Photo by Pete Dowe
(Common sense is often lacking.)
"... in most situations being easily seen still makes good sense."
when it comes to other risks like simply being seen, or the large proportion of drivers who overtake within the sub one metre range."
Is it true high visibility clothing doesn’t help cyclists?
I welcome the fact that commuter cycling has increased by 35 per cent in the past five years. This is a good thing. But cyclists — and not just drivers — need to do more to make the roads safe for all of us.
Cyclists need to do more to be safe on the road. When did you last see a rider in a high-vis vest?
Many people have theories to say that cyclists can make themselves safer if they wear this or that. Our study suggests that, no matter what you wear, it will do nothing to prevent a small minority of people from getting dangerously close when they overtake you.
Five outfits were tested, ranging from a stereotypical sport rider’s outfit, portraying high experience and skill, to a vest with ‘novice cyclist’ printed on the back, portraying low experience. A high-visibility bicycling jacket was also used, as were two commercially available safety vests, one featuring a prominent mention of the word ‘police’ and a warning that the rider was video-recording their journey, and one modelled after a police officer’s jacket but with a letter changed so it read ‘POLITE’.
(High-visibility) clothing is intended primarily to make riders less likely to be overlooked, rather than influence the behaviour of people who have already seen them.
Motorists are responsible for 79% of crashes between cyclists and motoristsaccording to an Adelaide study (not 90%); and the speed limit in Melbourne’s Hoddle grid is already 40 km/hr. Doubtful proposition: “Cyclists should be required to work harder to match the speed of the majority of road users — the cars around them”. How could that possibly work?
Bear in mind this is only one study. It’s done by a single researcher cycling over a period of months (on his regular commute) on the same route in another country. I’ve discussed some of these limitations in a similar study done by the same lead researcher (see Do motorists drive closer to cyclists wearing helmets?)