Study says cyclists should make themselves seen - but reflective clothing, not hi-vis, is the answer

Research from Australia backs up earlier findings - but does it give SMIDSY drivers an excuse?

by Simon_MacMichael   September 30, 2013  

Hi-Viz cyclist © Simon MacMichael.jpg

A researcher at an Australian university says that cyclists could be exposing themselves to greater danger of being struck by a car due to the driver’s inability to see them, particularly when the light is poor, and says reflective, not high-visibility, clothing is the answer to being seen in the hours of darkness.

Philippe Lacherez, who is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) conducted his research among 184 cyclists – most of them Australian – who had been involved in a collision with a car.

Their responses highlighted that in a lot of instances the driver “looked, but didn't see” the rider in sufficient time to avoid hitting them.

"We asked the cyclist about the time of day, the weather and general visibility at the time of the collision as well as what they were wearing and the lights on their bikes," commented Dr Lacherez.

"We found that crashes disproportionately occurred during low-light conditions such as at dawn, dusk or at night. Only 34 per cent of cyclists in these low-light crashes were wearing reflective clothing and 19 per cent of them said they weren't using bicycle lights at the time of the crash.

"We're concerned that this means cyclists are making themselves more vulnerable by not being adequately visible to an oncoming driver.”

Some might see that finding as giving an excuse to so-called ‘SMIDSY’ – standing for “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you” – drivers, with the claimed inability to see a cyclist because they were dressed in dark clothing, or the sun was shining in the motorist’s eyes, at times employed as a defence in court.

Dr Lacherez went on: “What is surprising is that 61 per cent of cyclists attributed the crash to driver inattention,” he added. “Only two of the 184 directly attributed the crash to their own visibility."

He said cyclists could make themselves more visible through using reflective clothing but cautioned that high-visibility clothing by itself was ineffective at night.

"Fluorescent clothing needs UV rays to be reflective and so don't work at night," he said.

"Cyclists should add reflective strips to their knees and ankles because the pedalling movement makes light from the headlights bounce back to the driver making it easier to register they are there.

"Cyclists also need to wear a reflective vest and, of course, have lights on their bike to increase their chances of being seen in low-light as well as at night.

"Our previous research has clearly demonstrated that when cyclists add these strategic reflective markings it leads to a large increase in visibility, which in turn leads to motorists recognising a cyclist on the road much earlier. This simple step could make cycling in low-light much safer," he added.

Some of those findings – such as dawn and dusk being particularly dangerous times for cyclists – have been widely reported before, and doubts have also been raised previously about the effectiveness of fluorescent clothing whether during the daytime or at night.

Earlier this year, the Guardian Bike Blog highlighted a report form the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) – with the caveat that it was based on research of motorcyclists, not cyclists – which analysed a dozen studies, some of which had suggested that high visibility clothing could improve rider safety.

However, the TRL said that in many cases, that was based on the hi-viz clad rider being placed against a uniform background, rather than a changing one, as would happen in motion.

Two more recent reports cited by the TRL suggested that what was important was not the use of high-visibility clothing in itself, but rather the contrast against the background, with white or even black clothing found to perform that function.

The TRL said: “The results are interesting in that they show the previously held assertion that a bright reflective jacket will improve rider conspicuity may not always be true ...

“[T]he message seems to be that the most conspicuous outfit will be dictated by the lighting conditions and local environment at the time, which may be extremely variable within the confines of even a fairly short ride.”

It added: “Given that environments may differ over even fairly small changes in time or location, there is not likely to be a one-size-fits-all solution, meaning that motorcyclists need to be aware of the limitations of whichever interventions they use.”

In the United Kingdom, Rule 59 of the Highway Code says, among other things, that cyclists

… should wear…

• light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light

• reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.

Some police forces have at times sought to distribute high-visibility vests to cyclists, with Hampshire Constabulary having undertaken a campaign in which it also targeted people riding bikes without lights in November 2009.

Earlier this year, in separate inquiries in New Zealand involving the death of cyclists, two coroners said that bike riders should be required to wear high-visibility clothing.

