Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

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Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby whichway » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:07 am

I work in the construction industry.

You can't go on any worksite (or factory or mine etc) without high vis work wear.

Yet very few cyclists wear high vis clothing. Sure there are some situations where high vis may not make a great deal of difference, but there are many many more situations where high vis clothing will make you more visible to motorists. (That's why it's call high vis).

Many cyclists wear dark clothing, and most jerseys are not a solid block of colour, but are multicoloured with lots of sponsors logos. This breaks up the cyclist's outline, just like tiger stripes, and makes them less visible.

If you ride in traffic, then for most of us, that is the riskiest thing we do. Given the relatively small number of cyclists compared to people who work on construction sites, factories or mines, the risk of getting seriously injured or worse is far higher when cycling on the road compared to any workplace in Australia.

Yet most cyclists do not wear high vis clothing. The only reason that I can think for not wearing it is that it is not trendy or cool.

It seems that there is not really a significant downside to wearing high vis clothing, and the upside is that you may avoid injury.

Make you own choice.
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by BNA » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:13 am

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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby ni78ck » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:13 am

the diference is that its law on a construction site.
im sure if it wasnt there would be heaps of people not wearing high visibility clothing on site either.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby whichway » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:17 am

Logically, then, it should be law when riding a bike too.

I'm not advocating for that. Whether it is the law or not, it is the principle that is important.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:37 am

whichway wrote:Logically, then, it should be law when riding a bike too.

Why do the various bike advocacy groups not push for this.


because participation is safer than non participation (as is - without hivis) - unless the participant reliably achieves similar exercise targets through other means, and requirements for personal protective equipment has a large negative influence on participation when participation is optional. If the advocacy groups pushed for this, they'd likely halve their member base yet again.

If you are builder, working on a building site, is not optional, therefore PPE laws won't affect participation.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby whichway » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:45 am

Ok I can see the logic of not making it mandatory to wear high vis.

Making it a legal requirement is not the point of my original post. So please, no more discussion about whether it should be madatory.

The health benefits of cycling are not diminished by wearing high vis clothing. On the contrary, wearing high vis clothing reduces the risk of injury, and so increases the health benefit.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby scirocco » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:55 am

My experience with road bike riding over the last few years is that most road cyclists do in fact wear relatively brightly coloured clothing - and it's often variegated, which is just as effective as catching the eye as fluoro stuff which I guess is what the OP is referring to.

I can well believe that on construction sites a change from the traditional dull blue or khaki work clothing to fluoro would help reduce incidents. But is it really going to make a significant difference if I change from my bright red and white cycling jersey to a fluoro yellow or orange?
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:12 am

Everyone just buy a damn SCA Jersey!
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Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zozza » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:24 am

So getting hit by a car because I'm not wearing hi vis is my fault?
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby Queestce » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:28 am

There is an educated school of thought that hi-vis clothing is becoming less and less noticeable. Every man and his dog wears it now, people are too used to seeing it. Plus, being noticed has a great deal more to do with the way in which you ride than what you wear, and at night, lights make a much bigger difference than hi-vis as the majority of it is not reflective. It's also often not feasible to be wearing a bright fluro shirt! What you mention about the tiger stripes and sponsor decals is not really true. Perhaps if your jersey has a camoflauge print, or you are viewed agaisnt a background of sponsor decals... Most team jerseys are very bright and colourfull, something a tiger most certinaly is not. Plus, once again, tigers intend to be hidden :P Ie; don't ride like your aiming for stealth and regardless what you wear you're more likely to be seen.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby CommuRider » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:33 am

zozza wrote:So getting hit by a car because I'm not wearing hi vis is my fault?


Yep and because you think you're too cool to wear fluoro it serves you right for not wanting to be uncool. :roll:
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby ausrandoman » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:46 am

zozza wrote:So getting hit by a car because I'm not wearing hi vis is my fault?


Don't worry zozza, no-one is going to take away your right to be hard to see.

