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Do motorists treat you better if you dress better?

Old 07-14-13, 09:06 PM
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AaronCommuter
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Do motorists treat you better if you dress better?

Years ago when I road, and dressed much more casually and was not too concerned about fashion. I don't remember, but I think most drivers did not give me much room, and some even honked at me to get completely off the road, or verbally told me to get out of the road.

Recently, I wore a button up dress shirt and my nicest blue genes. I live in a smaller town now instead of a big city, so maybe that is it. But all the motorist gave me the entire lane, passing in the other one. Many yelled compliments too.

Do you think how a cyclist dresses has a large impact on how they are treated?
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Old 07-14-13, 09:10 PM
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I've worn khakis and polos, jeans and t-shirts, a suit and tie, and my team kit. Personally, I can't correlate motorist behavior with my dress.
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Old 07-14-13, 09:31 PM
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What kind of compliments?
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Old 07-14-13, 10:54 PM
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Is there a male "Mary Poppins effect"? Doubt it... when I see other people riding dressed for California cubeville, my first impression is that they are nerds. (This makes me a hypocrite.) Seeing someone in a suit would just be strange. The other two major categories are fitness roadies, and "people of Wal-Mart" on cheap or old mountain bikes.
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Old 07-15-13, 03:57 AM
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I wouldn't have thought that how you dressed changed anything, but then no one is yelling compliments at me.
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Old 07-15-13, 04:03 AM
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I might try riding naked to see if there's any merit to this theory. Seriously though, I don't think the majority of drivers even register a bike's existence on the road let alone how well attired the rider is. It would be a nice thought though.
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Old 07-15-13, 07:39 AM
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I am convinced that they react to how you ride, more than how you dress. There are a few whose driving seems to be affected by perceived social status but it's rare. In my opinion.
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Old 07-15-13, 07:55 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by AaronCommuter View Post
Recently, I wore a button up dress shirt and my nicest blue genes. I live in a smaller town now instead of a big city, so maybe that is it. But all the motorist gave me the entire lane, passing in the other one. Many yelled compliments too.
I'm more inclined to think that the smaller town are just friendlier people who actually cares about one another. I don't really see too much of the car threatening cyclist up here. It's usually a one-off, compared to the rate that I hear about this stuff happening in the US...
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Old 07-15-13, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AaronCommuter View Post
Years ago when I road, and dressed much more casually and was not too concerned about fashion. I don't remember, but I think most drivers did not give me much room, and some even honked at me to get completely off the road, or verbally told me to get out of the road.

Recently, I wore a button up dress shirt and my nicest blue genes. I live in a smaller town now instead of a big city, so maybe that is it. But all the motorist gave me the entire lane, passing in the other one. Many yelled compliments too.

Do you think how a cyclist dresses has a large impact on how they are treated?
They mistook you for a JW.
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Old 07-15-13, 08:05 AM
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I think there's some study around that says you get more clearance if you are not wearing a helmet. Makes sense to me that the more pedestrian you look the more cautious drivers are.
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Old 07-15-13, 12:43 PM
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Around here, I've noticed the Lycra wearing cyclists get more deference than the planclothes guys (i.e. me). This is because I think they look like they're more serious or pro, and I look like a kid playing in traffic.

M.
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Old 07-15-13, 01:02 PM
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I'm a quirky person. I wear pink shirts a lot, and once, a passenger in a passing-by car leaned out and yelled, "Nice shirt ... QUEER!"

I once rode my old English 3-speed wearing suit and tie to a concert I was to perform in. I got people hollering and waving at me.
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Old 07-15-13, 03:33 PM
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I don't think it makes any difference. Drivers who hate cyclists don't hate them because of the clothes that they wearing but because they riding a bicycle on the road. It doesn't matter if you wearing a "castelli or rapha" cycling kit or a pair of cargo shorts and a tank top.
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Old 07-15-13, 04:08 PM
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I ride regularly w/road bike and full team kit and commute daily on a an upright Dutch commuter in work clothes (mostly polo and khakis, but occasional suit and tie). I seem to get more respect from motorists on the commute. Don't know if it's the clothes or the bike or both.
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Old 07-15-13, 04:47 PM
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According to one study, motorists will stay far, far away if you wear a clown wig while riding.
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Old 07-15-13, 06:03 PM
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The ONLY fashion effect on drivers' reactions to my presence on the road was ditching the helmet, much like the informal John Stossel report. I got more room after the fact.
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Old 07-16-13, 06:37 AM
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I wear cargo shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers on my commute; and have rare issues here.
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Old 07-16-13, 07:06 AM
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some of my thoughts

Originally Posted by TheReal Houdini View Post
I ride regularly w/road bike and full team kit and commute daily on a an upright Dutch commuter in work clothes (mostly polo and khakis, but occasional suit and tie). I seem to get more respect from motorists on the commute. Don't know if it's the clothes or the bike or both.
I wonder if it is more because the drivers are used to seeing you riding in that area. I have noticed the cars are basically the same cars as I ride my bike. I think they learn to look for you on the bike somewhat...maybe ..... That is if they are observant and aware drivers.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I'm a quirky person. I wear pink shirts a lot, and once, a passenger in a passing-by car leaned out and yelled, "Nice shirt ... QUEER!" I once rode my old English 3-speed wearing suit and tie to a concert I was to perform in. I got people hollering and waving at me.
I had a guy pull up beside while I was wearing my Cadillac jersey and he said "I like your Cadillac!" I thought that was pretty funny.


Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't think it makes any difference. Drivers who hate cyclists don't hate them because of the clothes that they wearing but because they riding a bicycle on the road. It doesn't matter if you wearing a "castelli or rapha" cycling kit or a pair of cargo shorts and a tank top.
I think that this so true. They are just ignorant of the laws and they think that their mode of transport is more important than our choice to ride a bike as transport. I really wish drivers ed did a better job of teaching students to share the road with bicyclists.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:47 AM
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I think clothes matters less than the way you ride. Ride safe and abide by the laws and you can pretty much wear anything you want.
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Old 07-26-13, 10:11 AM
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In my area I am probably the most serious looking commuter around since I graduated from mtn bike cargo shorts and tee to Castelli proshirts and bibs. Made the change for comfort and never looked back. Motorists give you a little more room because they think you are more serious. It could also be that I wear helmet, glasses and have a mirror and lights when its dark too......
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Old 07-26-13, 12:55 PM
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I have a sample size of 1, tested at a wide variety of points along the dress spectrum. My experience is that the addition of a tie makes a big difference to how people treat me. Beyond that, there's no noticeable difference between shorts with t-shirt and khakis with dress-shirt.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by AaronCommuter View Post
Recently, I wore a button up dress shirt and my nicest blue genes.

Do you think how a cyclist dresses has a large impact on how they are treated?
It's always the genes that make the cyclist, though doping can help quite a bit.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:43 PM
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I think it's less the clothing that you are wearing, and more the behaviors associated with the clothing. In my area, there are a lot of obnoxious roadies that will ride 2-4 abreast, block traffic flow on high-speed roads, and then curse at you when you move into the other lane to pass. Therefore, I avoid wearing lycra, ride courteously, and get generally good behavior from motorists.

I have noticed that when I leave for work a bit later than normal, the drivers are a bit worse, so I think there is something to RidingMatthew's idea. As drivers become less surprised to see a cyclist, they tend to behave better.
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Old 07-26-13, 02:28 PM
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I find the biggest difference is whether or not I remember to turn on my CatEye Rapid 5.




I get a lot more room.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:34 PM
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I think the more flashy cycling clothing you wear, the less drivers will respect you,
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