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High visibility gear

Old 01-27-21, 10:53 PM
  #1  
gauvins
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High visibility gear

Even though the evidence on the efficacy of high vis gear appears to be inconclusive, I suppose that it falls in the "might as well" category...

What is your take on this? More specifically -- jacket vs vest vs "harness"? Is there an agreed upon "best" garment? Any downside?
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Old 01-27-21, 11:26 PM
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I don't wear so much in hi-vis clothing, but on my bike in front and back of the bike I have neon green bags strapped on.
If I were to wear clothing, it would probably be blaze orange as that's what most road workers wear, and probably a well ventilated vest
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Old 01-27-21, 11:27 PM
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Old 01-28-21, 03:03 AM
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Nice video on Natchez Trace website about visibility.
https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view...BC902692036668
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Old 01-28-21, 04:20 AM
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I donít go out of my way when it comes to jerseys, buy reflective striping on things like rain jackets and pants are a selling point. And my Ortliebs have large, reflective panels.
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Old 01-28-21, 06:02 AM
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I went to a company in Sydney OZ, to buy the same high visibility vests that they supply the police here minus the emblems of the police force on it, and I can tell you nobody misses seeing me when I am riding. I got an summer and winter version. They cost just under $100 for both. And I do not ride unless I have one of them on. When I am stopped somewhere, off the bike, you can hear the brakes go on on the vehicles when they see me. I wont ride without them.

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Old 01-28-21, 07:47 AM
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Being the touring forum, I assume this is daytime and not night time.

I drove a motorcycle for several decades and from that it was my opinion that the most important days to worry about visibility were days with overcast and not enough sun to create shadows. Those were the days that I had the most close calls with car drivers acting as if I was invisible.

I think that yellowish green high visibility is best. Reflective does not help much if the car driver lights are off, but some people drive with lights on all the time or in overcast so it certainly can't hurt. And if a car was going to pull out in front of you from the side, their headlights would not be aimed in a way to make any reflective material accomplish anything.

I have a couple of windbreaker jackets that have zip off sleeves that I can convert to vests that are that greenish yellow. They are somewhat fadded but still is pretty good. And touring I usually wear jerseys of that color. In this example, that color seems to work well.




If you take a tour with Adventure Cycling Assoc., they issue you a triangle and mandate you have that on your bike or body. I have a couple of those and have decided to use those even when I am not riding with that group. On the trip from the photo below, one day I put the triangle on my left pannier instead of centered on rack top bag and it might be my imagination, but I think that car drivers started to give me more room when that triangle was on my left side. From now on I put that on the left pannier. (If I toured in UK, on the right side instead.)



The taillights in the photo above are pretty dim in the photo, but I usually have one on in flash mode, the other as a spare. But in rain and overcast, usually have both on in flash mode. But night time I have one or both on in constant on mode. They are pretty bright after a week of use, but I charge up the batteries after a week to make sure they stay bright.

I am not sure why the lights were so much brighter in the photo below, but maybe I got lucky and shot the photo just as both of them flashed?



I got my bright yellow rain jacket exchanged on warranty, I was pretty bummed that the most visible choice I had for a replacement was red, which is what I got. But on a rainy day, my taillights will be more important than my jacket color. And in this photo red does not look that bad.



I have considered sewing reflective stuff on my windbreakers, bought some reflective material. But have not gotten around to it yet. I bought the reflective material so that I could make my windbreakers conform with RUSA requirements for night riding on a brevet. I list their requirements here if you are interested.
https://rusa.org/reflectivity

Your question, vest or jacket or harness, what is best? Touring I have high vis jerseys and a windbreaker jacket that can convert to vest with zip off sleeves. All with that greenish yellow color.

Downsides? You have to buy it if you do not yet own it. And it makes it more obvious when you have done laundry.

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Old 01-28-21, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Being the touring forum, I assume this is daytime and not night time.
Exactly.

I like the idea of the hi-viz triangle. Will try to find them -- feels like a better alternative than clothing

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Downsides? You have to buy it if you do not yet own it. And it makes it more obvious when you have done laundry.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:37 AM
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I don't go out of my way, e.g. reflective vest. However, when I have other choices, I'll pick for a brighter color that stands out. For example, red panniers instead of black; red rain jacket instead of dark blue. Shirts I most wear are a brighter green or yellow or lighter colors. I have a cycling jacket in the neon green that I sometimes wear when it makes sense to have a jacket.

