Home
West Mercia force hands out high-vis accessories

Police in Evesham, Worcestershire have been tackling cycling safety by warning riders of the dangers of wearing dark clothes, and handing out high-vis accessories.

More than 30 riders were stopped in a ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ exercise conducted by the Safer Roads Partnership and West Mercia Police.

Uniformed officers stopped cyclists wearing dark clothing or who didn't have lights during the morning and evening rush hours on January 6 and 26.

Riders were offered safety advice and high-vis products safety advice about the importance of keeping themselves visible and high-vis cycling products to help keep them safe on the roads, such as flashing armbands, high-vis rucksack covers and lights.

Anna Higgins, communications manager at the Safer Roads Partnership said: “Our ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ cycle safety initiatives are a proactive way of raising awareness about the need for cyclists to make themselves as visible as possible on the roads.

"We’ve run a number of similar initiatives across Warwickshire and West Mercia over the past few months and have engaged with over 350 cyclists.

"Unfortunately some of the cyclists we spoke to just didn’t recognise the dangers involved in not being visible. A couple of cyclists we spoke to during the early morning initiative had lights or high-vis gear at home, but didn’t feel that they needed them, even though it was still very dark at that time."

It's not the first time police have pushed the message that high-vis clothing equals safety on the roads, even though the research on the subject is equivocal at best.

In 2009, cycling charity CTC was critical of Hampshire Constabulary for stopping riders who were wearing dark clothing.

A CTC spokesman said at that time: “It’s curious the police are stopping cyclists for not breaking the law when there are so many motorists who break the law every day, and I think a much better use of police resources could focus on drivers breaking the law."

Research findings on the efficacy of high-vis are inconclusive.

In 2013, a University of Bath and Brunel University study found that no matter what clothing a cyclist wears, around 1-2 per cent of drivers will pass dangerously close. The researchers concluded that there is little a rider can do, by altering their outfit or donning a high-visibility jacket, to prevent the most dangerous overtakes from happening.

Also in 2013, an Australian study drew an important distinction between reflective clothing and hi-vis, highlighting that the former is the best way to be seen in the hours of darkness.

At the end of 2014, a Danish study concluded that high-vis jackets worn by cyclists appeared to reduce incidents leading to injury, though that study also found that there were fewer reported incidents of solo crashes among the high-vis wearers.

That study was also criticised for being funded by the jacket manufacturer.

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.

129 comments

Avatar
gazza_d [472 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Lazy lazy lazy lazy policing

About time plod stood on junctions targeting drivers on the phone and who don't slow down or look on the approachs.

But that would be continuing the war on the motorist though

Avatar
levermonkey [681 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I hope that all pedestrians not wearing hi-vis were stopped as well.

Any chance of the police tackling Jedi drivers. You know, the ones who clear the minimum of frost off their glass and then use The Force to navigate down the road.

Avatar
Simmo72 [673 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I read this and reflect on the number of car/truck drivers I saw this morning in dark, wet miserable conditions without their lights on.

I also saw 2 police cars and they didn't seem very bothered.

PR horseshit

Avatar
Zermattjohn [245 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It's the bloody horses they need to target. Why, only the other day I drove my jet black Mercedes (tinted windows, of course) past 2 horses and they were bloody brown and black!! It was a miracle I saw them really, as I was twiddling my radio at the time as I love to listen to Steve Wright in the afternoon.

And all those dark pedestrians??! Through those tinted windows I can barely see them either. Dip the lot in luminous paint I say.

Someone once said that my 1000kg car all in black was a far worse death trap, but how an that be eh...? I pay road tax etc etc

Avatar
andybnk [97 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Thats just like the kind Policeman who stopped me last summer to warn me about not having lights, at midday on a sunny summers day!!!

Avatar
andybnk [97 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Thats just like the kind Policeman who stopped me last summer to warn me about not having lights, at midday on a sunny summers day!!!

Avatar
Ramuz [319 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have to say highly-visible backpacks (not necessarily fluorescent) may be more appealing that hi-viz clothing. A lot of the backpacks out there are black or shades of blue. And as they take up a lot of the area visible to drivers, they may well be more useful than fluorescent jackets.

Avatar
Tinternet_tim [118 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

OK, so I understand the comments above that cyclist shouldn't be the only ones targeted and it feels like we are singled out yet again.

BUT, why pick on the police for taking steps to try and minimise incidents (and yes, I do believe steps can be made to improve cyclist visibility to reduce incidents).
If the above report read that "police we first targeting cyclist and then were going to look at pedestrian and vehicle visibility in the future", who you all have been so critical (just for my understanding?)

