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  1. #1
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    Rock your fluoro lemon yellow-green

    Stay visible!

    Eye-catching fluorescent yellow-green popular on the road, but has some seeing red
    Wednesday, October 01, 2008
    By Cristina Rouvalis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Anita Dufalla/PG IllustrationFluorescent yellow-green is the new black in Pittsburgh.

    With road construction almost everywhere, schools back in session and more bicyclists on the road, it's arguably the most visible color in our urban and suburban landscape. The yellow-green that pops off the color chart like a firecracker first appeared on school safety signs, and has spread to construction cones, safety worker vests, fire trucks and even the runningwear that was seen in Pittsburgh's Great Race on Sunday.

    Whether the neon yellow-green is an innovative traffic stopper or an assault on your eyeballs depends on your sense of color.

    "It really pops. It looks really bright. That's the deal," said Dave Burns, a 3M senior research specialist who helped design the technology to make it a roadside color. The human eye is especially sensitive to this safety color, he said, and motorists slow down.

    Critics say there is bright, and then there is garish overkill.

    "It's like having Paris Hilton to lunch every day," said Nick Hale, a psycho-physicist and color consultant who lives in Florida. "It's too much."

    The crosswalk color was the reason an angry New York woman called up Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, a few years ago.

    "I have a problem with you," the woman screamed into the phone.

    "What can it be?" replied Ms. Eiseman, whose company provides professional color standards for the design industry.

    "I understand that you are the guru of color in the United States and you allowed those people to use that disgusting, obnoxious yellow green at crosswalks. It makes me angry."

    Ms. Eiseman had to talk the woman down and explain that she had nothing to do with the selection of color by the Federal Highway Administration.

    And you are likely to see even more of fluorescent yellow-green because the Federal Highway Administration has proposed a new standard that would require it for school zones and school bus warnings. The government agency recommends, but doesn't require, the color for pedestrian crossings, school zones and bike areas.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation sometimes uses the yellow-green for some construction sites, a spokesman said, because it does not blend into the foliage and show the dirt as did the old orange cones.

    Though you won't find the color in many high-end boutiques, it suits crossing guard Elaine Kelly just fine. She dons a fluorescent yellow-green vest as she faces down traffic hurtling down Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon, stopping commuters at the crosswalk in front of Washington Elementary School. "I don't care, if it's orange or green, as long as they see me on the street and don't run me over."

    In fact, she prefers the fluorescent green, saying it stands out better than orange.

    Crossing guards wouldn't be wearing such traffic-stopping garments if there had not been an innovation in fluorescent paint coverings at 3M in the late 1990s.

    The same quality that makes fluorescent yellow-green so bright also makes it so fragile. Ultraviolet rays -- invisible rays found in sunlight -- excite the fluorescent colors, making them more visible than traditional orange, especially at dawn and twilight. But the ultraviolet light used to destroy the colorant after just a few months.

    Mr. Burns and a few other 3M scientists solved that problem in the mid 1990s by developing a way to stabilize fluorescent colorants so it no longer degrades in the sunlight, Mr. Burns said. Now fluorescent yellow-green colorants can withstand the elements for up to 10 years.

    And in 1998, the Federal Highway Administration tested out the fluorescent yellow-green on school crossings instead of the traditional bright yellow. "The motorists do behave differently," Mr. Burns said. "They slowed more when they came up to the pedestrian crossing. There are fewer conflicts with drivers slamming on their breaks. They could differentiate the pedestrians."

    In 2000, the fluorescent yellow-green was designated the official color for pedestrian traffic. Reflective yellow-green replaced bright yellow at school crosswalks.

    Of critics who call it too vivid, Mr. Burns said, "There is always a fine line between providing the driver roadway information and being aesthetically pleasing."

    Ms. Eiseman of Pantene says the color -- the hottest of the greens -- has so much pop because it is such a saturated hue. Maybe too saturated in her view. "I get it, but of all the greens available to choose from, my choice would be a little more subtle, not so in-your-face, knock-your-socks-off green."

    Other color experts found it more inspiring.

    "I think it's great," said Kathleen J. Dutka, owner of Color My Space, an interior decorating firm in Upper St. Clair. "Your eyes go directly toward it. Maybe it is just because it is so different than orange and red colors. If you go down the turnpike and see all those red flashing lights, you can hardly drive. But the green doesn't seem to affect your eyes so much. It doesn't blind you, but you notice it."

