Why does Hi-Viz not "work" on me?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Yossarian™, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    It's not that I don't find it fashionable. It's just that my eyes don't notice it with any greater urgency than other riding gear.

    I do happen to take notice of folks wearing hi-viz yellow and orange clothing or vests, but only after I've already identified them as riders (and passengers). Just as you use a bike's model, color, and rider's gear to differentiate between riders, the hi-viz just offers me one more color from which to choose.

    So why is this? Is it because as a long time rider I'm more attuned to looking for other motorcycles? I always seem to notice them long before the rider's gear is identified. Help me out here - why do I not see hi-viz clothing any more than other gear?
    #1
  2. KilLeR Kawasaki

    KilLeR Kawasaki Marky A

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    Why you wouldn't notice a neon yellow jacket more than a flat black jacket is beyond the scope of the casual observer. Do you have color blindness issues?
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  3. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I have a feeling it's more because you are already looking for motorcycles so the extra visibility is wasted on you. For most of the slack-jawed, mouth breathing, texting, big gulp drinking moronic cagers out there, a guy in a bright yellow jacket in the middle of the road is something new -- they are just not looking for motorcycles. They are looking for other cars (and suck at that most of the time).
    #3
  4. JDLuke

    JDLuke Ravening for delight

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    I guess it's more a matter of catching the eye of someone who's only looking up from their text messaging for a quarter of a second or so at a time.
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  5. duck

    duck Banned

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    Hi-viz gear is a "passive" safety measure - as opposed to something like aux ligthing which is more active.
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  6. JDLuke

    JDLuke Ravening for delight

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    To my mind, active safety measures are things like maintaining extra distance to the car in front, choosing lane position based on sightlines (both yours and theirs), and weaving in your lane to give people a chance to understand your relative positions.

    Auxiliary lights, not so much. I still consider that passive, as in something you don't have to think about or do.

    This is just how I think about stuff, of course.
    #6
  7. mmitchell57

    mmitchell57 Vulcan Halfbreed

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    I agree w/ you here. I've seen an active trait as something you actually do in order for it to work. Sorta like whistling. Passive is something that's occurs with out your intervention and is always occurring.
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  8. Ebbs15

    Ebbs15 Parttime Saddletramp

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    wouldn't passive being anything that would require the other person to GIVE their attention... like bright clothing

    active would be something that GETS their attention... like a flashing light :dunno

    just my take...


    as for the OP's question... no idea... I notice HiViz WAY before I notice any other color...

    that being said... I notice the motorcycle first if they're coming at me about 70% of the time... depends on the headlights... if I'm at any other angle than in front of them... I notice the gear (or lack there of here) first, especially HiViz
    #8
  9. Sir Not Appearing

    Sir Not Appearing That's no ordinary rabbit

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    I'm the same way. I'll see a group of motorcyclists but not notice Hi-Viz stuff until I scan through the group. Then, I think, "Wow. That's bright" but I don't notice it any more than any of the other colors.
    #9
  10. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    One's perception of how they visually perceive things is often faulty. Most visual processing is handled subconsciously and I doubt you can consciously assess how things are going at this level.

    And in any event, you really don't care if you see high-viz earlier, as long as the other guy does. Your stacking the odds slightly more in your favor and you don't need to bat 1000.

    I'm a huge believer that high-viz stuff works.

    - Mark
    #10
  11. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    While I personally do not wear it, I recommend it for all new and returning riders that I sell bikes to.
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  12. Jim Bud

    Jim Bud Long timer

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    My personal reason for "wearing Hi-Viz clothing, white helmet and axulliary lighting" is real simple. Whenever I dress as above and ride, I notice people not pulling out in front of me very often. However, for a test, I have riden with a black jacket, dark helmet and no extra lighting....and for sure I have many more folks "not notice" me and pull out in front of me. And yes, I have repeated this more than once to verify that it was not a fluke.

    So, I have developed a strong correlation between being highly visable and people noticing me.

    In all fairness to science, I have not tried each individual component for affect.....it was all or nothing.
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  13. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    You could wear Black and turn your lights off and use lateral motion to make yourself noticed and accomplish the same thing.

    It all comes down to how people see things and what makes their brains interpret what their eyes send it.

    Lateral motion and odd /bright colors both work well.
    #13
  14. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    As a longtime rider, i wear my Hi-Viz because I have learned that anything that will help the cagers see you, is a good thing. May not be as bad boyish as the required black leather jacket, but if it saves 1 life, well then it was worth it. Mine is the first thing I put on before a ride, after booting up my brain. That is my best tool for survival. Don't leave home without it.
    #14
  15. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    I see a coming problem with Hi Vis green, it is becoming a fashion color. When it is common it will lose much of its effect. I saw a whole softball team in hi-vis. I am thinking of getting hi-vis orange just to be different, then when the sheeple change to that I can drag out the hi vis green again.

    Rod
    #15
  16. XPADREX

    XPADREX Funslinger

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    I think it's because you notice the motorcycles first as a motorcyclist. There's no "shock factor", because as an observant person who isn't somejackass cager who thinks the world exists on a cellphone display.

    Now, I gotta tell ya- the other day I was riding my bike home at twilight. I was crossing a bridge- and saw what I first thought were fireflies. Turns out they were the reflectors on the pedals of two bikes crossing the bridge in the other direction. I swear to you I couldn't see those guys other than that. I know it wasn't "cool" when we were kids, but damn- my kids riding there would require something visible.

    I've had more than enough people comment on my hi-viz when I was on the road to think it doesn't work.
    #16
  17. KilLeR Kawasaki

    KilLeR Kawasaki Marky A

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    Active safety controls, in the car biz, would describe items like stability control, ABS, etc. Passive controls would describe seat belts, airbags, active headrests, anything that would work for you once the dung hits the fan.

    The passive on the bike would just be gear I guess, and the active everything done to avoid incidents including modulating lights, moving laterally to increase visibility, colors, etc.
    #17
  18. duck

    duck Banned

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    Hi viz green does have one disadvantage though, it's green. I was driving a cage one day in early spring and the new bright green spring leaves were on the trees. The rider in front of me, in his hi viz green vest blended right in. :lol3
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  19. Cheshire

    Cheshire Anachronistic rideby

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    On that note, yellow and orange are about to lose some of their effectiveness with leaf season 'round the bend. Green's about to come into it's one effective season (IMHO).
    #19
  20. Motorrad Steve

    Motorrad Steve Adventurer

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    Why are the less visible than long time riders?
    #20