I am also going to make the assumption that the majority of people who use this forum are keen cyclist who keep their bikes well maintained and have relatively bright lights? Not all cyclist do, I see so many on the roads during the dark mornings and evenings of winter who are not visible because they have no lights and are dressed in black with no reflectors or reflective strips on their clothes. There have been instances whilst I am cycling at 15-20 mph and not seen them until I am almost on top of them.....it'll be even worse traveling at greater speed in a car!

From my experience, bright yellow clothing has little benefit once darkness falls, but having reflective clothing certainly does, so why not remind people of this or make them aware of it if they haven't already thought of it? What harm has it done?

On the flip side, if cyclists are riding at night and don't have lights on their bikes, why aren't they issued with a fine or given a 'producer' to makes sure they have fitted lights within 14 days? In my opinion, there is no excuse for not having a front and rear light on your bike.

Why do so many user of this forum so frequently criticise authority or see it as a personal attack at them? Yes, I understand that it often feels like everyone is against cyclist, yes I understand that safety improvements need to be across the whole spectrum. And yes, I understand that there are SO MANY bad drivers out there who pay so little attention to other road users OR more worryingly don't care about other road users. But surely a little extra visibility is a good thing to help you become a little more obvious to the good drivers out there.

Ok, let the criticism begin!

Avatar
sean evans [39 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Lights are more important that Hi Viz clothing.
They should also tell cyclists to cycle proudly in the middle of the lane, away from the parked cars, away from cars creeping out of junctions, drain covers and to do proper signalling. This is how you get seen.

Avatar
vbvb [621 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Interesting part here is the police person's (dim) recognition that some people disagree with their approach. Quite encouraging, that, I thought. These stop-n-advise things might be a super chance for us all to bend their ears about enforcing 20mph limits or similar.

Avatar
mrmo [2096 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Tinternet_tim wrote:

OK, so I understand the comments above that cyclist shouldn't be the only ones targeted and it feels like we are singled out yet again.

BUT, why pick on the police for taking steps to try and minimise incidents (and yes, I do believe steps can be made to improve cyclist visibility to reduce incidents).
If the above report read that "police we first targeting cyclist and then were going to look at pedestrian and vehicle visibility in the future", who you all have been so critical (just for my understanding?)

As someone who commutes to Evesham everyday, I would be happy if this was matched with action on the drivers on the A46 or the back lanes that get used as cut throughs, but no chance. I grant the police are most weeks parked on the sedgeborough bypass for a few hours, usually at the top sometimes at the bottom with a speedgun.

But the number of dangerous overtakes, or the fact that when I was hit whilst using the cyclepath was of no interest to the police.

Cycling at night with no lights is stupid, so is driving at night with no lights!!! which happens more often than I can comprehend!

Going after cyclists is easy low hanging fruit, it doesn't really make the roads any safer.

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1685 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Hear hear TinterTim. We've all seen (just) the cycling Ninjas - in my area, they're usually young people on cheap BSOs who wouldn't ever describe themselves as 'a cyclist'. A friendly word to point out how much danger they're putting themselves in can't hurt.

Avatar
birzzles [130 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Even on sunny day under dappled shade a cyclist can be invisible. I even failed to see a woman on a horse in these conditions while on my bike. Also joggers in black listening to music, only saw one of those at the last minute on the bike aswell.

Really you can be invisible. Annoyed by suicidal tendencies amongst cyclists when i am driving, but i have only heard of one truly invisible person killed. He was a drunk walker on an unlight A road - taxi driver had no idea what he hit, and they took ages to find the body. Driver gets my sympathy.

What is the thinking? Trying to give other road users more of a challenge? Just moronic really.

Avatar
Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Tinternet_tim wrote:

Why do so many user of this forum so frequently criticise authority or see it as a personal attack at them? Yes, I understand that it often feels like everyone is against cyclist, yes I understand that safety improvements need to be across the whole spectrum. And yes, I understand that there are SO MANY bad drivers out there who pay so little attention to other road users OR more worryingly don't care about other road users. But surely a little extra visibility is a good thing to help you become a little more obvious to the good drivers out there.

it is fair to criticise the police for stopping people who are not breaking the law

it is fair to criticise the police for trying to enforce something which is neither a legal requirement nor of any proven practical value

it is fair to criticise the police for blaming accidents on cyclist's clothing and not dangerous driving

it is fair to criticise the police for targeting members of a minority group because it is easy rather than the majority in vehicles who actually cause the harm and do most of the law breaking, a policy of 'criminalise the catchable rather than catch the criminal'

it is fair to criticise the police for targeting the victims not the perpetrators of criminal behaviour

Avatar
ribena [187 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

They should also tell cyclists to cycle proudly in the middle of the lane, away from the parked cars, away from cars creeping out of junctions, drain covers and to do proper signalling. This is how you get seen.

