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Hi Viz clothing is effective at making a person more "visable". All the data I have seen proves it.

We are all free to make our own choices. I wear it, and don't give a rip if anyone else does.
 

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I think having a high-vis or bright colored helmet is more important than anything. You can see a helmet above car roofs in traffic when in town, which is my biggest concern about being noticed. While I do have a couple pieces of hi-vis gear I don't wear them on interstates when I need to bomb out some miles. I have gotten the impression that it draws drivers into tailgating you, no matter what lane you are in. I realize that it is a strange observation for some, but it is what I have observed from my own experience. One main thing is to remember to have some contrast in how you present to others. I think a bright, single colored helmet that is high in the sightline for others to see, is the best way to establish that contrast. And to be honest, there are so many people wearing hi-vis now that it is getting waved off as another thing to see now. Every construction worker, police officer, emergency crew, etc. is wearing it now, and it doesn't stand out like it used to.


To be honest, even though I am not a fan of hanging a bunch of lights on my bikes, I do believe lighting is your biggest way to get noticed. All my bikes have LED bulbs in place now, and I had an orange filter for my GSA that I would put on one of the aux lights, it is pretty hard to miss when you get that contrast going.


There is a video on youtube somewhere that explains your "rider presence" to other drivers and how you look from different angles. It noted that while moving you are less conspicuous from front and back as there is less noticed movement, and that drivers sometimes miss that with the smaller silhouette of a motorcycle. A motorcycle needs to have more noticeable side to side movement, or in other words, it needs to be moving across the observer's field of view in some way. They teach this in sniper schools to actually AVOID detection as you move toward a target to try to keep lateral movement to the target at a minimum.
 

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Another thing to ponder too...


A white R1200RT or white sport touring bike with bags with a black and white helmet gets noticed pretty well in comparison... To the point that people on highways slow down and change lanes out of the passing lanes for you...
 

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Another thing to ponder too...


A white R1200RT or white sport touring bike with bags with a black and white helmet gets noticed pretty well in comparison... To the point that people on highways slow down and change lanes out of the passing lanes for you...

Yep, you got that right. I've got a white GTL and a white helmet and I've actually pulled up to lights and had the guy next to me say out the window, "man, I thought you were a cop". I'm also a huge believer in proactive honking of the horn. I do my best to stay out of blind stops, but if I find myself in one, or if I see some dude in a car swivel his head, I'll give a quick tri-beep on the horn to just make sure they know I'm there.
 

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There are so many thoughts on what may or may not work regarding hi-viz, what color is better etc.

I read so much about hi-viz last year, and personally decided to purchase a hi-viz rain jacket from TSC farm store in high viz Green for obvious wet weather wear , but since I have so much clothing - 9 suits / outfits now ) I went with a really good mesh vest - extremely high viz and in my case Orange and Yellow HV ( https://www.tscstores.com/SAFETY-TRAFFIC-VEST-P4926.aspx $15 bucks ) - what I found after wearing it on every ride is the vest worked perfectly actually - i could wear my regular jacket, or leather jacket, or mesh jacket and it just slipped on over top - no muss and truly dirt cheap compared to buying yet another outfit..... I also put a 2 inch wide red and silver hi-viz tape ( https://www.tscstores.com/Tape-Reflective-RedSilver-15-x-4-P2609.aspx $10 bucks) - looks like a barber shop sign - down the middle of my Schuberth and on both sides. I can only say I saw way more eyeballs looking at me running down the road then before! I agree we don't change our mindset about riding defensively but for a total investment of $25 bucks, and the ability to take the vest off once I get to my destination and still have my regular jacket worked out perfectly for me.
 

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Anything that adds to visibility is a good thing. That said, no guarantees that the person texting on their phone is even going to be looking in your direction as they swerve out of their lane... Being tall and having chimpanzee arms, I have trouble finding stuff that fits. That is my first priority. In recent years, I've got with a lot of yellow. Always felt my bright yellow Gold Wing jumped out a bit more than a darker colored bike. When others at work began to tell me I looked like a train coming down the road with my bright lights, that made an impression on me. With no yellow available on the 2019 K1600s, I ended up with the dark green (pollux). Didn't feel the BMW lights were as noticeable/bright as what I had on the Goldwing and the discussions on this forum led me to the Clearwater lights. I really think those are a game changer in both day and night situations. Not cheap...but I think a worthwhile investment. We've had 12 motorcyclists die this year in Colorado Springs, which is, sadly, a new record. A large number of them could be described as the car/truck driver simply not seeing the motorcycist. No single solution out there to guarantee we will be seen, but I think every little bit helps, whether bright colors, reflective pieces, lights, etc.
 