    Ms. Dutka uses a muted version -- an apple green -- in decorating and loves it. But she is not sure if the color would cross over to fashion. "I don't care what color your hair is, fluorescent lime green is not going to do much for anybody."

    Ms. Eiseman thinks the color is tricky for fashion because the fluorescent green reflects onto the face. "It would be good for a kid for Halloween if the Hulk was one of his favorite characters."

    It's definitely hard to look chic in screaming green neon, says Allison Casey of Ben Avon and her three other sister fashion stylists. Collectively, they are known as the Style Sisters.

    "Usually when we are asked what constitutes 'traffic-stopping style,' " they wrote in an e-mail, "neon anything is not on our list. Would a Style Sister be caught dead in such a color? Well, if we were working a construction site, it definitely serves its purpose, and is certainly preferable to actually being caught dead."

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Whiners aside most folk's would choose to live rather than worry about if a color was
    "to" bright.

    One thing I'm not is a fashion slave.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  3. #3
    SA[in]NE FredOak's Avatar
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    I'd rather be green then beaned or yellow then a dead fellow!
    I just need enough to tide me over until I need more.
    - Bill Hoest

  4. #4
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Slow news day?

  5. #5
    Where am I?
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    The crosswalk color was the reason an angry New York woman called up Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, a few years ago.

    "I have a problem with you," the woman screamed into the phone.

    "What can it be?" replied Ms. Eiseman, whose company provides professional color standards for the design industry.

    "I understand that you are the guru of color in the United States and you allowed those people to use that disgusting, obnoxious yellow green at crosswalks. It makes me angry."
    I would have simply explained that when you are angry over a color being too bright - particularly concerning items that are meant to be visible to enhance safety - it is 99% certain that you have much larger personal and psych problems that you need to deal with.

    "It's like having Paris Hilton to lunch every day," said Nick Hale, a psycho-physicist and color consultant who lives in Florida. "It's too much."
    Could someone please explain to me what it is that a psycho-physicist does? And why a quote from them involving Paris Hilton is considered "expert" enough to put in the article?




    BTW, I am a color consultant as well. Show me something, give me fifty bucks, and I will tell you what color it should be.

  6. #6
    GATC
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    That chartreuse is supposed to be the most visible wavelength to the human eye.

    So, any recs for a rainjacket w/ pit zips and backflaps in that color? My burley is blue which is totally ninja unless cars are shining their lights at the reflective parts. But even the 'yellow' raincoats that have good venting are not the blinding stuff, that is the good **** that I need to really be visible.

  7. #7
    Go Leafs kgriffioen's Avatar
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    I always get a kick out of the improper use of of the english language by people who call themselves "journalists". In this case "breaks" vs "brakes". I guess the spell check doesn't always work.

  8. #8
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    Boy, that reminds me. I gotta get another vest. Mine's not quite as bright as it was when it was new. Checked out the Harbor Freight ones for like five bucks, but they don't have the vertical strips of reflective tape, only horizontal. The twenty buck one at Home Depot has both vertical and horizontal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    I finally found these flouro-nuclear safety green shirts on Amazon made by Gildan. They're fairly decent quality and inexpensive.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    That chartreuse is supposed to be the most visible wavelength to the human eye.

    So, any recs for a rainjacket w/ pit zips and backflaps in that color? My burley is blue which is totally ninja unless cars are shining their lights at the reflective parts. But even the 'yellow' raincoats that have good venting are not the blinding stuff, that is the good **** that I need to really be visible.
    One easy option is to pick whatever rain jacket suits your needs, then put on an affordable ANSI Class II neon-lime reflective vest over it The high-quality OmniBrite tape is highly reflective, and retains its reflectivity even when wet (unlike the satin-finish silver stuff that tends to lose a lot of its reflectivity when wet).

    I personally use some of each (the vest with glossy OmniBrite, plus some added satin-silver 3M iron-on stuff). For those interested in the iron-on route, see my prior thread and photos here: Iron-on reflective tape pictures :) This is not for perfectionists and the fashion-concious, it's visibility equipment intended to show like crazy when headlights hit it in the dark. It might look a little haggard up close, but that's not why you do it


    That jacket is the Pearl Izumi "screaming yellow" flourescent lime. As you can see, reflective material is still far more visible when lights hit me in darkness.