Following publication of the verdict in one of those cases, a spokesman the country’s Ministry of Transportation said it was giving serious consideration to the coroner’s remarks.

DfT figures released last week reveal that in Great Britain in 2012, some 2,091 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in incidents that happened from Monday-Thursday.

The most dangerous times of day were between 7am and 9am, and from 3pm to 8pm, when each hour saw serious casualties reach three figures in aggregate across the year.

That’s partly explained by the fact that those hours coincide with the morning and evening commuting peaks, as well as rush hour.

Lighting conditions do vary across the year – in Manchester in midsummer, for instance the sun rises at around 4.4am and sets at approximately 9.4pm, while in midwinter, sunrise and sunset times are roughly 8.25am and 3.50pm.

While many cyclist casualties, even at peak times, will happen in hours of daylight – the summer months tend to see a higher number than winter ones, for example – changing light conditions at dawn and dusk are believed to be a factor as road users’ eyes adjust.

In 2009, the TRL published a study into cyclist casualties based in part on STATS19 forms completed by police after a road traffic incident, which are also used to compile DfT road casualty statistics.

It found that cyclists wearing dark clothing, or riding at night without lights were considered by police to be a factor in just 2.5 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, of incidents in which the rider suffered serious injury.

74 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Lights > Reflectives > 'Hi-Viz'. Simple.

'So a flashing red light is always more visible to another road user than a constant one'

Is, of course, absolute toss. Have you ever asked yourself why all the other vehicles on the road don't have flashing lights? a *moving* light is more visible, not a flashing one. Flashing lights are only good for battery life.

posted by andyp [1365 posts]
1st October 2013 - 13:34

19 Likes

@andyp - here's a test for you tonight, if it's not too cloudy. Look at the sky - you should see four "types" of light
1) still and steady light
2) still and flashing/flickering
3) moving and steady
4) moving and flashing/flickering.

Which ones catch your attention best?

posted by Dr_Lex [193 posts]
1st October 2013 - 14:07

18 Likes

What about pedestrians?

Would any researchers dare to suggest that they too "should" be wearing certain types of high viz/reflective gear while e.g. crossing a busy street?

Genuine question.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [224 posts]
1st October 2013 - 14:39

15 Likes

There's clearly lots of opinions about hi vis clothing, but imagine the following experiment.

Get several hundred cyclists (half with a hi vis vest and half without). Now intruct those cyclists to mix things up a bit, by varying their speed and direction at random on an inner city route.

Now imagine you're driving a truck, and trying to spot every cyclist, using all three windows and six or seven mirrors, plus do all the other things you have to do, like keep an eye on cars, pedestrians, traffic lights, signs, weight limits, bridge heights, etc.

I think most people would be far more likely to spot the cyclists wearing hi vis, rather than those who are not wearing hi vis.

Maybe some organisation could recreate this type of experiment, stick it on Youtube, and let people decide for themselves whether they want to ride without any hi vis clothing.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
1st October 2013 - 15:06

16 Likes

Problem: 90% of the "reflective" cycling clothing available is totally inadequate at night. Reflective piping that is 3mm wide? Reflective dots a couple of centimetres across? Reflective lettering, for Christ's sake, that is 2mm thick and which I would stuggle to read from 5m away? The clothing needs to have big panels of the stuff all over the front, back, sides, arms ands legs. Until a manufacturer starts selling this, I will not feel safely dressed at night.

posted by chokofingrz [385 posts]
1st October 2013 - 15:38

18 Likes

I wear pretty much all black clothing. When visibility decreases I use front/rear lights. If a driver can't see bright lights in front of him, then he won't see me regardless of what I'm wearing.

Then again some idiot cyclists take it to the extreme, blinding all other road users with their stupidly bright lights pointed at eye level. That's dangerous! The aim isn't to blind, it's to see/be seen!

posted by eurotrash [88 posts]
1st October 2013 - 18:54

15 Likes

Contrary to previous comments, most Tarmac appears to the human eye as silver to white. Black clothing actually contrasts pretty well with Tarmac.

