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

kmv2 02-13-13 10:32 AM

Only time I've been hit by a car was when they hit me head on. This was shining straight at them and they still "didn't see me"


I suppose as a precaution high vis and lights help, but you can never account for people who simply can't drive.

Looigi 02-13-13 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobertFalfa (Post 15268727)
I question whether visibility is the most important factor in safety. ....

Around here in the northeast US, most roads have no shoulder and you're riding where cars routinely travel. If you were invisible, you'd get hit by the first or second car that happened by. The only reason you don't get is they see you and slow or move over so as not to hit you. Being seen is absolutely essential to surviving more than a few minutes on the road. Of course you can't be invisible and no matter what you wear, they will likely see you. It's just the more conspicuous your outfit, the more likely it is they will see you, and the further away the will see you giving them time to respond appropriately.

howsteepisit 02-13-13 01:11 PM

Just as curiosity, how many of you (us) believe that 90% of the drivers that claim to have not seen a cyclist are just out and out lying, as if claiming you did not see them give a free pass to running them over? Or perhaps its a self delusion to to protect the driver from internally accepting they just killed or almost killed someone? Or if not 90%, what percentage of "did not see them" are just flat out lies?

kmv2 02-13-13 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15269584)
Just as curiosity, how many of you (us) believe that 90% of the drivers that claim to have not seen a cyclist are just out and out lying, as if claiming you did not see them give a free pass to running them over? Or perhaps its a self delusion to to protect the driver from internally accepting they just killed or almost killed someone? Or if not 90%, what percentage of "did not see them" are just flat out lies?

Some are lying. I genuinely believe when I got hit that she did not see me. Scary.

We're not all perfect, but I've said it before. I don't think most accidents are accidental and with attentive driving they could be prevented.

As most typical Americans live 50km apart from everything and drive 20% over the limit on straightline high speed roads, after a couple of miles this kind of throws attentiveness out the window though as your brain sets into auto-pilot.

GrouchoWretch 02-13-13 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kmv2 (Post 15268939)
Only time I've been hit by a car was when they hit me head on. This was shining straight at them and they still "didn't see me"


I suppose as a precaution high vis and lights help, but you can never account for people who simply can't drive.

Maybe the driver thought you were a raccoon with a dive light.

Notso_fastLane 02-13-13 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daredevil (Post 15237160)
that's always been my mantra as well....my family will own anybody in court that says they didn't see me. :thumb:

That's mostly my thought as well. I know hi vis clothing won't help against those motorists most likely to hit a bicycle, i.e. the inattentive ones, but I would like to remove that excuse as much as possible.

I recently won a case against a driver for running me over on my motorcycle, while I was stopped at a stop sign. My motorcycle was large and white, with the headlight on, and I was wearing bright yellow gear. It didn't go all the way to court, just to an arbitrator, but when the other guy said he didn't see me, the look on the arbitrator's face was pretty amusing.

marqueemoon 02-13-13 01:43 PM

From my personal experience I find that it does help a little to wear a hi viz jacket in winter morning/evening commuting conditions which often involve rain and low light/fog.

Hardly a scientific test, but drivers seem to acknowledge me/react a little more quickly than when I wear a black jacket (running the same lights in either scenario).

No passive or active visibility measures are a substitute for good judgement though. I try to make myself visible but ride as if I am not.

kmv2 02-13-13 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GrouchoWretch (Post 15269630)
Maybe the driver thought you were a raccoon with a dive light.

ah ****, that's why those toothless guys in the beatup dodge Ram and wearing only overalls were trying to shovel me off the road into their pickup bed. Giggling to themselves and muttering about supper.

Chris516 02-13-13 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marqueemoon (Post 15269688)
From my personal experience I find that it does help a little to wear a hi viz jacket in winter morning/evening commuting conditions which often involve rain and low light/fog.

That is why, I got this hi-vis jacket: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400070__400070

And these gloves: http://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Izumi-Th...cycling+gloves

to hopefully help with being more visible. Red(flashing light) on yellow(hi-vis jacket), should amp up the visibility.

That is in addition to the red light I put on my back, that set to flash mode.

RobertFalfa 02-14-13 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris516 (Post 15271888)
That is in addition to the red light I put on my back, that set to flash mode.

From my experience driving, the flashers help with visibility. I'm less sure of the turn signal flashers. (They're in the short video in that article I posted earlier: http://www.recreati.com/2013/01/25/toward-a-safer-bike/) It's a cool DIY project, but would turn signals add to my safety? Really? I think if a motorist sees me, and I'm being cautious, the turn signal won't contribute that much.

kmv2 02-14-13 09:15 AM

1 Attachment(s)
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=299312

smasha 02-15-13 07:01 AM

science! - http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tudy-on-hi-viz

daredevil 02-15-13 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 15276345)

how about a quick synopsis? I'm lazy. ;)

smasha 02-15-13 07:57 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by daredevil (Post 15276456)
how about a quick synopsis? I'm lazy. ;)

hi-viz doesn't hurt, usually. there are some real-world situations where plain white or even plain black would actually make you more conspicuous than hi-viz.

edit:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=299440

njkayaker 02-16-13 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 15276507)
hi-viz doesn't hurt, usually. there are some real-world situations where plain white or even plain black would actually make you more conspicuous than hi-viz.

edit:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=299440


The photo shows a case where being distinguishable doesn't matter. That is, the person isn't less safe in this case.

