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Effectiveness of Hi Vis

Discussion in 'Research, Studies, and Data' started by Spiritech, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. robsalvvrobsalvv

    As we've had the current learner laws superseded with the new GLS, in effect since October 2014. Is there data to support the mandatory Hi Vis clothing on learner motorcyclists is beneficial? A lot of the commentators lately due to the spike in motorcycle deaths seem to be calling for a review into motorcycle licencing and regulation.

    I was just wondering, in the past year and a half have we seen a reduction in accident, injury and death rates in the learner rider category that would seem to vindicate the government in taking such a stance?

    Also I'm sure you're on to it, but now is the time to start a counter to ensure the efficacy of the new GLS.
  2. Robyn Seymour - Vicroads head honcho for this area, was on the radio recently saying that there'd been no evaluation of the effectiveness of hi viz for L platers. So that answers your question.

    Despite the fatality spike, rider injuries are currently down this year, but I can't say whether that is across the board or just in the "baby seals" part of the demographic. I use the term deliberately as it ties back to a conversation I had with the transport ministry about the driver behind learner hiviz and their take essentially centred around being seen to be doing something for the most vulnerable of the motorcycle vulnerable road user group.

    So, no real answers to your excellent questions.
    • Informative Informative x 1

  3. The Hurt Report in 1981 which you have made reference to in Dear L-Platers specifically named the use of headlights at night and "the wearing of high-visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets" as the best methods of significantly reducing accidents caused by failure of other drivers to recognize motorcycles on the road.

  4. I don't think Hurt and Oulette realised in 1981 that there are many other cognitive issues and possibly rider positioning skill issues around why drivers fail to see and recognise motorcycles. The "failure of drivers to see bikes" being the fault of a lack of conspicuity was and remains an intuitive notion that is unshakeable.

    The gorilla experiment first hit the scene in the late '90's and that was really the first public/popular demonstration of cognitive blindness/inattentional blindness - and I mean, could you get more conspicuous than a gorilla wondering through a basket ball game? ... but even though that's been around now for approaching 20 years, the notion that it's all the rider's fault still holds sway.

    The idea of hi viz is so strong and intuitive that the number of people on the radio and social media calling for hi viz in response to the fatality spike drove me nuts.

    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. If everything goes to plan, I'll be doing away with mine on Sunday. So I fully expect everyone to just blindly drive into me, more so than usual anyway. I'll keep yous posted :]
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  6. Strange that there's no evaluation of these safety measures how can they say with a straight face that they're working if they have no data?. Are you aware of any evaluation of the new GLS we've paid for through the safety levy? I think it's perfectly reasonable for us to ask for information like this considering they're using the extra registration money we give them to fund these "safety" programs.
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  7. There is no risk analysis performed that then identify these measures as a control. In fact there is zero science at all. It's just a layman's knee jerk reaction. How can there be an assessment of effectiveness in that case?

    "It must be good or site workers wouldn't wear hi-viz and anyway, it can't do any harm can it?"
  8. Probably need to give it time for any meaningful trends to show up statistically.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Anything that makes something stand out in the crowd is likely to have an effect that will wane over time.

    Any positive effect of the hiviz is more likely due to a reinforced mindset in the learner that they are, in fact, a learner rather than any environmental advantage.
    Any data collected will reflect the psychological impact but will be attributed to the environmental effect.

    The recent spike in fatalities will not be cured via more stringent GLS as most were either un-riders (no licence or permit at all and / or on stolen bikes) or older riders not subject to any MGLS requirements.

  10. It’s systematic.

    Gorillas in the Lung

    Inattentional blindness causes 83 percent of radiologists to fail to spot an image of a gorilla inserted into the CT scan of a pair of lungs.


    That gorilla also defines traumatic injuries, things shoved where they’re not supposed to be.

    The prevailing culture is one that targets policies and allocates spend to issues considered public priorities based on political stereotypes AND, probably more importantly in the eyes of administrators/bureaucrats, where funding/payment is also (more) readily obtainable, eg. immunology, cancer etc. It also determines what people are trained to look for.

    The problem with stereotypes is that they negate context, promote apathy, ignorance etc and are used as justifications for all sorts of things.

    There are deeply entrenched, inherent conflicts within the existing system (eg. battles for funding, Federal vs State funding etc) that results in superficial band-aid solutions aimed at increasing popularity (the feel-good factor) for generating votes while ignoring core issues, eg. “sorry, I don’t know what those white lumps in your lungs are but I don’t think they’re cancer”. Nope, those ‘gorillas’ are ribs, thanks.

    Conspicuity isn’t the issue.

    Can possibly anticipate seeing the mounting of some rear-guard action as Hi-Viz comes back to bite. :)
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. Well Phase I was lights on, hi viz and minimum 3 year LAMS and there's still an overlap phase with those who are under the old system. Phase II has only just been implemented, which is the fully revised curriculum, so impossible to evaluate.


