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How did cycling's least successful product category get the dragons' attention?

Whenever Dragons’ Den gets a pitch for a cycling product I wince. Partly, that’s just my general reaction to hearing that any bit of the non-specialist media is looking at cycling, but the dragons have a terrible record when it comes to cycling. That they gave a warm reception to a handlebar-mounted indicators a couple of nights ago is just their latest inexplicable reaction to a cycling idea.

Nick Jenkins offered £45,000 for 15% of CYCL, the company behind Winglights indicators, and was negotiated down to 12.5%. A good day for the two young entrepreneurs behind the product, then.

The dragons debated whether indicators on the ends of the handlebars could be seen easily enough to be useful, but acknowledged that Luca Amaduzzi and Agostino Stilli had done a great job of the design and polish.

The problem is, a product can be as beautifully designed and made as the Venus de Milo, but it won’t succeed unless there’s a demand for it.

The history of indicators for bikes suggests there really is no demand.

Luca Amaduzzi and Agostino Stilli pitch at the dragons (Screenshot from BBC Dragons' Den)

Luca Amaduzzi and Agostino Stilli pitch at the dragons (Screenshot from BBC Dragons' Den)

Luca Amaduzzi and Agostino Stilli pitch at the dragons (Screenshot from BBC Dragons' Den)

Back in 2009 we reviewed Bicygnals, which put indicators on both the front and rear of your bike. We weren’t impressed and since then the product has vanished without trace. We also looked at Winkku that year, which combined an indicator with a mirror. It’s also long gone.

Then there was Spooklight, which provided indicators and a brake like triggered by an accelerometer. Shaun Audane called it “little more than a gimmick for the ipod age”.

But indicators for cycling just keep popping up. In 2013 we reviewed Scute Design Lumin8a gloves. We were even quite kind about them. Scute Design folded in 2015.

Lumin8a Indicating Gloves - lit

Lumin8a Indicating Gloves - lit

Lumin8a Indicating Gloves - where are they now?

At least there’s now a sure-fire way of finding out if anyone’s interested in your product before you commit to production. Last year a Canadian team took to Kickstarter to try and raise CA$8,000 for a SIX, a gesture-controlled indicator that also incorporated a brake light. They barely reached a third of their target.

The most recent attempt to get an indicator system off the ground prompted lively debate from our readers. London cabbie Gary Thatcher came up with the Signum wrist-mounted indicator. His Kickstarter campaign raised just £1,306 of the £20,000 goal.

The only indicators to get any traction are built into ‘innovative’ helmet designs. Even then, they often don't make it past the sketch stage. For some reason the judges of design competitions like to give them awards anyway. One indicator helmet, Lumos, managed a successful Kickstarter and appears to be shipping. Call us cynical, but we give it a year.

And while you’re putting batteries and lights and electronics into a helmet, why not go hog wild and have it play music, read out your text messages and send out an emergency alert if you crash. If you can’t live without all that, you can get a Livall BH60 from Amazon for £104.


Livall Bling BH60 complete with Flaschenblinkenlights

As Al Storer pointed out in the comments of our story on Signum, there have been loads of indicator systems — we’ve barely scratched the surface with the ones we’ve mentioned here — but they all have one thing in common: you never see them in the wild.

Either people don’t buy indicators, or if they do they don’t use them for long. They’re the sort of thing a well-meaning relative buys you for Christmas, not realising that keeping them to hand and charged is a faff that’s hard to justify for the function.

The inventors of indicator systems almost always say they’re trying to make cyclists safer, but they’re solving the wrong problem. The assumption is that drivers hit cyclists because we can’t be seen. But the majority of crashes involving cyclists happen because the driver simply didn’t look, and adding small flashing orange lights is going to make, at best, a tiny, tiny difference.

As Deborah Meaden pointed out on the show, an indicator is just another flashing light, and it’s one drivers aren’t expecting to see on a bike. However, it’s not clear that the Highway Code makes hand signals mandatory even if you have indicators, as many people think. The code describes how indicators and hand signals must be used, but doesn’t say who should use them.