I am convinced also that hiviz yellow actually makes motorists pull out on you more often than not. This is precisely because it is associated with cyclists an only cyclists and therefore a. Very small minority of vehicles on the road . There is good research evidence also that in a complex traffic environment, hiviz distracts drivers and leads them to do what is not the safest thing in any situation.

If only more cyclists would learn the importance road positioning in all lighting conditions (most haven't got a clue!) then we might be getting somewhere. It trumps clothing colour , bright lights , the lot!

posted by wyadvd [126 posts]
1st October 2013 - 19:21

18 Likes

chokofingrz wrote:
Problem: 90% of the "reflective" cycling clothing available is totally inadequate at night. Reflective piping that is 3mm wide? Reflective dots a couple of centimetres across? Reflective lettering, for Christ's sake, that is 2mm thick and which I would stuggle to read from 5m away? The clothing needs to have big panels of the stuff all over the front, back, sides, arms ands legs. Until a manufacturer starts selling this, I will not feel safely dressed at night.

Have you taken the time to look at your 'invisible' 3mm piping from a distance under headlights? Or are you just making assumptions. ? I think you'lll find a little reflective in the right place ( mainly on the legs) is highly visible under headlights at night. I don't believe that even quite bold reflectives on the torso are terribly effective as dipped lights don't tend to fall on them.

posted by wyadvd [126 posts]
1st October 2013 - 19:30

19 Likes

The conclusions of the Aussie study seem like deja vu. God knows how long ago it was but I read or heard from somewhere that contrast was the biggest factor in improving visibility to an onlooker. From the source I was already aware that depending on light conditions dark clothing or light clothing could be effective. It does seem logical, though where these things are concerned logic is not always the best guide so a study is rather welcome.

In the UK we tend to have a lot of overcast days so even during the day it is probably better to wear light clothing. Also as most urban and rural backgrounds at pedestrian, vehicular and cycle level are darker than hi-viz it is probably better to wear light clothing at all times. However, with many road cyclists having a penchant for black attire and many forums decrying the wearing of anything other than black as wholly unstylish it may be a while before we see anyone other than Dads, Mums, Geeks, and kids wearing reflective Hi-viz. I for one hate the stuff but can't deny it's benefits.

With respect to reflectivity I still think that dark clothes with reflective elements are not as visible as light (White or Hi-viz) clothing with the same reflective elements when riding in subdued light or the dark. I own a few Campagnolo items that are predominantly black with reflective 'IQseen Clearly Visible' elements. I'm yet to be convinced they are merely 'better than nothing'. They are very reflective, being visible at 160m, but unless the driver of a car realises the flash of light is a cyclist they probably won't respond accordingly.

To illustrate the point, I knew a chap who was speeding down a country lane and thought the headlights he saw in the distance were from an approaching car. Turned out it was a reflection of his own headlights from a driveway mirror, located on a sharp bend in the road. He was nearly killed as he hurtled into the drive and it convinced me that drivers can easily be fooled at night when they don't see the whole picture or person. With Hi-Viz the outline of the cyclist is better defined and that can't be a bad thing when you only get one life.

posted by BigBear63 [79 posts]
1st October 2013 - 19:34

16 Likes

I think the key point is to distinguish between offering advice about precautions that may be worth taking, and making out that any cyclist who doesn’t do so is “acting irresponsibly”.

Of course it makes sense to offer sensible, evidence-based advice on how cyclists can maximise their chances of being seen and, perhaps more importantly, noticed (yes, they are different!) in poor light conditions. Of course it makes sense to be lit and to wear something reflective if riding on unlit roads at night. And it should preferably be something that moves, e.g. an ankle-band - this article rightly notes the evidence that this is more likely to catch drivers' eyes than 'static' reflective gear (e.g. jackets).

However it’s another matter altogether to suggest that cyclists who don't dress up like Xmas trees (including on lit streets or in daylight) have only themselves to blame (or even partially to blame) if they get hit. The last thing we should be doing is giving drivers, the legal system or motor insurance companies any excuse for yet more of this kind of atrocious victim-blaming - see http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/node/515.

