10 - 15 miles an hour. So the potential for injury, in the event something goes wrong, is greater than it is for say a person walking around their block at 2.5 mph pace.

The bigger issue is the environment.....if all we every did was ride around the block on the sidewalk in endless loops and never cross a road then visibility is probably not a big issue, but I know very few people who ride this way who are over 3.

The reality is most of us ride on the street and interact with traffic on a regular basis. Cycling is not dangerous per se even is this situation, but drivers, especailly drives who can't see cyclists are potentially dangerous to cyclists. And a cyclist riding intelligently can't alwasy compensate As noted earlier many drivers are trained to look for cars and pedestrians but not bikes (I know I got surprised the other day when there was a pedestrian where there rarely is one and I just ddn't see them even though I was looking at them)

One way to reduce the potential for negative car/bike interaction is to improve bikes visibility......I chose to use rear blinkies and a front flasher even in daytime. I have a reasonably good light for night, and lots of reflective bits on the bike. I pick bright colors for clothes if I can (as much personal choice as safety..I miss the old euro fluorescent ski outfit days), but often ride in whaterever I have on. I do have a reflective vest but only use it on really dark busy roads.

So bottom line a I do a few simple things with no downside to me, improve my odds in an enviroment where there are a lot of factors beyond my control (yes I wear a helmet also)... but I am not afraid of cycling nor do I suggest that others should be so please don't equate a concern for safety with fear of cycling.

regards,

electrik 03-08-10 08:25 PM

How safe? anybodies guess. It is safer than wearing all black at night or in the shadows or wearing camo and a pair antlers in the woods during hunting season. How safe is wearing regular clothes? I dunno. Will anybody even see you when they're driving into the setting sun without sunglasses on? they can't see anything.. soo i dunno!

It's all relative.

Leo H. 03-09-10 01:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by closetbiker (Post 10497122)
My position is that being seen is more a matter of drivers paying attention to the road and it's users rather than what a user would be wearing (within reason of course)

to this point, one need not wear a thread to get noticed

http://www.internetvibes.net/wp-cont.../2007/06/4.jpg

Man, the brunette needs to pump up her rear. Tire.
And they'd be just as visually arresting were they to wear a helmet. :love:


Leo H.
Sun Valley, NV

Ooh. wait, check out the knobbies on the front bike!

prathmann 03-09-10 01:33 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo H. (Post 10499827)
Man, the brunette needs to pump up her rear. Tire.
And they'd be just as visually arresting were they to wear a helmet.

Like this one?
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=140823

Does the guy seem to be looking down a bit?

genec 03-09-10 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sudo bike (Post 10498149)
*shrug* Like I said, it's made a huge difference to me, as a driver, in the past. I've no reason to believe that I'm especially out of the ordinary in this regard. I see no reason not to throw on a high-vis shirt or vest in most situations...

Oh I fully agree... which is why I have a closet full of bright orange and yellow shirts...

closetbiker 03-12-10 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo H. (Post 10499827)
... they'd be just as visually arresting were they to wear a helmet. :love:!

As if anyone would be looking at the helmet... unless they were in New Zealand. Then the lack of a helmet would be noticed, by police...

Naked Cyclists Ordered to Put on Helmets because it's the lack of helmet that's offensive there, not the nudity...

Naked cyclist not offensive, judge rules

johnbol1 12-02-12 05:32 AM

old thread I know but as for hi vis vest regulations in UK for cyclists anyone have any literature I can see.

Thanks
John bol

Don in Austin 12-02-12 06:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by j3ns (Post 10435292)
On the contrary I think it would be very possible to research. Just compare the percentage of cyclists using high-visibility clothing to the percentage of injured cyclists using high-visibility clothing. I would be very interested in the findings.....

The figures would be totally meaningless. You would be comparing a highly safety-conscious group of riders versus a less safety-conscious group of riders so it would be impossible to assign cause and effect to the clothing alone.

Not only that, but there are other factors such as does a rider more often put on high-visibility clothing when riding on a relatively dangerous road? Is the rider who uses high-visibility clothing more likely to use powerful lights?

Kind of like the figures for relative dangers of sidewalk vs. street riding which don't take into account that the typical sidewalk rider is very different from the typical street rider.