.... its also important they explain this to motorists.

Avatar
paulfg42 [392 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

What use is high vis in the dark?

Avatar
vbvb [621 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
birzzles wrote:

joggers in black listening to music, only saw one of those at the last minute on the bike aswell... ..Just moronic really.

You were going too fast for the conditions.

Avatar
oldstrath [932 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
birzzles wrote:

Even on sunny day under dappled shade a cyclist can be invisible. I even failed to see a woman on a horse in these conditions while on my bike. Also joggers in black listening to music, only saw one of those at the last minute on the bike aswell.

Really you can be invisible. Annoyed by suicidal tendencies amongst cyclists when i am driving, but i have only heard of one truly invisible person killed. He was a drunk walker on an unlight A road - taxi driver had no idea what he hit, and they took ages to find the body. Driver gets my sympathy.

What is the thinking? Trying to give other road users more of a challenge? Just moronic really.

Truly invisible? What, the walker had a cloaking device?

The driver deserves no sympathy. The Highway Code says 'drive so that you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear'. Not 'imagine might be clear', not 'drive even though you can't see jackshit', not 'drive by using the Force and your instincts'. Most of the collisions caused by motorists would be avoided if they followed this.

Avatar
ron611087 [358 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"Look but failed to see" is as much a symptom of inattentive driving as it is for lack of visibility. Sometimes cyclists get criticized for having lights too bright, but for my money, the best way to penetrate the inattentive doze to inflict a bit of pain.

Avatar
andyp [1549 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

'taxi driver had no idea what he hit, and they took ages to find the body.'

and it was the *walker* who was drunk??

Avatar
atgni [444 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Can I have a high-vis rucksack cover for free without cycling to Evesham?

Avatar
Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Im no Prof Brian Cox but doesnt hi-viz only work when there is some light for it to be viz in and therefore no more viz in the hours of darkness than normal clothing? When dark only reflecting clothing will be (more) effective.
Its just another example of the marginalisation of cyclists and victim blaming.
In my opinion.

Avatar
700c [1178 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Northernbike wrote:
Tinternet_tim wrote:

Why do so many user of this forum so frequently criticise authority or see it as a personal attack at them? Yes, I understand that it often feels like everyone is against cyclist, yes I understand that safety improvements need to be across the whole spectrum. And yes, I understand that there are SO MANY bad drivers out there who pay so little attention to other road users OR more worryingly don't care about other road users. But surely a little extra visibility is a good thing to help you become a little more obvious to the good drivers out there.

it is fair to criticise the police for stopping people who are not breaking the law

it is fair to criticise the police for trying to enforce something which is neither a legal requirement nor of any proven practical value

it is fair to criticise the police for blaming accidents on cyclist's clothing and not dangerous driving

it is fair to criticise the police for targeting members of a minority group because it is easy rather than the majority in vehicles who actually cause the harm and do most of the law breaking, a policy of 'criminalise the catchable rather than catch the criminal'

it is fair to criticise the police for targeting the victims not the perpetrators of criminal behaviour

They're giving advice - not 'unfairly targeting', 'enforcing' or 'ciminalising' the cyclist. I wish people could drop the persecution complex. It would make the sensible and proper arguments about road safety for vulnerable road users appear much more legitimate, if we did.

Avatar
700c [1178 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

..appreciate of course that the article is design to appeal to particular type of anti-driver cyclist and stir up this kind of sentiment

Avatar
atgni [444 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Their policy does state:
"The ‘Share the Road’ campaign aims to raise awareness about the safety issues faced by cyclists and to help them stay safer on the roads. Drivers are encouraged to allow plenty of space for cyclists when overtaking and to always look out for them when undertaking manoeuvres and changing lanes."

Which does sound fairly balanced.

Avatar
oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Tinternet_tim wrote:

OK, so I understand the comments above that cyclist shouldn't be the only ones targeted and it feels like we are singled out yet again.

BUT, why pick on the police for taking steps to try and minimise incidents (and yes, I do believe steps can be made to improve cyclist visibility to reduce incidents).
If the above report read that "police we first targeting cyclist and then were going to look at pedestrian and vehicle visibility in the future", who you all have been so critical (just for my understanding?)

I am also going to make the assumption that the majority of people who use this forum are keen cyclist who keep their bikes well maintained and have relatively bright lights? Not all cyclist do, I see so many on the roads during the dark mornings and evenings of winter who are not visible because they have no lights and are dressed in black with no reflectors or reflective strips on their clothes. There have been instances whilst I am cycling at 15-20 mph and not seen them until I am almost on top of them.....it'll be even worse traveling at greater speed in a car!

From my experience, bright yellow clothing has little benefit once darkness falls, but having reflective clothing certainly does, so why not remind people of this or make them aware of it if they haven't already thought of it? What harm has it done?