You also have a right to smoke, drink to excess and eat unhealthy food. The great thing about a free country is that you a free to increase or decrease your life expectancy.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:48 am

Queestce wrote:There is an educated school of thought that hi-vis clothing is becoming less and less noticeable. Every man and his dog wears it now, people are too used to seeing it.


I'd have to say I don't believe that statement. When I riding on the road, I am typically the only hivis object visible. If there is a motor vehicle behind me, it is NOT the same color as me as dayglo orange is not a common vehicle colour.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby Aushiker » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:00 am

zero wrote:
Queestce wrote:There is an educated school of thought that hi-vis clothing is becoming less and less noticeable. Every man and his dog wears it now, people are too used to seeing it.


I'd have to say I don't believe that statement. When I riding on the road, I am typically the only hivis object visible. If there is a motor vehicle behind me, it is NOT the same color as me as dayglo orange is not a common vehicle colour.


Visibility limitations make cycling at night particularly dangerous. We previously reported cyclists’ perceptions of their own visibility at night and identified clothing configurations that made them feel visible. In this study we sought to determine whether these self-perceptions reflect actual visibility when wearing these clothing configurations. In a closed-road driving environment, cyclists wore black clothing, a fluorescent vest, a reflective vest, or a reflective vest plus ankle and knee reflectors. Drivers recognised more cyclists wearing the reflective vest plus reflectors (90%) than the reflective vest alone (50%), fluorescent vest (15%) or black clothing (2%). Older drivers recognised the cyclists less often than younger drivers (51% vs 27%). The findings suggest that reflective ankle and knee markings are particularly valuable at night, while fluorescent clothing is not. Cyclists wearing fluorescent clothing may be at particular risk if they incorrectly believe themselves to be conspicuous to drivers at night.
- More details here.

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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:07 am

Of you're Red/Green colorblind like me, Fluro Orange may as well be camoflage. Again though, you have the right to wear what ever suits It doesn't negate the motorists responsability to take due care.
I just jad an awesome idea. Leading (or is that Trailing) edges of all motor vehicle doors requied by ADR's to be painted Flouro Yellow and emit a high pitched whistle when opening that only a Cyclist or Sheep Dog can hear. Thats copyrighted now that I've put it out there btw
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:11 am

Night time is a different matter Andrew -

(a) those results are not scaled against light sets (which I use).
(b) the vast majority of hivis in use by cyclists is both fluorescent and reflective (mine is).
(c) my shoes are reflective, so I would hit their 90% option anyway.

During the day, my light is severely diminished in visibility (especially the tail light), reflection is entirely useless and the primary identification is visible cyclist shape.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby uncle arthur » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:12 am

Oh no - I have a baaaaaad feeling this will turn into a mandatory/non-mandatory Hi-vis clothing law thread.....

:roll:
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby Aushiker » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:28 am

zero wrote:Night time is a different matter Andrew -

(a) those results are not scaled against light sets (which I use).
(b) the vast majority of hivis in use by cyclists is both fluorescent and reflective (mine is).
(c) my shoes are reflective, so I would hit their 90% option anyway.

During the day, my light is severely diminished in visibility (especially the tail light), reflection is entirely useless and the primary identification is visible cyclist shape.


Yeah I appreciate it was not a great piece of research; really just putting it out there as one of the few pieces of research on the topic I am aware of or rather have details of.

I tend to ride with vests with winter (temperature control) and hence wear high-vis one plus of course on Audax rides at night as it is a requirement. In summer I don't bother unless it is a night Audax ride.

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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:41 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:Of you're Red/Green colorblind like me, Fluro Orange may as well be camoflage. Again though, you have the right to wear what ever suits It doesn't negate the motorists responsability to take due care.
I just jad an awesome idea. Leading (or is that Trailing) edges of all motor vehicle doors requied by ADR's to be painted Flouro Yellow and emit a high pitched whistle when opening that only a Cyclist or Sheep Dog can hear. Thats copyrighted now that I've put it out there btw


8% of caucasion males, negligable females, so probably reasonable to presume 5% of drivers. I'm almost certainly better off optimising for the 95%.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:51 am