* * *

While I'm on the subject, let me also share a story I remember seeing years ago on the letters pages of the London Cycling Campaign’s magazine. It was from an LCC member who also rode a motorbike. He described a one-person informal experiment he had conducted, which he felt was equally applicable to cycling.

To test out what difference it made if he was brightly clad / reflective etc etc, he firstly spent a month riding on normal dark-ish clothes, and observed how often other road users infringed his right of way. I don’t remember the number, but let’s say it was 1.9 times per day, for the sake of argument (it was something like that).

He then spent a second month riding in the brightest, most reflective kit he could muster. It made no difference – 1.9 infringements per day.

So he spent a third month riding in clothing which came as close as he could get away with to looking like a police motorcyclist. The number of infringements nose-dived – say, 0.2 per day.

See what I mean about the difference between “being seen” but “being noticed”?

Roger Geffen
Campaigns & Policy Director, CTC

posted by Roger Geffen [50 posts]
1st October 2013 - 20:00

17 Likes

It seems to me that the basic concept of : Are cyclists stupid or what, is in question here.
Do they understand the difference between Hi-Vis in daylight and Reflective in poor light conditions?
If they don't well then they need educating in the most simplistic terms.
There are some Hi-Vis Greens and Yellows that are far more visible at night than others.
A simply resolve to both would be a Hi-Vis jacket with Reflective Edges and a Lightweight Reflective Gillet over the top when light levels begin to diminish.
There will come a time and not so very far away that Flash Harry Lawyers/Barristers will be claiming that the injured or dead cyclists were not Pro-active enough in the preservation of their own well-being/life,they will then be deemed as instrumental in their own injuries or death and be left looking the prats that they doubtless are or were;if dead.

Your ears are your rear end defenders,don't clutter them and stay safe.
Clutter them and possibly stay in hospital,or worse still!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TheCyclingRooster's picture

posted by TheCyclingRooster [23 posts]
1st October 2013 - 20:59

16 Likes

Why do cyclists need to be recognised as cyclists per se? What's wrong with being mistaken for a motorcyclist or being acknowledged as a vehicle on the road in the generic sense? That's one reason I wear black from head to toe and very bright lights .

We should be as pro active in our own self preservation as any other vehicle on the road. The day painting a car bright yellow makes a sods worth of difference is the day I'll think twice about using excessive hi viz and or reflectives.

posted by wyadvd [126 posts]
1st October 2013 - 23:17

19 Likes

wyadvd wrote:
Why do cyclists need to be recognised as cyclists per se? What's wrong with being mistaken for a motorcyclist or being acknowledged as a vehicle on the road in the generic sense? That's one reason I wear black from head to toe and very bright lights .

We should be as pro active in our own self preservation as any other vehicle on the road. The day painting a car bright yellow makes a sods worth of difference is the day I'll think twice about using excessive hi viz and or reflectives.


Totally with you on that, forget hi viz, superbright lights front and rear are the way forward. Cycle at night all the time and actually feel pretty safe.
So spend £200 to £300 on descent lights especially the rear ones and it's pretty impossible not to be seen.

posted by belgravedave [253 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 3:42

17 Likes

TheCyclingRooster wrote:
There will come a time and not so very far away that Flash Harry Lawyers/Barristers will be claiming that the injured or dead cyclists were not Pro-active enough in the preservation of their own well-being/life,they will then be deemed as instrumental in their own injuries or death...

Already been tried by Churchill. Where there is shared liability for an accident, lack of safeguards may be used as a reason to mitigate or reduce the damages paid out. In this instance, the courts had already found against the driver in terms of criminal liability, so the insurer was unsuccessful in reducing their civil liability.
Roger Geffen wrote:
So he spent a third month riding in clothing which came as close as he could get away with to looking like a police motorcyclist. The number of infringements nose-dived – say, 0.2 per day.

See what I mean about the difference between “being seen” but “being noticed”?


My next commuting bike is a white hybrid. Combined with yellow hiz jacket with reflective panels, white lid and black commuter trousers. Deffo.

posted by Argos74 [330 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 4:28

17 Likes

herohirst wrote:
After years of trying all the options I now always mount my front light on top of my helmet (No sniggering at the back Oli Pendrey).