    Totally agree with those two points.
  12. How does one evaluate the benefit of high vis gear. On what basis? Feedback from car drivers? How do you concise or quantify it in statistical terms? Based on what?
  13. Maybe in 3 years we can ask graduated learners if they'd prefer to keep the high vis on or not on the basis of how safe it makes them feel / vs other emotions :)
    Well, just don't ask those on cruisers, they're the most hard done by, haha.
  14. If you want quantifiable data on real road conditions, then you really have to look at the results in terms of crash data, if you make changes and there are fewer fatalities and injuries, consistently over time, then you have a pretty clear answer. The problem is that the scattergun approach to policy often means that you are evaluating the effect of several simultaneous changes and there is no easy way to tell which if any of them have been effective. So is it the hi vis or is it improvements to road engineering, public safety campaigns, changes to rider training syllabus etc.

    Visual perception is a fascinating topic and I would love to see some carefully designed experiments to evaluate the impact of things like lights (their size and position and number), helmet colours and patterns, hi vis etc on conspicuity and with emphasis on pattern recognition and visual perception. With modern animation and virtual reality tech it wouldn't be hard to come up with a controlled environment for drivers to be presented with different configurations, shapes, colours etc and see how often they fail to spot them.

    Feedback from drivers, learner riders, etc is subjective. There's nothing wrong with observation, I ended up with a plain white helmet as a couple of studies had indicated that they might be more easily seen, but the evidence was nothing like strong enough to be conclusive. So I did my own observations over a period of months and found I was picking up white helmets way earlier in traffic than any other colour. Still subjective but good enough for me to make my next helmet plain white. My further observation is that while I read of riders having very regular near misses with drivers pulling out in front of them, this rarely happens to me. Whether this is due to my white helmet, or to other factors I don't know. I have a feeling it isn't due to any overall improvement in the skillset or attitude of the local drivers though.
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  15. Is amazing the posts on NR regards peoples apposed to ideas that would logically assist with the safety of new bikers. Hi Vis is a no brainier, is called Hi Vis cause is provides higher visibility than otherwise not wearing so whether facts support or not one would think logically it would assist. Because other persons on the road drive mainly through visual aids like looking with there eyes the benefit is there full stop. Riding is very much about freedom/adventure & wearing Hi Vis am sure hampers that feeling to some degree like noobs doing extra comprehensive courses before being allowed on road but why not consider their safety as the no. 1 issue. Once they get their blacks give them the choice, The bulk of bikers wear black for image reasons yet it is the least seen color/most dangerous & hottest in summer, crazy but true & that is life.
  16. That's exactly the uninformed opinion that keeps driving "hi vis" for motorcycling as a "good" idea. Well done.
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  17. #17 robsalvv, May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
    More uninformed opinion.

    They look with their eyes, but they SEE with their brains. Have a think about that.

    I have video footage that shows my bike visible from a kilometre away due to its headlight. Visible as an object from about 700m. Discernable as a motorcycle from 350ish metres away. The high vis vest I was wearing in this experiment, not noticeable as even a colour until 200m away (being generous) and it was clearly a motorcycle from that distance.

    You tell me why an object visible from 700m away is missed by drivers?

    More uniformed opinion. Black leather is the least expensive leather to make gear from. It lasts the longest and wears the best. The same goes with textiles, though you're more likely to find riders wearing colours in textile gear. Out on Australian country roads, black gear is often the best colour for conspicuity as it provides the greatest contrast to the dry backdrop.

    Really, as soon as anyone starts talking in absolutes about Hi Viz gear, everyone should recognise that they don't have a full grasp on the issue.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. You can do that experiment at home. Computer games. Try playing with someone yakking in your ear, asking questions etc and see what your score is. Compare that to the score achieved when left alone to concentrate. Everyone has a certain capacity to block out distractions, some more than others ... which then leads to considerations such as inattentive blindness, how the mind and what’s taught shapes expectations, what’s looked for etc.

    Same happens when people buy new cars, or are considering buying new cars. Suddenly they notice how many of same make/model/colour are on the road.

    You’d be better served by leaving the hi viz vest or whatever open to flap around in the wind like a flag. Sudden movement catches the eye quicker than colour. Colour is relative, eg. yellow hi viz isn’t going to stand out much against yellow cabs. If a boxer were to throw a punch at you would you duck and weave or take it on the chin, standing there thinking the colour of your clothing will protect you. Might just be the colour that’s drawn their attention (target fixation) in the first place. First line of defense is the choices you make in the actions you take (training/skills). The rest is window dressing.
  19. Well, I just passed the test. Riding home without the hi-vis, I felt 46% less like an idiot. There's a statistic for you :cool:
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  20. Congrats on passing :)