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Old 07-23-10, 10:51 PM   #1
johndeere
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Is fluorescent yellow really helpful?

So Menard's has been selling fairly nice fluorescent yellow t-shirts for 10$. I'm up to 3 now, the wife hates them by the way, although it's kinda cool that my son calls them "freakishly bright"

But I have a quandary, during the last month of days when I was trying to use them everyday on my commute I had strange things happen. I have always ridden on the road but I started getting people yelling at me to get off the road. Best one was by a guy in a pickup who was trying to block the painted-on-the-road bike path with his truck while he yelled at me.

Then I was having to avoid right-hooks, and even a left hook once. An older lady peering through her steering wheel almost ran me down in an intersection. I was getting paranoid, more than usual, because I could tell people were not seeing me. You know the look, you see them but they look right through you.

A co-worker, ex-LBS guy, and I were discussing this odd situation and came to conclusion that the fluorescent yellow is used on road workers and traffic signs, both of which are basically stationary compared to me on a bicycle, or an automobile. It may be that automobile drivers see fluorescent yellow and automatically think slow, easy to get around. I'm usually getting to 20+ mph between traffic controls so I don't think I'm registering correctly in their world when I'm wearing fluorescent yellow.

For the last 4 days I've switched back to my light colored t-shirts, not fluorescent, and everything seems to be back to normal. Might be to early to tell but I think I have some fluorescent yellow t-shirts for Goodwill.

And I do have blinkin lights front and back.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:00 PM   #2
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Might be they see you as too... how do i put this.. too much of a presence on the road. Whereas everything else is more subtle so you don't stand "out" in the road, so to speak. Plus it also makes you look slower.

I'd say wearing a jersey like this would probably get more attention without looking like a construction worker.

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Old 07-23-10, 11:14 PM   #3
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Interesting concept, fluur-yellow as identifying stationary road hazards.

Maybe you better switch to fluor-red and give the yellow shirts to your son. Maybe try a whip flag, too.

Last edited by dahut; 07-24-10 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:31 AM   #4
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I use the orange and the yellow ones at the rifle range, so I'm nice and visible to anyone at the line while I'm heading out to check targets at 200+ yards, but for the bike I don't really put as much effort into my clothing since I focus on the bike's visibility.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:37 AM   #5
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I run safety green (basically neon-yellow) tees quite a bit. Haven't experienced them making me more of a target for ire. I know I spot other riders a LOT easier in safety green, especially in the shade or during twilight hours.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:07 AM   #6
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Yes hi-vis lime yellow is an effective method of being seen. Then again so is a large caliber pistol in a shoulder rig.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:36 AM   #7
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My job takes me into traffic all the time and we always wear FYG with reflective stripes (ANSI Class 2 or 3 if you are into that sort of thing). Even with a high visibility light bar flashing away and a big FYG blob like myself in the roadway, I can assure you that many drivers behave as though they don't see me. Fact is, most people while driving are in their own self-centered world and don't give a rats arse about other drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists, or road workers. If it weren't the case, we wouldn't lose 40,000 lives each year to traffic crashes. Whether I am commuting on my Bianchi, driving my car, or riding my motorcycle, I treat every other person I encounter as a potential threat and assume that they are going to do something that could harm me. Yeah, being on high mental alert is draining but it beats the alternative.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:43 AM   #8
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This one might help. Has just enough fl yellow to get drivers attention. But the "smiley face" might get their attention too.

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The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. - Psalm 103:8
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Old 07-24-10, 11:10 AM   #9
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Hmmm. I have no doubt they make you more visible but I have a contrarian theory about that.

All those people who brush too close to you. Do you think it's because they didn't see you or do you suppose it's because they are trying to intimidate you? If you, like me, think it's the latter consider this: How do you suppose they choose their targets? Do you think those yahoos would be more inclined to assault a confident-looking rider in everyday clothes or the one with safety flags, winky-blinkies and wearing the dayglo shirt? Which one do you suppose they'd think would be easier to intimidate?
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Old 07-24-10, 12:04 PM   #10
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Lime-green (the color on pedestrian crossing signs) is the most visible color in all lighting conditions. When I was a firefighter our trucks were painted that color. Red, for example, appears to be black at night in poor light.