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As has been mentioned on this thread, Clearwater LED's make all the difference in being seen. I believe they are more effective than Hi-Vis clothing because of the difference in distance detection. I have both Ericas and Darlas installed. When they are all on, there is no way an auto could not see me. High-end lights like Clearwaters are pricey, yes. I have determined that motorcycle safety is my responsibility. I have chosen to never ride without high end LED driving lamps for visibility. There is too much to risk.
 

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I think you got it right when you said "Am I just old and I don't give a crap about how I look? Or am I old and simply wiser?"...

Clearly it is safer (pun intended). Unfortunately, MANY riders get caught up in the looks and would rather ride look'n cool then safe. More sport-touring riders where hi-viz for what I see as a couple of reasons: They see other do it more on these bikes so they can both fit in and be safe; Some do it because we tend ride more, can be in bad weather, and often at higher speeds and literally need some protection from the elements; and my final reason - we tend to be older riders and accept the fact that no one's looking at us any more :) buy what's safe and get home to the family!
 

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Excellent! I'll have to remember that.

If you want to be a real smart-aleck, such as if you're called an insulting name by a member of the conformist cabal, you can tell them, "Well, ya know, wearing hi-viz is the clothing version of your loud pipes...except, you know, I'm not being a rude, inconsiderate @$$hole to everyone around me. Oh, and I'm secure enough in my masculinity to not need to wear black leather. But, ya know, othewise, we're a lot alike." >:)
I am going out and buying those Lycra suits the bike riders wear but in the Hi-Vis so I can really be noticed lol. Really and honestly it comes back to what you consider makes you stand out and feel safer,I say wear what you want, respect others for what they wish to wear or not. I am guilty of wearing a Hi-Vis jacket in the rain and when I had to wear one for work I always rode to and from work regardless of the weather or time of day. I don't care what others think of it and to be honest, if one extra driver or rider sees you because you're wearing a hi-vis outfit, jacket or pants then that a bonus. I have to admit I wear long sleeve shirts more than I use to when I was younger to save my arms from being burnt by the sun or wind as I have had too many melanomas do not take care of my self, the same applies to what I do when riding in the rain or overcast weather. Just my 2 cents worth and no disrespect to anyone if they do not agree with my comments. They are only opinions and examples of what I do. :smile::wink: I also like to have as much light and reflective stick on reflection on my bike without being silly and over the top. I don't think emergency services around the world have them on their cars, bikes and trucks without some benefit, so I am happy to light up like a Christmas tree lol.
 

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While I fully agree Hi-viz definitely makes you MORE viz, I have made the conscious decision not to wear it. For one, evidence can't seem to prove it helps.

Let me explain. I was in the military stationed in San Diego back in the '80s when the navy made wearing reflective and Hi-viz outerwear mandatory. The rule was introduced with a grace period so I decided to experiment and see if Hi-viz made one more or less likely to avoid accidents. I alternated wearing and then not wearing the reflective vest one most commonly sees on road construction workers. Bright orange and highly reflective at night. The experiment involved going the same route at the same times of the day and night both to work and also to places I frequented around the city during a normal week. The experiment lasted a couple of months. I found myself avoiding accidents more frequently while wearing the vest.

So, I followed the rules by putting it on just outside the gate and taking it back off once leaving. Over the years, I would sometimes attend some sort of event where the Hi-viz stuff would be required in the community, and I found myself avoiding cage drivers again. I believe the stuff tended to distract drivers making them more likely to drift out of their lanes or they would fail to understand the reflective thing was moving towards them.

Recently, the DOD has rescinded the requirement for personnel riding on base to wear the Hi-viz and reflective clothing. Although still highly recommended, after 30+ years, evidence couldn't prove it was saving military lives. Motorcycles are one of the bigger killers of active duty military after combat and suicide so if the stuff helped at all, there would be no way DOD would have stopped making people wear it.

I do firmly follow the ATGATT concept though and have had wonderful experiences by consistently walking away form bad experiences while wearing it. Also, never underestimate a high quality helmet. Arai for me.

There is solid evidence in lighting, especially when arranged in a triangle pattern. When riding my GTL with the lower running lights turned on, I have yet to see another driver pull out or make a left turn in front of me. 5 years now. Plain white lights in a triangle pattern.
 

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Human behavior and hi-viz

Thoughts on why every motorcyclist should wear hi-viz..

First, I have no strong bias one way or another, to each their own and I am not (really!!) trying to make a case but rather spark some thoughts (and its frickin winter). To that end, here are my thoughts on why everyone on a motorcycle should wear hi-viz.

Everyone is a byproduct of their environment, their education, and their capacity. This isn't about your sexual orientation or your bias for violence, I mean just 'who' you are is the result of years of training and who you are at this moment, how you think, and most importantly how you react is directly related to those things you have learned and experienced throughout your life. Can you change, certainly, but humans as a rule have an astounding capacity to resist change once a behavior becomes ingrained. The most intuitive example is riding a bicycle, once you learn, you pretty much know how to ride one for life because it is an extremely repetitive exercise of balancing forces and the consequences of not getting it right can be some high degree of pain, something your brain very much wants to avoid.