Chris516 02-16-13 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobertFalfa (Post 15272724)
From my experience driving, the flashers help with visibility. I'm less sure of the turn signal flashers. (They're in the short video in that article I posted earlier: http://www.recreati.com/2013/01/25/toward-a-safer-bike/) It's a cool DIY project, but would turn signals add to my safety? Really? I think if a motorist sees me, and I'm being cautious, the turn signal won't contribute that much.

I definitely agree.

jputnam 02-16-13 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 15276507)
hi-viz doesn't hurt, usually. there are some real-world situations where plain white or even plain black would actually make you more conspicuous than hi-viz.

edit:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=299440

Surely hi-viz orange would be better than white or black for standing out against that background?

smasha 02-16-13 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jputnam (Post 15281381)
Surely hi-viz orange would be better than white or black for standing out against that background?

maybe... but being visually conspicuous based on contrast with ones visual background is (a) observer dependant and (b) constantly changing in real-world conditions. you've seen orange vehicles, right? around here we've got lots of buses that are bright orange. what happens when you stand in front of an orange bus with orange hi-viz ;)

the point isn't that some "hi-viz" works better than others in certain situations - the point is that ANY "hi-viz" can be rendered "invisible" under real-world circumstances. in many cases, the best hi-viz is "normal" clothes. hi-viz doesn't "make drivers see you".

riding into a beautiful sunset, orange hi-viz would render you "invisible" to observers from behind. safety-yellow can easily be camouflage when grass or trees are on the other side of you.

howsteepisit 02-16-13 05:59 PM

Perhaps the goal of wearing any kind of hi-viz clothing is not to increase visibility in all conceivable circumstances, but to make the odds the best they can be in most circumstances?

daredevil 02-16-13 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15281772)
Perhaps the goal of wearing any kind of hi-viz clothing is not to increase visibility in all conceivable circumstances, but to make the odds the best they can be in most circumstances?

There ya go! :thumb:

Well said.

smasha 02-16-13 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15281772)
Perhaps the goal of wearing any kind of hi-viz clothing is not to increase visibility in all conceivable circumstances, but to make the odds the best they can be in most circumstances?

it may be... but there are still real-world circumstances where hi-viz will make the person wearing it less conspicuous.

don't mis-read that as an attack against hi-viz, which i do think tends to effectively increase conspicuity under many real-world situations; read it as an argument against mandatory hi-viz, on the basis that it would force people to wear it when conditions are contra-indicative.

howsteepisit 02-16-13 09:47 PM

No I read that as a "I need to be right , no matter how infrequently the case where I am correct arises." But I too, am not in any way in favor of most any mandatory cycling safety/non-safety gear. In my opinion, it is the responsibility of all cyclists to determine the number and type of personal safety devises/gear they utilize based on their own evaluation of the risk and conditions. Some kind of light and reflector after dark excepted, I think those ought to be mandatory.

smasha 02-16-13 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15282356)
No I read that as a "I need to be right , no matter how infrequently the case where I am correct arises."

when you read the full-text of the study i posted in the other thread, you might find that those infrequent edge cases aren't as infrequent as you think - http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tudy-on-hi-viz

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15282356)
But I too, am not in any way in favor of most any mandatory cycling safety/non-safety gear. In my opinion, it is the responsibility of all cyclists to determine the number and type of personal safety devises/gear they utilize based on their own evaluation of the risk and conditions. Some kind of light and reflector after dark excepted, I think those ought to be mandatory.

i think we'd mostly agree on that.

pilate7004 02-18-13 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsteepisit (Post 15269584)
Just as curiosity, how many of you (us) believe that 90% of the drivers that claim to have not seen a cyclist are just out and out lying, as if claiming you did not see them give a free pass to running them over? Or perhaps its a self delusion to to protect the driver from internally accepting they just killed or almost killed someone? Or if not 90%, what percentage of "did not see them" are just flat out lies?

Another angle on this is that the human perception is very "plastic." Ever spent time looking for your keys, toured the whole house and eventually found them somewhere obvious that you could swear you looked over before? Stage magicians leverage this "plasticity" deliberately in their craft. It doesn't take much to draw somebody's attention this way or that so as to render things effectively invisible. Cyclists on the road are quite a bit more evident than a silk handkerchief poked into a magician's hand, but under the wrong random circumstances something like this is bound to occur.

I'm sure that you are also right howsteepisit, in that most drivers who hit a cyclist would do anything to avoid accepting their culpability for negligent driving (both for internal psychological reasons as well as legal ones). There is probably a whole raft of circumstances between "actually did not see" and "did see, but just decided to mow you down anyway" that constitute the bulk of the cases. For instance, I'm sure some people have trained themselves out of swerving into the adjacent lane to the extent that they can't actually do it when it's necessary to avoid a cyclist. Stuff like that.

hotbike 02-20-13 06:16 PM

Well, a reflective vest won't help you float if you fall off a pier, it's not a "flotation vest" .

Also, reflective vest is not fire-retardant. And it's not a "Bulletproof" vest either, so try to avoid getting shot at.

I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it's the truth.


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