Why high-vis doesn’t make you highly visible

The Guardian newspaper have published a very good article on their popular Bike Blog around the subject of high-vis clothing not being quite as safe as you may have assumed.

The article looks at studies performed on the visibility of motorcycles travelling during the daytime, and found that it wasn’t high-vis clothing as such that helped a rider stand out and be seen – it was contrasting clothing – clothing of a different colour to its background. ¬†And so if you’re riding against a light background, it would actually be best to wear black!

The thing to remember, about being visible on the road, is that it’s not about what you wear, it’s about how you act. All the high-vis and flashing lights in the world is not going to do you much good if you ride in the gutter, as drivers only tend to scan the centre of the road to look for other vehicles.

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog richardbloomfield.ie.

One thought on “Why high-vis doesn’t make you highly visible

  • 7 August, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Thanks for the post Richard. There has been much discussion here in Australia as well re the effectiveness or non effectiveness of Hi Vis for cyclists. Seems like it is now spreading worldwide. Thanks for the article links. Tammy


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