Meaden might have been sensible to pooh-pooh the Winglights, given the repeated failure of indicators over the years, but the dragons don’t have a great track record when it comes to rejecting cycling ideas.

Hornit DB140 bike horn

Hornit DB140 bike horn

The dragons turned down  Tom de Pelet’s Hornit

At least three ideas pitched at the dragons have gone on to success despite being rejected.

Probably the biggest missed opportunity was Tom de Pelet’s Hornit, a 140 decibel bike horn. In an episode screened in 2015, but filmed ten months earlier, the dragons declined to back the Hornit. Between the pitch and the show going to air, Tom had sold half a million quid’s worth of Hornits, and reckoned he was on course for £1.2 million in sales that year.

Later in 2015 sisters Sky and Kia Ballantyne, aged 12 and 14 respectively, pitched Crikey Bikey, a harness that makes it easier to support a toddler who’s learning to ride a bike.

The dragons turned them down even though they’d had orders from Evans Cycles and Mountain Warehouse. Their appearance on Dragon’s Den prompted a flood of new orders and the gadget is now stocked by Halfords.

Sometimes the dragons just don’t get the joke. They turned down Fat Lad At The Back (FLAB) clothing in 2014 because they didn’t like the name. But if you’re a non-svelte cyclist you get used to not taking yourself too seriously, and FLAB’s clothing struck a chord with riders don’t fit in Italian Lycra.

Later in 2014 Evans Cycles took on FLAB clothing, along with then-new sister brand Fat Lass At the Back.

All of that said, Nick Jenkins may be backing a long shot with the CYCL WingLights, but Amaduzzi and Stilli are clearly promising talents.

Jenkins and all the dragons were impressed that the duo had already got the product out into the market and broken even. The standard of finish impressed even notorious cyclophobe Peter Jones who said: “The quality and the way you’ve put this together, I think is as good as I have ever seen in a product.”

I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

91 comments

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bendertherobot [1390 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I think you'd need to look at the Lumos comment about "appears to be shipping" a bit more fairly.

 

 

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [480 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Bicycle indicators:

https://youtu.be/_NPcGLWzUl8?t=80

That's all you need to know.  Useless.

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ChairRDRF [350 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Nice summary: I think Deborah Meaden said it all when she pointed out that indicators are yet another flashing light amongst many others on various parts of the cyclist and bicycle, and that motorists aren't expecting to see them.

 

In context, I visited the then cycling person at RoSPA in the last 1980s, and he told me he would get inventors of cycle/cyclist indicators regularly and frequently. They were surprised and upset to hear that they were just the latest of a long line of such inventors, and that thr product wouldn't actually be helpful.

 

There is no reason to suppose that in a cyclist-unfriendly culture like the UK's that this will not continue with such inventions. As it has done for at least 30 years.

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ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

The other half got me a set of the Bicygnals, I think for a crimbo pressie, she wasn't too pissed at me when I said I couldn't use them.  I had read some terrible reviews and they would have interfered with my NiteSun Trilights, which for me for a good decade were the best front lights in the world.  Didn't get a replacement pressie mind, but to be expected, at least I didn't have to use the horrible lights.  Did buy myself an angle activated yellow flasher for the wrist, which I used for a bit, but it was cheap and awful.  If someone made a good stand alone one of these I might consider it.  Use Ronhill slapbands, but I dont know how visable they might be over the Hope District+, and the NiteRider Solas 40 on the bag.

Good rundown on the awful range of bicycle indicators over the years.

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ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Used the NightSun Horn for a while too, but a bit screechy, similar but not as nice to look at as the Hornit, drivers just didn't respond.  Their police one might have worked better, they did a lot of police products, but wouldn't sell it to normal members of the public, the warble might have attracted more attention.  It's the AirZound for me, but it will not fit on my getting to work bikes bars.  Sounds like a car horn but because there is no car around it blocking the sound, much louder.  And they don't expect little old me to be making such a noise.