On the flip side, if cyclists are riding at night and don't have lights on their bikes, why aren't they issued with a fine or given a 'producer' to makes sure they have fitted lights within 14 days? In my opinion, there is no excuse for not having a front and rear light on your bike.

Why do so many user of this forum so frequently criticise authority or see it as a personal attack at them? Yes, I understand that it often feels like everyone is against cyclist, yes I understand that safety improvements need to be across the whole spectrum. And yes, I understand that there are SO MANY bad drivers out there who pay so little attention to other road users OR more worryingly don't care about other road users. But surely a little extra visibility is a good thing to help you become a little more obvious to the good drivers out there.

Ok, let the criticism begin!

I agree. I can't see why it's a problem to make some cyclists aware that they are at increased risk if they are dressed up like the SAS on a dank morning. They may not be legally required to have lights at that time or wear high viz but it can't hurt to make some of them more aware.

I had a friend at Uni that was forever just walking across busy roads in London quite nonchalently. Couldn't see the problem. he could see the cars quite clearly so obviously the drivers could see him. He didn't drive at the time. Only a few years later when he started driving did he realise that at times he was almost completely invisible. That gave him quite a bit of pause for thought. It may be that some of these people riding bikes are quite unaware just how low viz they are.

I rode up to and had a chat with a young lady on an MTB at about 6.15 pm last week with one of those high crud catcher mudguards on the back. She did have a light but hadn't actually looked at the positioning of the light and the mudguard. The light was obscured until you were about 3 metres away. She thanked me for politely pointing that out.

I don't see the problem. And yes they should have a word with some drivers as well. But all the whataboutery seems silly to me.

Next thing you know they'll be victimising householders by offering advice on home security. When really they should just be catching the burglars........

Avatar
horizontal dropout [299 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"What use is high vis in the dark?"

Hi-viz usually means retro-reflective and fluorescent. There might be some debate about the effectiveness of fluorescent in the day time (and clearly it's not much use at night) but retro-reflective is as bright as or brighter at night than many bike lights. You only have to look at any bike light review which includes shots of reflective items.

By the way my local police recently told us that "If a cyclist is involved in an accident and they are not able to be seen because they are wearing black/dark clothing that will be used in mitigation for the driver. That is allowed in law. If he is not visible, a defence lawyer will use it. ". That might be civil cases where "on balance of probabilities" applies versus criminal cases where "beyond reasonable doubt" applies.

Avatar
Dapper Giles [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Whenever I read stuff like this I always think about Saint Chris Boardman:

http://road.cc/content/news/111258-chris-boardman-helmets-not-even-top-1...

Avatar
giff77 [1288 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Apparently the use of lights here in Scotland is advisory. Or at least that's what the peeler told me when I flagged him down to advise him that his rear light was stuffed. He thanked me but on the offer of batteries I was told it didn't matter as lights were only optional and in his many years of being a cop had never heard that it was an offence covered by the Highways Act! Needless to say just after Christmas I clocked him and his pal trundling around town with rear lights removed and their front lights near to useless. In someways it feels like they've thrown down the gauntlet to me to see if I challenge them so they can then cart me off to the station. As an aside even though they are all fluorescent they do disappear 100 yards down the stree and are next to invisible even with the street lighting.... A wee pic attatached for your perusal. I'm now probably earmarked for a bit more attention than I would like. The pair of them are still sans lights as of last night.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1484 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
horizontal dropout wrote:

"What use is high vis in the dark?"

Hi-viz usually means retro-reflective and fluorescent. There might be some debate about the effectiveness of fluorescent in the day time (and clearly it's not much use at night) but retro-reflective is as bright as or brighter at night than many bike lights. You only have to look at any bike light review which includes shots of reflective items.

By the way my local police recently told us that "If a cyclist is involved in an accident and they are not able to be seen because they are wearing black/dark clothing that will be used in mitigation for the driver. That is allowed in law. If he is not visible, a defence lawyer will use it. ". That might be civil cases where "on balance of probabilities" applies versus criminal cases where "beyond reasonable doubt" applies.

It's probably brighter than cheapie bright lights but, overkill brightness debate aside, most good rears should be very visible indeed. And, also, worth having more of them than one.

What does high vis mean? Well, there's an issue. Can we trust those handing it out to know that the yellow vest includes reflective elements? Or that it's a pointless yellow vest? There's a very real danger here that high vis means bright yellow and if you're found wearing a black jacket with some substantial reflective parts then you're not wearing "high vis." A fallacy. In the dark.

As to CIVIL mitigation. Yeah, kind of. But much depends on the rest of the circumstances. Which may be inumerable.

Pages