What is happening to you is that driver's are SEEING you for the first time. This is what YOU want.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:20 PM   #11
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Look at it this way,at least you'll have something going for you when it ends up in court.
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Old 07-24-10, 08:06 PM   #12
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i like the yellow. I don't ride much in heavy traffic and this is a decent bike town, so I can't say it really helps, but when I'm driving, I'm surprised how many dum basses ride in black or dark colors. I've been riding for 40 years, and I'm very conscious of bikes on the road, but particularly as I get older, all you Darth Vader clones are hard to see.
Occasionally in spring and fall my commute slops over into dusk, and I'm struck by how much more room drivers give me when I'm wearing bright colors than when I wear duller stuff. I can hear them slow down and move over way behind me, as opposed to swerving at the last minute when they realize I'm there.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:19 PM   #13
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This one might help. Has just enough fl yellow to get drivers attention. But the "smiley face" might get their attention too.


Man I came across a guy wearing this very same shirt today lol
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Old 07-25-10, 11:40 AM   #14
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The differences you saw when wearing the bright T-shirts was probably due to chance.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:45 PM   #15
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The differences you saw when wearing the bright T-shirts was probably due to chance.
This is what I'm thinking too. Just coincidence.
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Old 07-25-10, 03:01 PM   #16
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I generally wear bright orange ones while commuting, the majority of the ride is along shady tree lined roads and I feel safer wearing some god ugly unnatural color for visibility. The only scientific study I've encountered concerning the visibility of bicycle clothing was done by the Brits about ten years ago. They determined that bright clothing or contrasting clothing wasn't nearly as effective as wearing the colors of the local police bicycle patrol.
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Old 07-27-10, 08:03 PM   #17
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I've often thought about getting a jersey made up with "POLItE" printed on it with the "t" much smaller than the other letters.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:01 PM   #18
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I stopped wearing my green vest this year and I have noticed no difference. I have noticed now that I am on a road bike instead of a mountain bike that more drivers seem to take me seriously and seem less irritated or surprised that I am on the road.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:03 PM   #19
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I've often thought about getting a jersey made up with "POLItE" printed on it with the "t" much smaller than the other letters.
How about the word "POLICY?"
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Old 07-27-10, 09:43 PM   #20
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I have the exact opposite reaction with florescent yellow, being that I'm pretty much left alone for the most part. When I wear florescent lime green is when it seems to me that's when many more motorists start taking their gloves off.
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Old 07-29-10, 12:32 PM   #21
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I have a hi-viz kevlar suit that I wear when riding my motorcycle. The difference in visibility is palpable; other drivers notice me and behave accordingly. I think the extra attention you're getting is not an indication that the hi-viz is annoying people, but that when you weren't wearing it, they didn't see you at all.

So I'm a big believer in hi-viz.
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Old 07-29-10, 12:33 PM   #22
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I have noticed now that I am on a road bike instead of a mountain bike that more drivers seem to take me seriously and seem less irritated or surprised that I am on the road.
I find it hard to believe that any significant percentage of drivers can or would take notice of the type of bike you're riding. It's just not the sort of thing that would register.
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Old 07-29-10, 02:51 PM   #23
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Huh. And all this time I 've been using bicycling and motorcycling as excuses to wear freakishly bright garments and Krusty-the-Clown shoes...



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Old 07-30-10, 08:20 AM   #24
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The differences you saw when wearing the bright T-shirts was probably due to chance.
So you're saying drivers don't see a bright yellow shirt against the pine trees from a greater distance than they'd spot a black or dark green shirt?
Well, THAT makes sense....
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Old 07-30-10, 10:45 AM   #25
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I read somewhere that they were changing colors so immobile constructions stuff like cones, signs, etc was still the same colors (orange I think?) but the actual workers would wear a different color (reflective green I think?) so drivers could tell the difference between inanimate cones and actual people.

However, my gut feeling is that the other person probably has a point that perhaps wearing yellow has a more psychological effect with people who are deliberately trying to give you crap.
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