The Dragons also turned down the TangleTeaser, which for my dready hair is one of the greatest products ever made.  Have 4.

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Pub bike [193 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

I wouldn't trust my life to a motorist whilst making a right turn on the basis of little flashing light.  And it's no use on drops anyway.

Sometimes I think motorists don't even see my arm in high viz, so I use body language and every other tool I have:

Signal early.  Take primary.  Slow down gradually. Don't go into the middle to let the car past on the inside unless it really is wide enough.  Most roads aren't.  Stop if necessary.  Then make the turn.

Even this doesn't prevent harassment and for a while I've been taking another route to avoid this right hander.

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karrie51 [14 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I love my Lumos Helmet. It's true that you do still need to take primary position etc as drivers are not expecting to see signals on a helmet. As someone has already said here, not all drivers notice hand signals either. The helmet gives me one more level of security to my turns. It's comfortable too which is a bonus.

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CyberTonTo72 [21 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

The worst thing about cycle indicators is this one guy I see on my commute that thinks cause he has a flashing light on the rear panier that he can just turn where he wants, he will change lanes without looking and pulls out on other cyclists and cars all the time. Have heard he telling cyclists that they need to be more aware and they should of know he was turning cause he used his indicator 
This bar end lights are just somthing else that will give people like him a reason to not be aware of other road users 

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Mungecrundle [629 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

My cycle gloves have small reflective logos. At night and if a car is behind they are extremely visible in headlights. During the day an arm signal is clear enough.

As a motorcyclist arm signals are second nature. In any situation an arm signal is by far a clearer and unambiguous statement of intent. For a cyclist they also make you effectively an arm length wider.

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hannuste [1 post] 2 months ago
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bendertherobot wrote:

I think you'd need to look at the Lumos comment about "appears to be shipping" a bit more fairly.

 

Lumos Team member here. The Helmets are out of pre-order and are shipping normally. Express shipping to UK takes now around 5-7 days and to the US 3-5 days. 

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fenix [581 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I've seen someone in a Lumos helmet - running with the lights on in the daytime - it certainly made me look twice. Great for visibility.

I'm not 100% sure about the indicators though - but the lights work well. 

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beezus fufoon [647 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

flashing lights are an irritation to other road users - if you dress like a clown then you'll get treated like one

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ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:

flashing lights are an irritation to other road users - if you dress like a clown then you'll get treated like one

Perhaps, but if you're irritating them they have seen you.

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beezus fufoon [647 posts] 2 months ago
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ktache wrote:
beezus fufoon wrote:

flashing lights are an irritation to other road users - if you dress like a clown then you'll get treated like one

Perhaps, but if you're irritating them they have seen you.

they're irritating to me - whether I'm walking, riding, or driving - also, from a distance you have identified yourself as a cyclist - personally I use reasonably powerful constant lights and try to create the illusion I'm on a motorbike, as it is my intention to be able to pedal at that speed one day!  1

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Mungecrundle [629 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

When it comes down to it the only difference between all the opinions here is how far we are prepared to go with respect to the aspects of our personal safety that we can actually control.

Me, personally, it's second nature to shoulder check and signal before changing course in moving traffic (advanced motorcyclist and ex instructor if we are going to get into a credentials pissing contest). I always wear gloves, always use lights after dusk, usually wear hi viz/ reflective, sometimes wear a helmet but I wouldn't use these indicator contraptions when I think arm signals are more effective. I still have the occassional run in with other road users but such incidents are the exception and most importantly I have little interest in being a victim regardless of who is to blame.

Ultimately the highway code is the base line of acceptable roadcraft for all road users. If you disagree with the advice contained therein, then take your research to the relevant authorities and get it revised.

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

In 10% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found to be a contributing factor.

In 44% of fatal collisions the driver not looking properly for the cyclist was a contributing factor.

Drivers are significantly more likely to hit a cyclist from behind after dark. Collisions after dark are far more likely to result in death or serious injury.

Seems to me that in all the 3 scenarios above reflective clothing would make a fatal collision less likely.

