We all agree that motorcycling is a risky business, but very few people wear hi-vis motorcycle gear on their travels. I confess, I don’t, either, and frankly, I don’t plan to. But perhaps I should? In Europe, I’ve seen many more riders in hi-vis gear than in North America and South America put together. Some simply wear either hi-vis neon green or white helmets, but quite a lot go all the way wearing hi-vis riding suits or at least, hi-vis vests.
What are the pros and cons of hi-vis motorcycle gear?
This one’s painfully obvious: hi-vis gear is meant to make us more visible on the road and it traffic. According to this study, “Drivers wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37% lower risk of crash related injury”. But it seems we might actually be using the wrong colours. Neon green and yellow aren’t the colours which pop the most, especially in rural environments or forested areas; if you really want to stand out, hot pink, it turns out, is the way to go.
Light vs Colour
The human eye detects light faster than colour. This is why, apparently, bright lights and triangles of amber lights might be more effective than any bright colour.
Being Mistaken for Police
This is a pretty neat bonus if you’re traveling in the developing world: since you’re on a larger motorcycle than most locals, you might be mistaken for police or military if you’re clad in a hi-vis suit.
So if wearing bright hi-vis colours increase our chances of being seen, why do we hate wearing them so much? According to this article, it’s because we think it looks silly. Motorcycle riders, it turns out, care about how they look (A lot!), and black remains among the most popular gear colours despite being very low-visibility.
Do you wear hi-vis motorcycle gear on your travels and why?