I pretty much avoid riding in the dark, except for a very occasional case where I am make a very early start for a particular reason e.g. extreme desert heat. In those cases it is lights and everything and preferably on untraveled roads where it isn't a big deal to even pull off for a very occasional vehicle. I'll have taillight/headlight for tunnels and strong overcast/fog conditions but don't run that during normal bright or sunny conditions.

Not a big deal to make some choices along the way for more visibility but also not OCD for those choices.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Exactly.

I like the idea of the hi-viz triangle. Will try to find them -- feels like a better alternative than clothing

I did not check to see if you have to be a member or not, I assume they ship to Canada.
https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyc...fety-triangle/

I do not know if the Canadian Amazon carries this or not.
https://www.amazon.com/Jog-Lite-8512...dp/B0006IW554/

That said, I like both the triangle and clothing.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:55 AM
  #11  
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Maybe ten years ago a friend gave me a spare hi-vis jacket. Anecdotally, I'll swear it made a difference in the amount of room and respect I got from motorists, in all conditions. Since then, I've replaced it twice as it fades out, every three years or so. I have several hi-vis T-shirts, long and short sleeve, for summer riding.

I once heard a motorist opine that he was getting "hi-vis burnout." It seems everyone is wearing it these days and it's now the norm, not the exception. I can't say I agree and I still wear mine literally all the time I'm on the road bike.

I also have lights for poor visibility conditions and the occasional night trip (once a week beer fest). I don't commute any more so I only go through maybe one set of batteries a year. Lights get switched on if I can't see my shadow, and if I need to ride in a traffic lane. Most of my riding is in sunshine and dedicated bike lanes.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:55 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Is there an agreed upon "best" garment?
Studies of motorcyclists could only correlate bright white helmets (vs dark or graphic covered helmets and the color of any gear) with reduced auto-driver-at-fault collision rates. Were these helmets actually more noticeable, or were riders who chose bright white helmets somehow inherently safer, more situationally aware, sixth-sense riders?

Other safety studies with motorcyclists indicated the color of anything was several orders of magnitude down from running with lights on.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:06 AM
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Like @mev, I'll go for lighter colors when buying clothes if possible. In daytime, I think bright colors are more important than lights. I base this opinion on a group ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway when it was raining. An outlier in the group had 8-10 of the brightest available lights flashing madly as I rounded the curve and saw him perhaps a quarter mile up the hill. But it wasn't the lights that caught my attention. It was the bright rain jacket and pants. I didn't even notice the lights until I closed to within less than 100 yards of him.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:23 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Studies of motorcyclists could only correlate bright white helmets (vs dark or graphic covered helmets and the color of any gear) with reduced auto-driver-at-fault collision rates. Were these helmets actually more noticeable, or were riders who chose bright white helmets somehow inherently safer, more situationally aware, sixth-sense riders?

Other safety studies with motorcyclists indicated the color of anything was several orders of magnitude down from running with lights on.
Interesting, and more or less similar to what I found wrt bicycles. One thing perhaps -- motorcycles are more likely to be involved in a frontal collision (ex: a car overtaking another without realising that a motorcycle is coming in the "passing" lane). Whereas the situation I am concerned about is being hit from behind by a car/truck that will not wait before being in a position to safely overtake me, if an other vehicle prevents the driver from giving me a wide berth.

This being said, there's a recent law (2 years ago, perhaps) mandating drivers to give a wide berth when overtaking. I don't remember the exact terms. Certainly a minimum of 1 meter (3 feet), perhaps 2. I was shocked reading comments (on FB and news sites). I remember one saying that if he had to choose between a face to face collision and running over a cyclist, he would not hesitate one second (and over run the cyclist). In other words, the thought of slowing down until it was safe to overtake didn't occur to him, or seemed ridiculous. (I've also endured a faire share of insults from drivers shouting that roads belong to car/trucs ....)

I am not convinced that hi-viz gear will make these drivers any brighter.