Yes, +1 for that. As well as my helmet light I also have bright fixed ones fore and aft.

TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [97 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 8:03

15 Likes

What about bike manufacturers painting the frame with reflective paint. I think it would also look cool.

posted by perelik [6 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 9:08

15 Likes

Just another couple of thoughts.

Can someone point me in the direction of good quality cycle gear that is not black and is both day-glo and reflective? I don't want over jackets or tabards (I have enough of the later from motorsport). Stuff like shorts, 3/4, even tights, maybe jersey or two. I miss my day-glo sock from the 80's. Very much doubt the likes of Santini, Vermarc even Gore do something.

The second is why, when people instinctively slow down when are they are unsure, do we encourage drivers to continue at speed. Surely if you are wearing black and driver is unsure that they have seen something they will slow down. Slower speed, more time, less likely to have an accident and if they do consequences will be less painful. Safer! No?

Thirdly, yesterday evening I nearly rode into two cyclist. Both had high vis jackets and red lights both flashing and steady. Both rode straight off the pavement and into my path after looking at me. And then apoligised as they "didn't realise I was travelling so fast". Morale: Wear what you like, it doesn't stop you from being a pillock!

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [435 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 9:51

17 Likes

perelik wrote:
What about bike manufacturers painting the frame with reflective paint. I think it would also look cool.

My winter hack has had the frame "reflectivized", with the use of the white sleeve from a traffic cone and a few dozen zipties. Sets off the spoke reflectors rather nicely...

posted by Dr_Lex [193 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 13:14

12 Likes

A problem with cars having powerful lights is that the bike light can be easily lost in the noise. The one SMIDSY I had was such a situation. I was a small light source with a load of very big ones further up the road behind me.

Cyclists with helmet lights are very visible due to the movement, but they can be very bright for motorists.

I have high visibility orange clothing, steady and flashing lights, and retroflect tape on places like the cranks to make up for lack of pedal reflectors riding clip-in shoes. I also have spoke reflectors and reflective rims on the tyres. I think the moving reflectives such as pedals and spokes work well.

I need to replace my bar tape soon. I wonder why there's no retroflective bar tape on the market.

posted by m0rjc [36 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 14:10

23 Likes

Yorkshie Whippet wrote:
how far a head do you need to be before you become background? By this I mean do people really focus on what's happening a mile in front at 30mph or 2 minutes away. Or do we focus mainly on the next 10 seconds or the next corner. Therefore how far a head do you need to telegraph your presence to be safe?

If I'm on a road with bends with poor visibility I like to hope I've been seen by the car behind before entering the bend.

As a driver I'll tend to look a reasonably way ahead and see something going into a bend.

posted by m0rjc [36 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 14:17

11 Likes

I dont think it matter what we wear there are always going to be numpty drivers.

Mind you i was in the car this morning and where the road narrowed there was an old chap cycling towards myself and some young un in an Audi tt in front of me.

The cyclist had right of way but the Audi just kept on going. The cyclist must have thought "bugger it" and kept going playing chicken with the Audi.

Needless to say the cyclist won, the Audi mounted the pavement samcking his lovely alloys off the kerb and slewing to a stop. The cyclist waved as he passed me and i gave him the thumbs up.

The young lad in the Audi just got out of his car and stared at his now heavily scraped alloys - oh joy i wish i had a head cam at the time.

I know its got nothing to do with the article but i thought it might bring a smile to a few faces.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3107 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 14:27

17 Likes

I entirely disagree that hi-viz doesn't really work, in whatever light condition.
Black/charcoal is the colour of shadow and tarmac.

As I am a cyclist, runner, motorist and a lorry driver, I entirely agree that it is the responsibility of the most vulnerable of road-users to ensure, by whatever means possible and in whatever lighting condition they are in, that they are seen.
However, it is as much as it is the responsibility of motorists and drivers of large vehicles (buses, coaches, trams, etc) to look more than once, using driver aids such as mirrors and possessing an attentive & tolerant attitude, for the most vulnerable road-users (including pedestrians, joggers/runners, cyclists, motorcyclists, horse-riders, et al).
Most incidents could have been avoided.
Cyclists should be aware of driver's blind-spots and not ride there and should NEVER, EVER cut down the near-side of a large vehicle ANYWHERE, whether the vehicle is stationary or moving. It's only common-sense and survival instinct.