On the perceptual level our brains work by classifying the stimulus it receives through several layers of processing of which the highest level is 'do something now without thinking about it' (unconscious reaction) and the other bookend is 'maybe think about it later' or 'simply ignore it'. Focusing only on your visual system, your brain cannot possibly qualify or classify everything you see and in fact it does quite the opposite without you every thinking about it. The brain purposefully limits the stimulus you receive to that which you must react to (imminent threat) and everything else on a priority of reactions based on your current objectives. At the highest end and the first layer of processing is how your brain reacts to imminent threats. That is the flight/fight reaction. This is the unconscious level which requires no pre-training. A tree falling in anyone's direction will get the same reaction (flight without thinking) despite nobody previously having had a tree fall on them, even a young child having learned the basics of walking will understand that fall = bad. On the other end of the spectrum is our learned behaviors, things like stop signs for which we have to train our brains for the proper reaction because a stop sign is not anywhere on the scale of threat until your brain becomes ingrained with the consequences of not stopping which could be anywhere from an accident to a ticket to nothing.. That is a learned reaction.

So, on to Hi-Viz. All around us we have (are being) trained that hi-viz is associated with some level of consequence. It could be law enforcement, emergency personnel, construction workers, or simply danger signs. It is because of those applications of hi-viz that we as motorcyclists should be wearing hi-viz so we can train everyones brain that hi-viz means a list of things to pay attention to including motorcycles. Whatever the purpose for the hi-viz, our brains are being trained to recognize those colors and associate them with a level of consequences that tells us ‘probably best to pay attention at minimum’. Even small flashes of those colors tend to get our attention, forcing a behavioral change (the training kicks in) of slow down, pay attention, avoid the consequence. As drivers are being trained to learn, understand, and react to these colors, reinforcing the colors through continuous exposure only reinforces the proper reaction. (that’s how your brain and learning work) Continuously exposing drivers to those colors and associating them with motorcycles *will* train those drivers to apply the same classification to motorcycles as they do other applications.

To those that think that everyone wearing hi-viz just increases our tolerance for hi-viz I offer the following. You don’t ignore stop signs, flashing red/blue lights, or falling trees. It is because you are trained for the consequences and your brain classifies consequences at a higher level than your current objectives (whatever you are trying to do) that the high association rate of hi-viz colors with non-motorcycle activities and specific consequences that the hi-viz colors will not blend back into our subconscious. Drivers will - without knowing why, recognize and classify hi-viz at a higher level than surrounding and competing stimulus for that reason. The opposite end is this. Motorcycles are at the low end of classification when it comes to threat level (unconscious reaction) for other drivers so you are fully relying on a drivers perceptive capacity and educated reaction to avoid hitting you to begin with, why not change their perception by being classified at the same level as other use applications for hi-viz. To those that say that the evidence doesn't suppport it you are right but also very wrong. You are right that the accident rate has not gone down but the reality is the majority of most motorcycle accidents are self inflicted, the rest are a much smaller fraction. The goal of hi-viz is to increase awareness by increasing visibility, it is for that reason we use specific colors as standards for recognition. It is why highway signs are green, cones are orange, and it is the basis of our general communication (money, danger, etc) all have specific and standardized colors. The fact that we are targeting a goal (visibility) and that the goal is quantifiable (you are more visible) should be enough. How do you quantify the accident that didn't happen?

Just coffee talk..
 

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Interesting to read how people can rationalize hi-viz away. We're not talking about respect for ones rights. Everyone can do what they want. We're just discussing the merits of being more visible. This was a good question to throw out there. Thanks.

Chuck
 

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I wear hi-viz vest while working outside my volunteer police vehicle, by policy. I work many accidents and have hours and hours of standing at scenes with my flashing lights and flares and my hi-viz vest, directing traffic with lighted wands. I have been successful in avoiding a car-volunteer collision, but I cannot tell you how many times the drivers have said "I didn't see you" as they pass the accident scene. Many times they roll right up on us. So, with this personal experience, I have chosen to wear motorcycle clothing that I enjoy wearing, and it is not hi-viz. I have much less motorcycle experience than most people here, so I cast no aspersions on those who favor hi-viz clothing. I wear protective clothing and ride defensively, assuming that no one sees me and no one will ever see me.
 

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I look at this way. It may or it may not work, but if it works just ONE time then it was worth it.
 

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Hi-viz and reflective will make you more visible. Also, White Helmet can be seen much sooner than any other color.
 

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Hi-viz and reflective will make you more visible. Also, White Helmet can be seen much sooner than any other color.
Good to know as I just purchased a hi viz jacket and the glossy white Sena Momentum Pro for this riding season.


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