Don in Austin

I-Like-To-Bike 12-02-12 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don in Austin (Post 15006746)
The figures would be totally meaningless. You would be comparing a highly safety-conscious group of riders versus a less safety-conscious group of riders so it would be impossible to assign cause and effect to the clothing alone.

So true. The results of such a bogus survey are guaranteed to provide the "researcher" the "results" and basis for a conclusion predetermined by whomever sponsored the study.

The problem of bogus conclusions drawn from a meaningless comparison technique is similar to the problem of the bogus conclusions (88% brain injury reduction!) found in the infamous Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC, 1989 case-control study on the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets where vert dissimilar cycling populations were being compared as if they were identical except for the one variable (helmet wear.)

Don in Austin 12-02-12 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15007077)
So true. The results of such a bogus survey are guaranteed to provide the "researcher" the "results" and basis for a conclusion predetermined by whomever sponsored the study.

The problem of bogus conclusions drawn from a meaningless comparison technique is similar to the problem of the bogus conclusions (88% brain injury reduction!) found in the infamous Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC, 1989 case-control study on the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets where vert dissimilar cycling populations were being compared as if they were identical except for the one variable (helmet wear.)

Common sense can tell you that to some extent the high-vis clothing enhances safety. There is surely some % of instances where your high-vis clothing is noticed when it otherwise would not be thus sparing a cyclist from getting hit. What is that %? Who knows? But everybody little bit helps so I wear high-vis clothing. There is a specific type of cycling accident -- low to medium head impact -- where a cycling helmet will enhance safety. What is the % of that scenario? Who knows? Every little bit helps so I wear a helmet.

Don in Austin

I-Like-To-Bike 12-02-12 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don in Austin (Post 15007251)
Common sense can tell you that to some extent the high-vis clothing enhances safety. There is surely some % of instances where your high-vis clothing is noticed when it otherwise would not be thus sparing a cyclist from getting hit. What is that %? Who knows? But everybody little bit helps so I wear high-vis clothing. There is a specific type of cycling accident -- low to medium head impact -- where a cycling helmet will enhance safety. What is the % of that scenario? Who knows? Every little bit helps so I wear a helmet.

Don in Austin

Bottom line is: "Who Knows?"- Nobody "knows" or "learns" anything as a result of such flawed "safety" survey methodology. Except for what they already think they "know."

invisiblehand 12-02-12 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15007595)
Bottom line is: "Who Knows?"- Nobody "knows" or "learns" anything as a result of such flawed "safety" survey methodology. Except for what they already think they "know."

Given that you mentioned Thompson et al, I largely agree. Although, writing more broadly, if you think that the design is biased in one direction and you find no differences in the outcomes, I think you've learned something about the question.

As a practical matter, even population based data subject to strict controls remains open to some flaws. Moreover, laboratory studies are not always conducted in a manner such that the results are applicable to the real world situations. So regardless of the study, we should always keep our brains turns on with a good dose of skepticism.

I-Like-To-Bike 12-02-12 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by invisiblehand (Post 15007649)
As a practical matter, even population based data subject to strict controls remains open to some flaws. Moreover, laboratory studies are not always conducted in a manner such that the results are applicable to the real world situations. So regardless of the study, we should always keep our brains turns on with a good dose of skepticism.

I am hard pressed to think of any population based study related to bicycling safety subject to strict controls of any kind. Many or most, if not all, seem to have NO controls in considering the effect of population or accident severity variables.

FenderTL5 12-02-12 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 10435710)
Who will look at the dead bodies of cyclists and record the type of clothing they wear?

The same people who take note on whether they were wearing a helmet?

canyoneagle 12-02-12 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GriddleCakes (Post 10442033)
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.

BOOM. That sums it up for me.
I've posted the vid in the past, as I feel it really drives home the fact that most (with few exceptions) drivers do not see many things discreetly - things (including cyclists) merge into the background unless they stand out in some way.
I have certainly noticed this myself when I've driven. It is sobering that despite being a cyclist (and somewhat more inclined to watch for cyclists while driving) I have been startled by the sudden "appearance" of cyclists that had been there all along. While driving, there are so many other things to watch for - other cars, pedestrians, etc - that despite the intention to remain aware of cyclists, it is impossible to do so to the exclusion of everything else in the environment (well, not responsibly, anyway).
Consider that most motorists don't attempt to maintain a special awareness of cyclists - I want to stand out from the background.