These 5 Smith Keys to safer driving/riding might help:

1. Aim High in Steering
Look 15 seconds into your future. (Don’t just look at the vehicle in front of you)

2. Get the Big Picture
Look for Hazards. (Other Motorists, Pedestrians, Vehicle doors opening)

3. Keep Your Eyes Moving
Don’t stare: Use your peripheral vision and stop the fixed-stare habit

4. Leave Yourself an Out
Monitor the space cushion around you and your bike.

5. Make sure They See You
Use your Lights, Bell/Horn, Hand SignalsWear light and/or reflective clothing & accessories, Make Eye Contact.

Cyclist67

cyclist67's picture

posted by cyclist67 [16 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 16:08

17 Likes

Here's a pic of a cyclist with two LED lights and a hi-vis vest, taken though the windsreen in the rain. They haven't got mudguards, so there's no muguard reflector and no pedal reflectors either. The led lights are probably cheap ones. Notice that even though the hi-vis is bright yellow, it is only the reflective part of the garment that is visible in the photo.
The hi-vis vest makes the cyclist far more visible, and also helps the driver to recognise that this is a person in front of them, rather than possibly misjudging the distance and mistaking the led lights as maybe lights further down the road.

hi-vis.jpg

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 16:34

13 Likes

m0rjc wrote:
Yorkshie Whippet wrote:
how far a head do you need to be before you become background? By this I mean do people really focus on what's happening a mile in front at 30mph or 2 minutes away. Or do we focus mainly on the next 10 seconds or the next corner. Therefore how far a head do you need to telegraph your presence to be safe?

If I'm on a road with bends with poor visibility I like to hope I've been seen by the car behind before entering the bend.

As a driver I'll tend to look a reasonably way ahead and see something going into a bend.

My opinion is that you have to ask yourself how the majority of accidents involving cyclists happen, and where. The answer is they mostly happen around junctions and are caused by errors in judgements that need to take place at close quarters and possibly in a fraction of a second.
Being seen miles away doesn't help.

I've done some pretty intense academic literature searches in the field of visual cognition as it might apply to traffic situations. ( using the reference chapter in a book called "traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt as a starting point. The upshot is that being bright doesn't really influence decisions made at close quarters in a fraction of a second and may even slow down the decision making process. Go do some proper research!

posted by wyadvd [126 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 17:29

14 Likes

b3nharris wrote:
It's plain stupid to not to do something which is likely to improve your safety on the basis that someone else should be responsible.

Be careful where you go with that. It's the same line of reasoning used to criticise women wearing normal western clothes.

I don't mind being told to fit this or that safety device to the bike, but how I choose to cover my body is personal. And personally, I prefer to look like a normal person when I'm on and off the bike, rather than an alien from the planet Hiviz!

Crankwinder

Crankwinder's picture

posted by Crankwinder [17 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 9:46

13 Likes

Neil753 wrote:
Here's a pic of a cyclist with two LED lights and a hi-vis vest, taken though the windsreen in the rain. They haven't got mudguards, so there's no muguard reflector and no pedal reflectors either.

In that case they are riding illegally. A rear reflector does not need a mudguard and pedal reflectors - which a 1980s TRRL study found to be most effective in identifying a pedal cycle to following drivers - can always be fitted if you choose your pedals carefully. (Clipless users may need a different system on the bike they use in the dark.)

Crankwinder

Crankwinder's picture

posted by Crankwinder [17 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 10:01

18 Likes

Crankwinder wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
Here's a pic of a cyclist with two LED lights and a hi-vis vest, taken though the windsreen in the rain. They haven't got mudguards, so there's no muguard reflector and no pedal reflectors either.

