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  1. #1
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    It can't hurt, but if that's the case, there shouldn't be any more black/dark blue/dark red, etc cars, either. Could hurt visibility.

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    It sounds like a means to blame a dead rider for a driver's error. I wear it. It is a good idea. But it did not make a difference to expert's outcome.

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    Should Hi-Vis be Mandatory?

    Agreed. Good idea but making it mandatory is over the top. There are lots of ways to improve one's visibility.

    I wish pedestrians took visibility more seriously, especially in the urban fringe areas with sparse streetlights where someone in dark clothing can be invisible until you are right on top of them. I find cyclists to be more visible, even if they don't take efforts to be visible.

  5. #5
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    I would prefer they spend some resources enforcing the existing light/reflector laws, there are still a lot of ninjas out at night. An interesting parallel though, is hunter orange. In Maine it was mandatory (at least for deer season), and in VT it is not, and you definitely see more orange in the woods in ME. Efforts to make it mandatory here have failed, despite its proven safety advantage.

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    continuing the tangent...wtf, VT? as a hunter, how am I supposed to know what's hundreds of yards beyond the barrel of my gun when it's camo'd up and trying to hide from me?

    definitely yes to enforcing existing light/reflector laws. makes a huge difference.

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    Living in the very city where this tragedy occurred, I can say the high-viz issue is a distraction to the real cause. The cyclist was hit at a notoriously badly designed piece of road. He was also fully decked-out in high-viz so I don't see how the coroner can make that recommendation when it clearly made no difference.

    I wear a high-viz jacket or pack cover when I ride. I don't rely on it to make me visible. I wear it more to cover my ass (metaphorically) if I get hit. The motorist won't be able to say "oooh, he wasn't wearing high-viz".

  8. #8
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    Not in high vis, but on a bright orange bike wearing bright blue and only 900m from home I had a car turn out of a drive into my path yesterday. I swear you could wear a lighthouse on your head and still get hit.

    Having said that I also had some jerk wearing black on a black motorised bike with no lights try to suicide as I pulled out of a shop the day before. It was night, raining and all I saw was the shadow cross in front of a distant light. I yielded. He then turned across 2 lanes of traffic that was leaving a green light and into a side street to then turned down a one-way street against the traffic. Makes you wonder how Darwin misses some of these morons.

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    Hi Viz in the typical sense is somewhat overrated, at least in my experience. I have used several color schemes in all combinations of weather for the last 18mo(of this commute route) and the worst of the motorist right hooks and clashes have been the days I wear my full yellow coat and helmet flasher. Dual high power bike mounted tail lights are standard in daylight and night as well as headlights and reflectors, so that is a given but the days I have worn a flat "amish" gray coat and black pants I have gotten decidedly more space and respect. It would seem that for at least the times of day that I work, the visibility is not the issue as much as the intent/attitude. That includes snow storms and night/rain btw.
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    [QUOTE=supersedona;10171045]Hi Viz in the typical sense is somewhat overrated, at least in my experience.[QUOTE]

    *** It is. Shows up great (like neon) with a low sun behind the rider and a more upright riding position. Clouds and low light, not so much, and for a rider of six feet in height low beams don't light safety vests up.

    Quote Originally Posted by supersedona View Post
    I have used several color schemes in all combinations of weather for the last 18mo(of this commute route) and the worst of the motorist right hooks and clashes have been the days I wear my full yellow coat and helmet flasher. Dual high power bike mounted tail lights are standard in daylight and night as well as headlights and reflectors, so that is a given but the days I have worn a flat "amish" gray coat and black pants I have gotten decidedly more space and respect. It would seem that for at least the times of day that I work, the visibility is not the issue as much as the intent/attitude. That includes snow storms and night/rain btw.
    *** Drivers won't see us if they are not expecting bikes. Or if in too much of a hurry to look long enough to see. Or "distracted" -one of my experiences. Really a case of poor driving habits. I want to the statement "I did not see you!" to condemn.

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  11. #11
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    This is one of the more recent deaths in my local area for a fully reflective cyclist getting hit. Truth be told, I have the same experience as Ridnparadise - I have lights head to toe,

    Local News | SUV driver was impaired in crash that killed cyclist, Kirkland police say | Seattle Times Newspaper

    The King County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Bradley Nakatani, of Kirkland. He was cycling home from work in Redmond at around 3 a.m. when he was struck, according to his family.

    Nakatani was dressed in head-to-toe reflective gear and had lights on his bicycle and on his helmet, said Kirkland police Lt. Mike Murray. The Medical Examiner's Office said Natakani suffered a skull fracture and multiple other injuries.


    Seattle International Randonneurs and RUSA have mandatory reflective gear requirements on their rides, however you have to buy-in to those.

    I worry about any time they want to make something "mandatory" because it becomes one step further to preventing people from riding and making it less accessible.

  12. #12
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    No. It shouldn't.

    Is it a good idea to wear high vis sometimes? yeah, sure. However the lack of high vis is ZERO excuse for a driver of a car.

    Know whats a better idea? If there is a bike / car accident, its always the car's fault. Can the cyclist have fault too? absolutely. However, I am sick and tired of reading what cyclists should do differently. If there is an incident, the car has some blame (in fact, by default most of the blame), period. I don't care if the bike dropped out of the flipping sky right into the path of a car traveling 70mph. The car driver should have anticipated the chance of falling cyclists and pedestrians.

  13. #13
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    I wear a high-vis base layer.