This is based on a pretty huge piece of research commissioned by the Department for Transport.

Link:
https://trl.co.uk/reports/PPR445

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atgni [420 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

In 10% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found to be a contributing factor.

In 44% of fatal collisions the driver not looking properly for the cyclist was a contributing factor.

Drivers are significantly more likely to hit a cyclist from behind after dark. Collisions after dark are far more likely to result in death or serious injury.

Seems to me that in all the 3 scenarios above reflective clothing would make a fatal collision less likely.

This is based on a pretty huge piece of research commissioned by the Department for Transport.

Link:
https://trl.co.uk/reports/PPR445

So in 90% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found NOT to be a contributing factor!

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
atgni wrote:

So in 90% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found NOT to be a contributing factor!

Most fatal collisions occur during the day. It's 10% of the overall figure, it would be a much higher percentage of accidents occurring at night.

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ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Rich-cb, those 44% were not looking, they are not seeing you if you are lit up like a christmas tree and dressed like a reflective clown.

It isn't just cyclists they are hitting, 

Audis seem to like being driven into houses-

https://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/audis-in-houses/

Vehicles get driven into inanimate objects, many covered in high viz and reflectives-

https://waronthemotorist.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/cyclists-need-more-sit...

And look, some idiot drove into a police car, which tend to be covered in lights both constant and flashing, and the entire thing is reflective and high viz-

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/800787114724036609/photo/1?ref_src=...

One and a half thousand people will be pointlessly slaughtered this year and to most it will be an acceptable cost to be able to drive wherever and whenever they want.

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davel [1135 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

In 10% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found to be a contributing factor.

In 44% of fatal collisions the driver not looking properly for the cyclist was a contributing factor.

Drivers are significantly more likely to hit a cyclist from behind after dark. Collisions after dark are far more likely to result in death or serious injury.

Seems to me that in all the 3 scenarios above reflective clothing would make a fatal collision less likely.

This is based on a pretty huge piece of research commissioned by the Department for Transport.

Link:
https://trl.co.uk/reports/PPR445

1. Does the huge piece of research make your leap that reflectives would have helped for you, or do you have your own huge piece of research for that?

2. Exactly how do reflectives help in the 44% of cases where the driver isn't looking (and in the additional driver error categories, which, combined, make up the majority of cyclist KSIs)?

I get your earlier point about it not being binary - I agree with all of that post, to be fair - but I'd like to see, collectively, proportionately greater effort on campaigning about shit driver behaviour than lecturing other cyclists on taking responsibility for drivers' carelessness.

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beezus fufoon [647 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

In 10% of all fatal collisions involving a cyclist the wearing of dark clothing at night was found to be a contributing factor.

In 44% of fatal collisions the driver not looking properly for the cyclist was a contributing factor.

Drivers are significantly more likely to hit a cyclist from behind after dark.

Collisions after dark are far more likely to result in death or serious injury. Seems to me that in all the 3 scenarios above reflective clothing would make a fatal collision less likely.

This is based on a pretty huge piece of research commissioned by the Department for Transport. Link: https://trl.co.uk/reports/PPR445

It's a good reason to not cut the reflective strips off my cycle clothes, but it's not covincing me to go out looking like Timmy Mallett's demented cousin.

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
davel wrote:

1. Does the huge piece of research make your leap that reflectives would have helped for you, or do you have your own huge piece of research for that?

2. Exactly how do reflectives help in the 44% of cases where the driver isn't looking (and in the additional driver error categories, which, combined, make up the majority of cyclist KSIs)?

I get your earlier point about it not being binary, but I'd like to see, collectively, proportionately greater effort on campaigning about shit driver behaviour than lecturing other cyclists on taking responsibility for drivers' carelessness.

Firstly, if dark clothing at night is a contributing factor then it stands to reason that reflective clothing would reduce that risk.

Secondly, the research specifically emphasises that in the cases where the driver failed to look properly they are not saying that the driver did not look at all, simply that they did not notice the cyclist. Again it stands to reason that in at least some of those collisions if the rider were more visible the collision would not have happened.