In that case they are riding illegally. A rear reflector does not need a mudguard and pedal reflectors - which a 1980s TRRL study found to be most effective in identifying a pedal cycle to following drivers - can always be fitted if you choose your pedals carefully. (Clipless users may need a different system on the bike they use in the dark.)

I know the cyclist was illegal, and I know reflectors are available to fit to a bike without mudguards. What I was trying to show was how little the LED lights showed up, and how amazingly effective the hi-vis vest was. I used this particular pic because many serious cyclists don't have reflectors on their pedals, just relying on maybe a couple of LED lights, and how wearing a hi-vis (and I mean a proper one - not just some cycle top with the odd bit of reflective material here and there) can make an enormous difference to how visible they are to motorists.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 13:46

15 Likes

why are some people who comment on road.cc so stubborn minded?

as a more vulnerable road user (cyclist, horse rider, motorcyclist) its your responsibility to help yourself be seen, that includes reflective stripes on your t-shirt / trousers. so why not help prevent a collision ? Whether it is your fault or not it doesnt matter, i dont know many people who WANT to crash!

fine, dont help yourself, but when the motorist says "SMIDSY" dont be surprised when the judge gives a lenient sentence (if it evern gets that far!!!) because you were wearing black at dusk.

as for lights, it doesnt matter how bright and amazingly expensive your helmet light is, get a little one for the handlebar and seat stem too! they are 99p on ebay. oh, and its the law (highway code tells you where you MUST position your lights, its not on your helmet. by all means stick one there too, but help yourself out and stick to the letter of the law as well).

as for reflectors, if the highway code says orange ones on your pedals then do it! if you get hit and you dont have all of the legal requirements you wont have a leg to stand on, (excuse the pun) which might be literal in some cases.

moving on to helmets. yea, motorists shouldnt "blame the victim". but as a more vulnerable road user if you chose not to wear extra protection and then you are in a minor low speed collision in which you bump your head then the EXTENT of the injury will be increased because you were so stubborn minded and wouldnt wear a helmet!
why not do everything you can to protect yourself, including giving way when its your right of way, or wearing a helmet even if you think "its the other persons fault you got hit"..... better to do it than be dead.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
4th October 2013 - 12:38

17 Likes

Totally agree hood - the forum is attracting a lot of miliatants and trolls these days.

hood wrote:
why not do everything you can to protect yourself, including giving way when its your right of way, or wearing a helmet even if you think "its the other persons fault you got hit"......

Only one reason I can think of and that cos reflectives, hi viz and helmets aren't cool. And fair enough I support their right to ride in black with no helmet but don't whine if you get hit.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
4th October 2013 - 13:23

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Like most studies this one seems skewed to achieve a certain result. It doesn't clearly state here that this applies to night or low light situations. Yet it implies that the findings apply to all light situations. I find reflective gear of little use in daylight. The study author even declares his 'surprise' at findings. Dr Lacherez went on: “What is surprising is that 61 per cent of cyclists attributed the crash to driver inattention,” he added. “Only two of the 184 directly attributed the crash to their own visibility."

To me it boils down to looking for more ways to blame the cyclist and I'm sick of it. This past weekend I lost an old friend when a driver (suspected of being drunk) took out 2 of the 3 riders with such force one rider crushed the car roof killing a passenger as well. This driver who police suspect of being drunk crossed a double solid centre line to take out these riders on a sweeping curve with good visibility midday with clear skies. Amazingly some people have started going on about how the cyclists shouldn't have been on this quiet rural roadway as if that's the problem.

This culture of blaming the cyclist no matter what has to stop. Drivers need to take responsibility. Not to say a cyclist can't cause their own problems but studies like this just feed ways to blame the cyclist for an inattentive driver. I think this is valid for night riding but the findings or article should clearly state that not imply otherwise with sweeping statements. I don't ride at night, I've turned around in heavy fog and gotten off the road in bad forest fire smoke as well. I do not want to be hit neither because I can't be seen or because someone just can't be bothered to see me SMILBIDSY or whatever that stupid acronym is they used.

posted by Lseven [2 posts]
2nd June 2015 - 16:40

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