    No, it shouldn't be mandatory. How could they even enforce it? Does a reflective stripe count or does it have to cover 50% of your body? Can you trade a vest for a flashing 2W tail light? If it gets covered in mud and the reflectivity goes down can you get a ticket? Would I have to wear a vest over all my jerseys in the summer when it is 95 out?

    Some minimum standard for reflectors and lights at night is good and they have that now. Try enforcing that before any new laws are introduced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R+P+K View Post
    I don't rely on it to make me visible. I wear it more to cover my ass (metaphorically) if I get hit. The motorist won't be able to say "oooh, he wasn't wearing high-viz".
    Absolutely. I wear hi-vis just so that I can shake my head in scorn whenever drivers do something stupid in front of me. "What do you mean you didn't see me - I look like a clown dressed up as a christmas tree! [shake-shake-shake] [mumble swear words] [ride off]..."

    But making it mandatory would be ridiculous.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    It can't hurt, but if that's the case, there shouldn't be any more black/dark blue/dark red, etc cars, either. Could hurt visibility.
    But cars already have reflective (or often brightly lit) objects at all four corners, plus blinking lights to signal when they're about to turn (user competence notwithstanding).

    Re: Hi Vis for bikers, yeah, absolutely. Make it simple and just start sticking hi-vis stripes across the backs of jerseys, helmets and hi viz vynil stickers on frames, rims, set points on bars. Enforcing it at the user end would be impossible, ordering all manufacturers of 'bike' parts, clothes etc would get it in more effectively.

    It's kind of odd that trucks, cars and motos all have to have lights and reflectors by law, but pedal bikes don't. Also, if everyone is wearing hi viz then you can permanently end the motorist's claim of 'I didn't see him I swear,'

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fix the Spade View Post
    . Also, if everyone is wearing hi viz then you can permanently end the motorist's claim of 'I didn't see him I swear,'
    It won't. It hasn't for two of us in this tread. Looking and seeing are two different things. But the looking is required before the seeing can happen. Mtbxplorer posted a fighter pilot's discussion of a secade (I think that;s right), where the brain fills in when the driver pans a cross road. So the 'did not see" becomes WTF not. The driver won't have a clue and most likely to police won't either. I wis I knew of that pilot's explanation before I ad the I did not see episode.

    BrianMc

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    So the 'did not see" becomes WTF not. The driver won't have a clue and most likely to police won't either. I wis I knew of that pilot's explanation before I ad the I did not see episode.
    I meant from a legal perspective more than anything, didn't/couldn't see them is the number one excuse trotted out by people charged with dangerous driving in the UK (don't know about US). If everyone's got hi vis bits on all the time, as far as a judge would be concerned 'didn't see' would become 'didn't look properly' and a lot less people would be getting away with it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fix the Spade View Post
    It's kind of odd that trucks, cars and motos all have to have lights and reflectors by law, but pedal bikes don't. Also, if everyone is wearing hi viz then you can permanently end the motorist's claim of 'I didn't see him I swear,'
    I don't know of a single place in the US where bikes are not legally required to have reflectors. EVERY bike sold here comes with the legal minimum. Most US states legally require lights at night, also. VERY few places enforce either law that is already on the books. The last town I lived in did make an effort to enforce the lights law. It wasn't uniformly enforced, but most bikes I saw were lit to some degree. It certainly made things better. Maybe not perfect, but I will say that drivers there EXPECTED to see people on bikes so I had very few problems there.

    Frankly, I rarely wear clothes that would be considered "hi vis" when I'm commuting. My bike is decked out with lights and reflective tape, however, and I also have my helmet decked out with reflective tape. My pack is orange (not safety orange) and has reflective areas on it. Drivers who are paying attention have NO PROBLEM seeing me. There really should be no need for more than that. But unfortunately because so many drivers refuse to pay attention, cyclists have to adjust their clothing/gear to be visible in whatever situation they are in.

    I agree, however, that drivers need to be held more accountable for not paying attention. I agree that if a cyclist makes ANY effort to be seen (especially if those efforts are above those minimally required by law), "I didn't see him" should automatically be interpreted as "I didn't look" and penalties should reflect that.

  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    From link:

    "That said, the lessons only pertain to daylight hours. Virtually all high-vis items have reflective patches or strips, which are, without doubt, a boon after dark."

    It is a bit more nuanced than that IMHO. Even allowing for slightly less sensitivity for night video, I was surprised to find that with car lights on low beam and little street lighting, those strips don't show up well. Under flash photography they look great. Not so on video. On the other hand, bike lights are very visible. So the bottom line is the same: don't depend on a safety vest to be seen. It may or may not help. It won't if you don't wear it, it may add a bit to the pot if you do. That is not a nuance.

    BrianMc

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser, bikeforums, 2010
    I'll give three possibly far-fetched scenarios:

    1. Motorist can see the hi-viz cyclists so well, he risk-compensates and drives faster and hits a cyclist or pedestrian that is not hi-viz (similar happenings up north when they put reflective posts along the highway so the nighttime driver can see where the road curves, and speeds up and plows into a moose)

    2. Cyclists thinks he can be seen so well, he risk-compensates assumes a car that is NOT LOOKING AT ALL can see him.

    2. While riding full-lane, I once had an angry motorist yell something along the lines of "since you are dressed like a roadblock, you must have planned on blocking the road". Maybe he'd pass closer to "send a message"? Who knows.
    I use it throughout the winter and sometimes in the summer, but I think making it mandatory is a bad idea

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