I'm not taking the blame away from drivers, they are, as you said, responsible for the vast majority of fatal collisions.

I'm simply saying that as cyclists there are things we can do to reduce our risk of becoming a statistic.

I base my use of reflective clothing on personal experience but this research does back that experience up.

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

Rich-cb, those 44% were not looking, they are not seeing you if you are lit up like a christmas tree and dressed like a reflective clown.

It isn't just cyclists they are hitting, 

Audis seem to like being driven into houses-

https://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/audis-in-houses/

Vehicles get driven into inanimate objects, many covered in high viz and reflectives-

https://waronthemotorist.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/cyclists-need-more-sit...

And look, some idiot drove into a police car, which tend to be covered in lights both constant and flashing, and the entire thing is reflective and high viz-

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/800787114724036609/photo/1?ref_src=...

One and a half thousand people will be pointlessly slaughtered this year and to most it will be an acceptable cost to be able to drive wherever and whenever they want.

The research specifically states that although they weren't looking properly that doesn't mean that they didn't look at all, so maybe a glance rather than a proper look.

In that scenario being lit up like the Blackpool illuminations will probably help.

I'm not defending motorists, they are to blame for most fatal accidents, I'm just trying to protect myself from them!

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fenix [581 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Its obvious that reflectives help. When i'm out cycling i can't change the way people drive. I can't make them pay attention.
I can only make myself more visible. If i was driving then i would notice a bike and rider set up like I am. Lights. Reflectives.

You can't allow for drunk or texting or distracted drivers. You can only prepare for normal drivers which luckily is the vast proportion of drivers out there.

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ktache [474 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Did you go to the police car link?

It is the size of an estate car and has the word "Police" emblazoned on it.  Neither of which we can do.

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davel [1135 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
davel wrote:

1. Does the huge piece of research make your leap that reflectives would have helped for you, or do you have your own huge piece of research for that?

2. Exactly how do reflectives help in the 44% of cases where the driver isn't looking (and in the additional driver error categories, which, combined, make up the majority of cyclist KSIs)?

I get your earlier point about it not being binary, but I'd like to see, collectively, proportionately greater effort on campaigning about shit driver behaviour than lecturing other cyclists on taking responsibility for drivers' carelessness.

Firstly, if dark clothing at night is a contributing factor then it stands to reason that reflective clothing would reduce that risk.

Secondly, the research specifically emphasises that in the cases where the driver failed to look properly they are not saying that the driver did not look at all, simply that they did not notice the cyclist. Again it stands to reason that in at least some of those collisions if the rider were more visible the collision would not have happened.

I'm not taking the blame away from drivers, they are, as you said, responsible for the vast majority of fatal collisions.

I'm simply saying that as cyclists there are things we can do to reduce our risk of becoming a statistic.

I base my use of reflective clothing on personal experience but this research does back that experience up.

I'm not entirely disagreeing, but I'm extremely suspicious of reasoning and 'common sense' (ie. personal bias) being applied in lieu of actually diagnosing this problem properly. These arguments are extremely subjective and personal experience is largely irrelevant.

It's much like the 'I had an off and broke my helmet, so imagine what would have happened to my skull' argument that makes a leap that is unfounded and merely reinforces the teller's bias. This bias omits the negatives or alternatives.

The fact is that we don't know how effective reflectives and even lights on bikes are at preventing drivers hitting cyclists. We do know that lights and reflectives make a cyclist more visible in the dark. Going beyond that to 'lights and reflectives stop drivers hitting cyclists' is an unsupported leap. It isn't the only unsupported leap to make from that position - it just happens to be the one you prefer to make. We know that more drivers hit cyclists during the day; couldn't one postulate that drivers have started expecting cyclists to be Blackpool Illuminations on wheels so have stopped noticing them during the day when lights aren't on or are less effective? Do we *know* that drivers aren't becoming complacent and less safe because they expect cyclists and other 'obstacles' to be well-lit? Would it be safer if drivers expected streets full of ninja cyclists apparently emerging from nowhere?