Last edited by gauvins; 01-28-21 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:33 AM
  #15  
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I almost always wear a high vis jersey or jacket, yellow or orange whether touring or for day rides unless I'm riding a trail without vehicles. The sooner a vehicle can pick me up, the greater the amount of time he has to compensate for me. I'll even run day time lights since today's technology makes them highly visible for long distances even on a bright sunny day. Studies show that wearing high vis clothing on moving parts, such as your socks, the eye will likely pick up more quickly as well. With today's distracted drivers, it's even more important imho.
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Old 01-28-21, 11:40 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
.... I was shocked reading comments (on FB and news sites). I remember one saying that if he had to choose between a face to face collision and running over a cyclist, he would not hesitate one second (and over run the cyclist). In other words, the thought of slowing down until it was safe to overtake didn't occur to him, or seemed ridiculous. (I've also endured a faire share of insults from drivers shouting that roads belong to car/trucs ....)

I am not convinced that hi-viz gear will my these drivers any brighter.
In Iceland I was riding along in the traffic lane, there is maybe 6 inches (13 cm) of pavement on the edge of the road out of the traffic lane, steep embankment beyond the shoulder. A pickup truck decides to pass someone, so suddenly I have a pickup about 50 to 70 meters ahead of me coming towards me at full highway speed. I was so sure that he would see me and duck back into his lane, I stayed in the lane where I was. A few seconds later when he is only about 30 meters from me, it is clear that he does not care about me and I only have a second to get out of the way, so I try to get onto that few inch width of pavement out of the lane without going over the embankment, and the truck driver was adjacent to the car as they both passed me. It shocked me so much that it took a few minutes to actually believe that it happened, from start to finish was only a few seconds.

The high viz gear did not help at all. All cars there have their headlights on, my frontroller panniers have a big reflective patch on each that should have lit up too, but that did not help. But he was so close to me I can't figure out how he could have not seen me.
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Old 01-28-21, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Maybe ten years ago a friend gave me a spare hi-vis jacket. Anecdotally, I'll swear it made a difference in the amount of room and respect I got from motorists, in all conditions. Since then, I've replaced it twice as it fades out, every three years or so. I have several hi-vis T-shirts, long and short sleeve, for summer riding.

I once heard a motorist opine that he was getting "hi-vis burnout." It seems everyone is wearing it these days and it's now the norm, not the exception. I can't say I agree and I still wear mine literally all the time I'm on the road bike.

I also have lights for poor visibility conditions and the occasional night trip (once a week beer fest). I don't commute any more so I only go through maybe one set of batteries a year. Lights get switched on if I can't see my shadow, and if I need to ride in a traffic lane. Most of my riding is in sunshine and dedicated bike lanes.
Maybe it's only because he noticed people wearing that color.
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Old 01-28-21, 05:30 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by ricrunner View Post
I went to a company in Sydney OZ, to buy the same high visibility vests that they supply the police here minus the emblems of the police force on it, and I can tell you nobody misses seeing me when I am riding. I got an summer and winter version. They cost just under $100 for both. And I do not ride unless I have one of them on. When I am stopped somewhere, off the bike, you can hear the brakes go on on the vehicles when they see me. I wont ride without them.
I had a neighbor who was a prison guard and he wore an official issue reflective vest when riding. As a driver, when I saw him riding he stood out to me significantly more than other hi-vis gear I see. The professionals get the good stuff.
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Old 01-30-21, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
In Iceland I was riding along in the traffic lane, there is maybe 6 inches (13 cm) of pavement on the edge of the road out of the traffic lane, steep embankment beyond the shoulder. A pickup truck decides to pass someone, so suddenly I have a pickup about 50 to 70 meters ahead of me coming towards me at full highway speed. I was so sure that he would see me and duck back into his lane, I stayed in the lane where I was. A few seconds later when he is only about 30 meters from me, it is clear that he does not care about me and I only have a second to get out of the way, so I try to get onto that few inch width of pavement out of the lane without going over the embankment, and the truck driver was adjacent to the car as they both passed me. It shocked me so much that it took a few minutes to actually believe that it happened, from start to finish was only a few seconds.

