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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-07-05, 11:29 PM   #1
mac
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LED Reflective Safety Vests

I read threads about visibility, nighttime commuting, lights, and reflectors, but I haven't seen one about LED Reflective Safety Vests so I'll start one.

I need to leave the house around 5:30 AM so it's dark outside. And once fall/winter rolls around, it will be dark coming home, too. I found this LED Reflective Safety Vest to be quite helpful in the visibility dept. And I can also double as a Cal-Trans worker.
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Old 08-08-05, 08:53 AM   #2
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I started a thread about a LED vest a while back. It didn't get much of a response. Check here: Vu Vest - Safety vest with flashing LEDs
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Old 08-08-05, 09:07 AM   #3
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I have a safety vest - but now I am going to order one of these - if nothing else - it will help my partner's stress level of having me bike home at night.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:22 AM   #4
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I have one of those and love it. It is big enough to fit around a backpack, and is also one of the reasons why I am torn between the backpack/pannier solutions for carrying stuff. While it does fit around the backpack, it would look better if I did not have the backpack, but I am afraid that if I go the pannier route the panniers would get gunked up in the winter. I would like to find one carrying solution that I could use if I am on a bike, on a bus, or in a car, and a gunked-up pannier doesn't seem like the best thing to carry on my lap on a bus should that be necessary. But that's another issue; the vest is very cool and my wife is glad I have it.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:41 AM   #5
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This looks great, but I do have a couple of comments about function.

I wear a mesh 3/4 length vest with reflectors. It's designed for runners. Since the vest is short, I still have easy access to the pockets in my jersey. The ventilation is also good. I clip a blinkie to the neck.
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Old 08-08-05, 01:10 PM   #6
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A couple of comments on vests. Be sure to choose a vest that will display the most coverage for your type of riding.

For example if you ride on the drops, the reflectivity needs to be in the shoulders and under the arms not on the stomach. If you ride with a Camel or backpack, the reflectivity should be on the pack. If you do both, a vest may not be feisable at all!

If you do fast commutes but look like a (nearly stationary) construction worker, motorists may underestimate your speed. The vest may work better with a set of front and back lights.
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Old 08-11-05, 09:39 AM   #7
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This morning I saw a guy wearing a lime-green safety vest. He blended in so well with the trees that I didn't see him until he was nearly in front of me.

So be sure to choose a color that does not blend with your riding conditions. If you ride in a hi-folliage residential area choose the Orange because the Lime green blends in very well.
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Old 08-11-05, 03:28 PM   #8
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...except in fall.
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Old 08-11-05, 03:37 PM   #9
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I don't think the safety vest will work for some of common accidents. Drivers will think you are a ped and not a cyclists. They will never think you might be at any speed above 4 mph and will tend to pull in front of you. Better make sure your brakes are in tip top condition.
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Old 08-11-05, 06:44 PM   #10
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Nothing is perfect, and you will never be too visible. When people run into fire trucks that have lights and sirens blaring there is not much hope for someone on a quiet bike with a few led's blinking away. I do what I can and ride defensively, expecting drivers to do things that are not in my best interest. So far I'm getting away with it, but being more visible does tend to help.

As for foliage, my vest is yellow with orange stipes and reflective bands around it. If there is a tree around that looks like that my hope is that the drivers will be avoiding it anyway.
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Old 08-12-05, 12:02 AM   #11
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The vest is a bit much. I prefer the looks of this.
http://new.the-gadgeteer.com/review/...e_running_belt
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Old 08-12-05, 12:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
The vest is a bit much. I prefer the looks of this.
http://new.the-gadgeteer.com/review/...e_running_belt
Dude, that's not very visible. Nothing will show in the front since we cyclists are leaning forward and the only thing on the back is a thin LED line. My point is to be very noticable to the pre-dawn, pre-coffee, dazed & confused motorist.
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Old 02-01-06, 10:28 AM   #13
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I bought a couple of these for me and my kids to use when we are on our bikes and it is incredible how traffic slows down when they see us. They make me feel a lot safer riding at night knowing we can be seen. The price was extremely competetive too, http://www.spareabuck.com/ledsafetyvest.htm
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Old 02-01-06, 11:41 AM   #14
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These vests are fine in the winter when it's cold and daylight hours are minimal.

During the summer, it's a different story. These vest get real hot and they don't breathe! I also find having to go everywhere with them often makes you feel like some construction worker because taking it off means having to carry it in your hand. No good solution.
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Old 02-01-06, 11:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megatravel.ca
I bought a couple of these for me and my kids to use when we are on our bikes and it is incredible how traffic slows down when they see us. They make me feel a lot safer riding at night knowing we can be seen. The price was extremely competetive too, http://www.spareabuck.com/ledsafetyvest.htm
These look exactly like the same vests sold by LEDtronics (see my 1st post). They really reflect well and the red LEDs make it an active warning vest compared to trying to get a car's headlights to hit it.
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Old 02-01-06, 11:56 AM   #16
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Do the rhythm flashers drive you nuts or did you get the steady flashing version?

Also, I'm a larger guy and have a hard time finding cycling gear to fit (think size 48 jacket--for example, the Nathan and illumanite reflective vests don't fit). Any comments on sizing for the vest?
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Old 02-01-06, 11:59 AM   #17
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LEDTronics has an XXL version of the safety vest. I can't see the flashers when I'm riding, but I do see the reflections on stop signs. Doesn't bother me a bit.
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Old 02-01-06, 12:11 PM   #18
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Thanks Mac--that one looks like it'll do the trick.

I'll start another thread if this is too much of a highjack, but any consensus on color? I know some folks insist on "international safety orange," but the it seems that most jacket/vest manufacturers targeting cyclists give us the "hi-vis lime." I rarely see an orange cycling jacket or vest. I also know that both colors are ANSI approved for safety jackets but can anyone point to some real information about which is better in which conditions? (similar question on silver reflective tape v. yellow)

Thanks!
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Old 02-01-06, 12:11 PM   #19
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A couple of years ago, a local LBS had a "give away" price on a wide belt that was totally surrounded with battery powered flashing strobe lights. I used it a few times when I was taking long night rides in the city. I knew drivers could see it...I could hear them laughing as they went by...from a hundred yards away, the belt looks like a UFO.

I've gone to using two or three sets of rear strobes on the seatpost and chainstays...but they don't get the laughs the LED belt earned.
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Old 02-01-06, 12:17 PM   #20
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As for color, think about where you are going to ride. There's a lot of green in society - trees, grass, bushes, even cars are green. But you will hard-pressed to find orange and yellow. I think it's the contrast from what you see everyday that makes you stand out.
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Old 02-01-06, 03:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycoatl
Do the rhythm flashers drive you nuts or did you get the steady flashing version?

Also, I'm a larger guy and have a hard time finding cycling gear to fit (think size 48 jacket--for example, the Nathan and illumanite reflective vests don't fit). Any comments on sizing for the vest?
If you're just interested in reflective without LEDs, alertshirt makes reasonably priced vests up to 4XL.
http://www.alertshirt.com/ligclas2ves.html
They've also got a mesh version for warm weather.

Color-wise, ANSI Lime is more visible at night than ANSI Orange IMO. during the day, depends on the area somewhat but both are very visible. Use both for extra visibility . But I would never say that ANSI lime blends in with plant foliage. I have seen "hi-vis green" which is NOT the ANSI Lime color... and that green color does blend in somewhat.
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