When cyclists wear bright clothing and employ active lighting during daylight hours, I notice them from a long distance away. When cyclists are not wearing bright clothing or using active lighting, I have to really be "on" and hyper-aware in order to discern them from the many other things in the environment.

RobertHurst 12-03-12 12:31 AM

There is no substitute for a rider's awareness and anticipation of being overlooked. Hi-vis clothing is no substitute. Flashing lights are no substitute. Lane position is no substitute.

Jim-in-Kirkland 12-03-12 12:59 AM

I doubt that if I got run over by a distracted or drunk driver that the construction worker style safety vest that I am wearing will contribute anything to my "safety" - maybe it would assist in the recovery efforts.

As mentioned in the previous #116 posts, your safety on the bike depends on a variety of factors. But in any-case, if you believe in the philosophy that every little bit helps and do not care about the latest bicycle fashion, why not wear a safety vest or other apparel that will catch the eye of the motorist at a good distance?

Cheers

cplager 12-03-12 06:39 AM

Hi,

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobertHurst (Post 15009450)
There is no substitute for a rider's awareness and anticipation of being overlooked. Hi-vis clothing is no substitute. Flashing lights are no substitute. Lane position is no substitute.

In the day time, I don't disagree with that (at night, not having lights, well, ...).

So, we agree that being aware is important and that assuming the cars don't see you is the way you should ride your bike. But what if there was something you could do that would reduce the number of cars that don't see you? Wouldn't you want to do that too?

In my own experiences, I find cars are much less likely to pull out in front of me if I'm running with a flashing light on in the front. This anecdote isn't scientific, but there are studies that say the same thing. Making yourself more visible makes you, well, more visible. And I'm for that.

Even if you do everything correctly, you can still get hit. The more aware and visible you are, the lower the chances, but they are still there. Being aware is a very good thing, but it in itself doesn't guarantee your safety.

Cheers,
Charles

I-Like-To-Bike 12-03-12 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 15009736)
In my own experiences, I find cars are much less likely to pull out in front of me if I'm running with a flashing light on in the front. This anecdote isn't scientific, but there are studies that say the same thing.

Really? What studies analyzed the effects of cyclists using a flashing light in front?

rydabent 12-03-12 08:35 AM

The trouble with "studies" is the fact the person that do them is basically out to prove his preconceived position is right. They will chose parameters that give his preconceived position an advantage. This is not unlike the group of people that claim bike helmets are of no use at all.

cplager 12-03-12 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15010076)
Really? What studies analyzed the effects of cyclists using a flashing light in front?

There are plenty of studies that demonstrate the human eye is more likely to notice a flashing light than a steady light. If you can't extrapolate from that, well, then...

I-Like-To-Bike 12-03-12 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 15010135)
There are plenty of studies that demonstrate the human eye is more likely to notice a flashing light than a steady light. If you can't extrapolate from that, well, then...

OK, got it. You "extrapolated" the results that fit your belief from some study from somewhere.

cplager 12-03-12 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 15010141)
OK, got it. You "extrapolated" the results that fit your belief from some study from somewhere.

So you don't like studies because they can't control for every variable. And you don't like extrapolation, because well, it's extrapolation. So, in what do you believe.

Yes, it is possible for people to selectively pick out the "facts" they want to go along with their preconceived ideas. Humans are like that.

I think most reasonable people try to take the evidence they have on hand and decide what is the best course of action based on the incomplete data they have at hand. Almost all safety experts agree that having lights on a bike makes it more visible and that is a good thing (this is nice summary of some of the effects that are important). If you don't want to believe that, that's fine.

I-Like-To-Bike 12-03-12 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 15010306)
So you don't like studies because they can't control for every variable. And you don't like extrapolation, because well, it's extrapolation.

I prefer opinions and guesses labeled as such, rather than the results of "studies that say the same thing [as my anecdotes]"

I don't like reference to unnamed studies, or reference to studies that are do not relate to the subject being discussed (in this case effects of forward facing flashing bicycling lights), or articles that have "conclusions" based on nothing but the conclusion writer's opinion, guesswork, and extrapolations not supported by the data on hand.


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