The high viz gear did not help at all. All cars there have their headlights on, my frontroller panniers have a big reflective patch on each that should have lit up too, but that did not help. But he was so close to me I can't figure out how he could have not seen me.
I figure we've all had this happen to us a few times. The last time I remember was a big truck passing a big truck , I was surprised but because I had a good shoulder I actually found it bemusing and actually laughed as it was not a dangerous situation really, just a "what a jerk" situation. It was on one of my trips either in Mexico or somewhere, don't recall, but I'd have to say that truck drivers there are nearly all to a fault very courteous and professional , so I didn't get upset and as I had lots of room, it wasn't a dicey situation at all.
made one hell of a WOOOOSH though.
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Old 01-30-21, 07:19 AM
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Gauvins, as car drivers, I figure that we all are aware of how we notice lighter and brighter colours on cyclists from far off compared to all dark colours. I've ridden lots with dark jerseys but at the same time, I've always liked having my rear orange panniers and my bright yellow rackpack on top of the panniers.
I also found and tied a bright red piece of felt to the rack pack handles, and like how it moves back and forth up against the yellow, thinking that it will help attract a drivers eye.

I figure a good triangle on your left pannier will always help.

I've never really used lights in the daytime, but am certain that eye catching lighter colours and shapes on the bike will always help in the situations like shown above--murky lighting, or "shadow / sun, shadow / sun " especially in a corner where a drivers eyes are used to bright sun and they are wearing dark sunglasses and their vision hasnt adjusted to shade---to me, this last situation is the most "real life" dangerous situation--and where I am on high alert and using my mirror in advance and being very situationally aware of what is going on and watching a cars behaviour (and a strong reason why I prefer my helmet mounted mirror)
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Old 01-30-21, 02:22 PM
  #21  
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I have some hi-viz t-shirts, but they are getting old. In my last tour, I needed a new helmet. Since my wife was coming to spend the weekend with me, I asked her to get me one. The local bike shop gave her two different ones for me to try. I chose one that was hi-viz yellow, and I love it. She also brought me a hi-viz, mesh vest. I didn't ask for it, but I found I really like it. It was comfortable, and did not make me feel hotter. It wadded up into a very small space if I chose to not wear it. I guarantee I am more visible with it, than without.
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Old 01-31-21, 09:10 PM
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Yes, I like to be SEEN! A few years ago, I had someone pull out in front of me with less than 50' to spare. Although I was wearing bright color garb and I had a steady headlight, I was still 'unseen' because I can only assume he was looking for a larger vehicle on the 50+mph highway, so now I've added a low-intensity front blinky to the mix -- just to draw the eye, but not blind like a full-power flashing headlight.

My old USCG (Coast guard approved) life vest single-D-cell Xenon strobe that I used on the rear rack finally bit the dust (battery 'exploded' and corroded the innards), so now I have a USB-rechargeable LED blinky on the rear as well... I miss that bright strobe at times... People DID see it!!!
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Old 02-01-21, 08:47 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
...
My old USCG (Coast guard approved) life vest single-D-cell Xenon strobe that I used on the rear rack finally bit the dust (battery 'exploded' and corroded the innards), so now I have a USB-rechargeable LED blinky on the rear as well... I miss that bright strobe at times... People DID see it!!!
I have one of those. It never occured to me to use it on my bike. The plastic latch for the metal wire that clipped onto the webbing broke, so bought a different strobe for the PFD. The big one was about to be discarded, but I think I will put it in my touring stuff box.

I would not want to use that big strobe unless conditions really warranted it, but I can think of a few times in fog when it would have been nice. For example, you can just barely see my touring partner in front of me in this photo.



This was in Florida Everglades, we were riding towards sunrise trying to get an early start before it got hotter. The sun on the fog really made it hard to see, a bright strobe would have been a good idea.

The cars were really slow due to poor visibility. So it was safer than the photo looks.
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Old 02-01-21, 08:58 AM
  #24  
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I wear high viz in the winter but not the summer but my lights run all the time so Iím not sure thereís any real value.
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Old 02-01-21, 09:00 AM
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Re reflective vests. I have had one for years, use it once in a while, but not that much. It is one that folds up super small and is fairly light and is the best one I've tried for the least blocking of cooling air on a very humid day, or night. Others are larger and maybe more visible, but heavier and more sweaty.

personally when it's really hot and humid, I really don't want another layer on me, and have jerseys that breathe a lot better than others in hot temps, so I notice this aspect and have ridden a lot in very hot weather.
some vests are bad for blocking air, and I guess it's personal on what you would find bothersome or not. On a long trip I like having mine for those "in case" situations, like fog , but a really good reflective triangle on the left pannier is probably the easiest solution.
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