I'm just cautioning on any line of 'common sense' leaps that don't put the onus on drivers to actually make a bit more effort to stop squashing squashy stuff. Don't dismiss the victim-blaming line: I don't think it's that simplistic an argument.

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

Did you go to the police car link?

It is the size of an estate car and has the word "Police" emblazoned on it.  Neither of which we can do.

I'm not saying that reflective clothing will prevent all collisions. It obviously won't.

There will be some drivers who are so negligent they will hit you regardless of what you're wearing and where/how you're riding.

I believe that there are some situations in which reflective clothing will reduce my chances of being hit, I believe that research backs up my view.

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ClubSmed [272 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I have to agree with the posts that say that it is not a black and white issue. Many of us (arguably the most sensible) are in the grey area of wanting to both improve to enviromental factors in the longer term but also protect ourselves in the meantime.

In my experience/opinion:
People who wear hi-vis make it harder to see those who do not
We do need to be sensible and cater to the lowest common denominator
We should also be trying to raise the bar on that lowest common denominator

As an asside:
Just because a cyclist isn't seen does not mean that they are not looked for. I look for cyclists when in my car and on my bike and find it hard to spot those without hi-vis at night when they are close to those that are wearing it. Also, although I have been blessed with good eyesight, I have dated people who have been borderline cases for being able to drive. Whilst I am sure that they would look out for cyclists, I am not convinced they would be able to spot one easily at night without them wearing hi-vis.

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fenix [581 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

Did you go to the police car link?

It is the size of an estate car and has the word "Police" emblazoned on it.  Neither of which we can do.

I did say nothing helps against drunk or drivers not looking. But it's also possible that the police car was hit on purpose?

Are you suggesting we would be safer with no lights?
Or just the ever ready puny lights of the 80s?

Should we not use reflectives because police cars get hit?

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Rich_cb [215 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
davel wrote:

I'm not entirely disagreeing, but I'm extremely suspicious of reasoning and 'common sense' (ie. personal bias) being applied in lieu of actually diagnosing this problem properly. These arguments are extremely subjective and personal experience is largely irrelevant.

It's much like the 'I had an off and broke my helmet, so imagine what would have happened to my skull' argument that makes a leap that is unfounded and merely reinforces the teller's bias. This bias omits the negatives or alternatives.

The fact is that we don't know how effective reflectives and even lights on bikes are at preventing drivers hitting cyclists. We do know that lights and reflectives make a cyclist more visible in the dark. Going beyond that to 'lights and reflectives stop drivers hitting cyclists' is an unsupported leap. It isn't the only unsupported leap to make from that position - it just happens to be the one you prefer to make. We know that more drivers hit cyclists during the day; couldn't one postulate that drivers have started expecting cyclists to be Blackpool Illuminations on wheels so have stopped noticing them during the day when lights aren't on or are less effective? Do we *know* that drivers aren't becoming complacent and less safe because they expect cyclists and other 'obstacles' to be well-lit? Would it be safer if drivers expected streets full of ninja cyclists apparently emerging from nowhere?

I'm just cautioning on any line of 'common sense' leaps that don't put the onus on drivers to actually make a bit more effort to stop squashing squashy stuff. Don't dismiss the victim-blaming line: I don't think it's that simplistic an argument.

I do think you're being deliberately obtuse here.

The research shows dark clothes at night are a contributing factor in 10% of all fatal crashes.

If you can't avoid riding at night then the only part of that contributing factor you can change is the dark clothing.

I don't think it's biased at all to assume that lighter clothing would be beneficial, if there were no difference between light and dark clothing then dark clothing wouldn't be listed as a contributing factor.

Reflective clothing is as light as it gets at night.

In an ideal world car drivers would look carefully before any manoeuvre and if , as you suggested, all cyclists dressed head to toe in black and rode around unlit then maybe they would.

I think a lot of cyclists would have to die before your experiment starting showing results and as human sacrifice has never really interested me I'm afraid I'll have to decline to take part.

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