Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Fluro vests - do they make a difference?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Jomac, May 18, 2008.

  1. OK, so I've been called a knob for wearing a fluoro vest when it's wet and or foggy and a shiny silver helmet.

    According to one particular opinion I look stupid and since cars don't look for fluro vests they make no difference.

    So, being one for wanting to make decisions based on truth, not on opinion, I would like to know if anyone knows for sure if they are just wishful thinking or whether they really do make a statistical difference to safety, because I don't want to think I'm looking like a knob for no reason.

    Be grateful for anyone who can help me justify being optically loud or sort out the real facts.
  2. Some people consider that riding a bike makes you look like a knob. Tell them to fcuk off.

    Do what you think will improve your safety. Full stop.

    If the whole world things high Viz clothing helps save lives in the workplace and where traffic and pedestrians mix... what the hell do you think it'll do for your visibility and safety?
  3. So you put up a poll on an internet forum? :LOL:

    FWIW I voted yes for the reasons robsalvv stated.
  4. I voted yes - wearing one has always seemed to persuade cars to give me that little bit more space.

    Maybe it's the giant L on the back of it though... :?

  5. Most drivers actually see you before they cut in front, so I would debate the full value of a reflective vest. However if it makes you feel safer, by all means.
  6. +1 Wallace ...
    I mean Rob :LOL:
  7. I'm sure there have been numerous studies showing that high visibility vests make workers safer, which is why they are mandatory safety equipment. I'm sure the logic can be similarly applied to riding - and anything that makes you more visible has to be of benefit. Actual statistics and hard evidence of them improving rider safety? I'm not sure there are any hard facts out there. Do they provide any significant benefit over a headlight, a loud pipe, good defensive riding techniques or any other combination? Who knows - but anything that is going to help catch the eye of other drivers can't be a bad thing.

    Everyday "fine weather" riding I would assume they'll provide limited additional benefit, but in the rain, in the dark, in fog and so on the benefits are going to increase substantially.

    As others have said, if you feel like they are going to help you, then go for it.
  8. I actually wonder whether perhaps their impact is now being blunted by over-use of the HiVis colours and materials. When every construction worker, truckdriver, road worker, etc., etc., has it as their daily uniform and wears it everywhere, it certainly doesn't have the visual impact it did when it was rare.

    I personally don't wear it, although my riding gear contains highly reflective panels and is light coloured and so is my helmet, but I can see the value for low visibility conditions. I suspect there are probably 'cooler' looking solutions available than just the over-vest, but life and health trump fashion and the opinions of the uninformed, IMO.
  9. I'll take both sides here... It's not about a fashion-statement, so all that matters is that you're visible in low-light/poor conditions (you should see how badly lit most heavy-industry buildings are), whether one person is wearing it or everyone.

    On the other hand, I've been to some sites where they've gone overboard with highvis paint and all you can see is an ocean of bright Safety Yellow. Oversaturated. There's a happy-medium on site, usually reserving safety-yellow for handrails and machine guarding - everything else should be a different colour.

    For riding... Eh, at this point, I don't think the roads are saturated with highvis colours and ScotchBrite retroreflective tape. Nowhere near it. I think there's a chance they could help; scotchbrite for night, highvis for peripheral visibility during the day.
  10. sigh.

    HOw should we interpret this PP: most drivers who see you will cut infront? Most drivers who would cut infront anyway, see you anyway? It doesn't matter if you're seen by a driver, they'll cut in anyway?

    Another quality bike riding post brought to you by PP. :roll:

    I don't wear the vest, but I've started to note more riders that do, and they do standout. Whether that makes them less prone to be collided into is an arguable point, but I'd say on balance, probably yes, since most driver would NOT like to hurt another road user and would like to at least avoid collide with a bike purely from the insurance hassles point of view.
  11. :WStupid:
  12. I get missed enough with a bright yellow bike so a vest aint going to change much as far as I'm concerned.
  13. i usually wear it when its raining or very foggy.
  14. The fluoro vests definetely make riders stand out. But they make you look like a knob, period. Whether that's something you're willing to put up with for the safety benefit is up to you ... personally I won't wear one.
  15. if can drivers/other riders stare at you in your vest & say 'what a knob', then they've noticed you, and it's done its' job.

  16. Winner!!!!!

    I don't wear them, I rely on a noisy bike to alert them to my presence.
    The K12 is a quiet bike and I've had a few cars merge into my lane :mad:

    So I ordered a Leo Vince Factory Evo II Ti slip on :grin:

    It's at Metro Honda awaiting my collection.
  17. If you feel better - then wear it. But if you really want to be noticed go and buy an ex-cop BMW. :wink:

    When I had my old K series the traffic would often part in front of me so I felt like Moses crossing the Red Sea. :LOL: Coupled with a fluro vest like the cops use and a white helmet it was amazingly effective.

    What puzzles me though is the fact that people actually wear the draggin' jeans urban camouflage type trousers on a bike. Apart from screaming "fashion victim" - the design is meant to conceal you so it's not exactly sensible motorcycle wear.

    Also - helmets make a difference too. I came across a study a couple of years ago which claimed that patterned helmets were not good in urban areas. I've since misplaced the reference unfortunately. The theory is that with a cluttered background the graphics broke up the outline and made you less visible. Solid coloured shapes (including black) that give a definite silhouette are apparently more visible in urban areas.
  18. I say wear it, like has been said before, it will make you more noticeable above all else.

    I disagree here, the point of the 'hi-vis' shirt/vest is just that, to make you highly visible. They're a highly visible colour so that you notice it. If everyone was wearing dirty grey/brown overalls on a building site, they would all just blend into the background, whereas the fluro shirts/vests make them stand out and be noticed, whether there's 1 person or 100, they will be noticed more because of the shirt.
  19. +1 :grin: .

    Fluoro gear certainly won't make you less visible in most circumstances and so there's no harm in wearing it.

    However, if the driver that tries to take you out has missed seeing an object that's 2m x 0.5m and has a bloody great QH headlamp blazing out front and a nice big red tail lamp out back, I'd say the fluoro was very much a last line of defence.

    So far (20 years) I've found that assuming myself to be invisible has saved me sufficiently effectively from SMIDSYs that any improvement from the use of hivis gear would be no more than marginal.
  20. "Prevention is better than cure"

    So when answering this question, ask instead whether or not anything bad can come from wearing a fluro vest. The answer is no - so it's always going to be a better idea to wear one than not!

    I know when driving, bright reflective objects catch my attention so much more easily - I actually noticed in my older hatchback days that the headlights did not aim high enough and I therefore sometimes would not see pedestrians wandering around in the dark until I've been way too close for comfort. On the other hand, I'm always drawn to cyclists with fluro vests or little reflectors on their shoes.

    I say it works if you're in their field of vision.
    Outside of a driver's field of vision it means squat!!!