    The ANSI vest worn over the modified Pearl Izumi jacket. Again, while bright colors are good, reflectivity can be far better in suitable conditions.

  11. #11
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    nice one, mechBgon!

    It's flouro neon yellow time in the NW again - this morning there was thick fog around Puget Sound Region for the first real time this fall; and the days this far north are just kind of dim all around.

    I notice cyclists in screaming yellow from way out during all daytime conditions compared to drab attired riders.

    The brightest waterproof cycling jackets last season seemed to be one of the Endura jackets- I mean we are talking offensively bright yellow.... but it had limited ventilation so it was a no go.

    Haven't seen any over the top rain shells for the 2009 season yet... I haven't seen the Endura jackets yet.

    HardyWeinberg, there are some nice lightweight jackets from Showers' Pass - I think its' the club- or the century- jacket? that are quite bright, lightweight and well vented w/ pit zips. (very much like a cycling specific version of the nearly classic Marmot Precip jackets) the yellow isn't quite the flouro screaming lime yellow the Endura jacket was...

    I've been really dissatisfied with the vest offerings from the cycling manufacturers, so this fall I cobbed together a custom neon yellow vest out of a Bellwether windshell jacket. I took the sleeves off, made them into front interior pockets and back pockets and added sew-on vinyl 'flecco tape for added visibility. I get too hot in jackets a lot of the time, and wanted a trimmer fit than the ANSI vest I've ridden 10s of thousands of miles in.

    ...new vest, hasty pic....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bekologist; 10-02-08 at 12:44 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  12. #12
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Nice custom vest! And it addresses a shortcoming of a lot of vests, by having reflective tape down lower.

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'm thinking of adding some more tape from the shoulder blades over the top but can't figure out the best placement of the tape for the front. a lot of the tape on my ANSI II vest seems hidden.


    to all still debating their winter visibility strategy, there are more flouro lime yellow windbreaker jackets than waterproof jackets available- there's really good, highly visible lightweight nnon-waterproof cycling jackets and vests available (Pearl Izumi and Belleweather spring to mind) but the reflective piping on almost all cycling wear is marginal at best.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 10-02-08 at 12:50 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  14. #14
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Neon green is ugly but it works. Actually, I'm starting to think it's so ugly that it's cool. I was convinced one winter morning while biking to work in the dark when I spotted a jogger wearing a neon green jacket about 1/2-mile in front of me. Most of the joggers around here seem to prefer black or gray so they blend into the pavement, but this guy really stood out. I've used a neon green vest for years and got a winter jacket in that color last year, but I never realized how effective it was until I came up on that jogger one day.

  15. #15
    Enjoy
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    Bek, Jacket Mods ay? ...there'll be no stop'n ya now
    Mec, Good timing on these posts. I couldn't find a Schoeller B so ordered the fab from Canada. I was just wondering about reflectivity. If it comes out good, I'll post the new jacket in a couple of weeks. I started the jacket this week.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    nice one, mechBgon!

    It's flouro neon yellow time in the NW again - this morning there was thick fog around Puget Sound Region for the first real time this fall; and the days this far north are just kind of dim all around.

    I notice cyclists in screaming yellow from way out during all daytime conditions compared to drab attired riders.

    The brightest waterproof cycling jackets last season seemed to be one of the Endura jackets- I mean we are talking offensively bright yellow.... but it had limited ventilation so it was a no go.

    Haven't seen any over the top rain shells for the 2009 season yet... I haven't seen the Endura jackets yet.

    HardyWeinberg, there are some nice lightweight jackets from Showers' Pass - I think its' the club- or the century- jacket? that are quite bright, lightweight and well vented w/ pit zips. (very much like a cycling specific version of the nearly classic Marmot Precip jackets) the yellow isn't quite the flouro screaming lime yellow the Endura jacket was...

    I've been really dissatisfied with the vest offerings from the cycling manufacturers, so this fall I cobbed together a custom neon yellow vest out of a Bellwether windshell jacket. I took the sleeves off, made them into front interior pockets and back pockets and added sew-on vinyl 'flecco tape for added visibility. I get too hot in jackets a lot of the time, and wanted a trimmer fit than the ANSI vest I've ridden 10s of thousands of miles in.

    ...new vest, hasty pic....

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