High vis vests are typically poor fitting and don't work for a high speed roadie. Too much drag and a power drain in the all important Commuter Cup. :wink:
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:56 am

zero wrote:
The 2nd Womble wrote:Of you're Red/Green colorblind like me, Fluro Orange may as well be camoflage. Again though, you have the right to wear what ever suits It doesn't negate the motorists responsability to take due care.
I just jad an awesome idea. Leading (or is that Trailing) edges of all motor vehicle doors requied by ADR's to be painted Flouro Yellow and emit a high pitched whistle when opening that only a Cyclist or Sheep Dog can hear. Thats copyrighted now that I've put it out there btw


8% of caucasion males, negligable females, so probably reasonable to presume 5% of drivers. I'm almost certainly better off optimising for the 95%.

Pffft! you with your reasoning and logic backed up with figures :|
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby Aushiker » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:57 am

sogood wrote:High vis vests are typically poor fitting and don't work for a high speed roadie. Too much drag and a power drain in the all important Commuter Cup. :wink:


Lucky I am a old slow commuter then and a "long" (cough) distance rider ... none of this I am hero as I rode 50 km rubbish :)

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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby GraemeL » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:05 am

I agree with using high vis vests. Myself and the little lady wear them, we would rather look uncool and be seen, than be cool and run over.

Someone mentioned they are not effective at night. I disagree, they are highly visible at night, the green fluoro seems to be better for night riding, while the orange is best for daylight.
I will say though, we use the regular work wear high vis vests, which are not designed for cycling and in the summer months they can become quite hot. I would assume there are vests designed for cycling.

It amazes me that people think it's a waste of time, given the high risks we face when riding in traffic, it makes sense to try and stand out.
Maybe they think it weighs too much or interferes with the sleek lines of their road bike, or maybe they just don't want to cover their fancy jersey because it interferes with the aerodynamics.

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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby rkelsen » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:22 am

Upfront disclaimer: I don't have a hi-vis vest, but usually carry a backpack which has a hi-vis rain cover. I don't care about looking cool. If I wasn't carrying a backpack, I'd probably buy a hi-vis vest, but I don't currently own one.

I reject the premise that anyone not wearing hi-vis clothing is asking to be injured. That argument is akin to saying that girls in miniskirts are asking for it.

The mentality is just wrong.

Edit: There is scientific proof that head injuries in cars are extremely common. How many drivers wear helmets? Is it because they'd rather have a head injury than look uncool?
Last edited by rkelsen on Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:29 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby zero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:24 am

GraemeL wrote:I agree with using high vis vests. Myself and the little lady wear them, we would rather look uncool and be seen, than be cool and run over.

Someone mentioned they are not effective at night. I disagree, they are highly visible at night, the green fluoro seems to be better for night riding,


The fabric isn't effective at night - its whole effect relies on conversion of UV radiation to visible light (which regular clothing does not do). The stripes are the only effective bit at night, and obviously if there is no reflectable light source, then you are mostly down to your light set. If you see someone that is roadworking on a regular night shift, they will generally be wearing white overalls with retro reflective striping, even though on the face of it, white would seem to be a dumb color (going to get instantly grubby) for roadworking - because white is the best color for pure night gear.
Last edited by zero on Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would cyclists rather be injured than uncool?

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:24 am

GraemeL wrote:Someone mentioned they are not effective at night. I disagree, they are highly visible at night, the green fluoro seems to be better for night riding, while the orange is best for daylight.

Not what a recent study has shown.

The study was conducted on a closed road circuit at night where driver participants of various ages were were in a specially equipped vehicle and bike rider participants wore various combinations of clothing.

The researchers were from the School of Optometry, Queensland Institute of Technology; Department of Psychology, Clemson University, South Carolina; and The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, Queensland.

The researchers said fluorescent materials had little visibility benefit at night, as they are activated only by UV radiation, which is lacking in headlights and streetlights.



Fluoro vests and clothing are good in low daylight (dawn/dusk/stormy weather) - no better than white clothing at night. For best all round visibility use reflective clothing or patches, on bags/bike at night.
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