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Thread: Visible Riding Gear

  1. #1

    Visible Riding Gear

    I don't know why the Colorado BMW two wheelers like their Day-glo Yellow Riding gear so much, but its a rare Beemer rider here that I've seen that's not wearing it. I know some riders won't get on their bike without their high-vis vest, so it could just be a lot of that here.

    I was curious what other two-wheelers observations are about commuting in traffic. Over 10 years ago, I rode an all red Honda VFR. It was Honda Red, very shiny, very bright. I was on a budget, so I started out wearing a brown leather bomber style jacket. Parts of my commute involved thick traffic on four lane roads. I routinely had a car (usually a full size SUV) attempt to merge into my place in bumper to bumper traffic. I got a new jacket that resembled a racer style jacket, lots of logos, bright stripes, lots of contrasting colors. I called it the "Racer Wanna-be" jacket. All of the incidents of people trying to merge into my spot stopped after I started wearing it. My theory is that the drivers around me saw my outfit and snickered, "look another motorcyclist who wishes he was Kenny Roberts." Yet, it stuck in their head, that there was a person on the motorcycle, and treated me with that level of 'respect.'

    What has been other rider's experiences about commuting safety and your observations from it? This thread is about attire or similar methods, because a discussion about technique can be many threads, like an Audi that tried to run a red light and almost ran over me.
    2016 S1000RR - Red White & Blue & Stock

  2. #2
    I have 3 hi viz yellow jackets and a vest of the same color. Look like a bumble bee on a bike, but people do notice you easier/sooner IMO. The close calls seem to have diminished considerably since acquiring and deciding to use the hi viz gear.
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

  3. #3
    Registered User mlytle's Avatar
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    same here. all my jackets are high viz yellow, i wear a hi-vis helite turtle vest over top, and i have a hi-viz yellow shoei helmet.

    (and then there are the skene led lights front and rear on the bike)

    i just wish the apparel manufacturers would make more gear in colors other than BLACK.....like pants. why is the most popular color for MC gear the one that makes you the most invisible to others on the road?
    Marshall
    92 K75s, 94 K75s, 96 K1100RS (caretaker), 09 K1300s

  4. #4
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    The science I have read indicates that bright colors are more visible to the human eye. And in periods of low light (nighttime, rain, etc) more bright lights are helpful too. Thus, I wear bright yellow jackets and a white or yellow helmet, plus I have extra light on my bike. For me, they work.

    Another thought for you: remember that drivers behind you are also likely to not notice you, so think about how visible you are to them. If your bike has a rear topbox, the back of your jacket is not visible. Therefore, you need a jacket with the shoulders and arms also the bright color. Hint: lots of yellow jackets have black accents that essentially cover the shoulders and arms. Not good.

    One more thought: since I do not ride much at night (I am leery of drunks and animals on the roadway), my extra lights on my bike are yellow LEDs (yellow is more noticeable at night than white because it is less common) and are placed as far away from my main headlight as possible, thus creating more separation of my lights and making my "light signature" a little larger. I believer this helps.

    Bottom line: visible riding gear is seldom a fashion statement; it is about safety.

    BTW: red is almost invisible at night; while it is very visible in bright daylight, not at all true when the darkness enters the picture.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    Thumbs up

    Hi-vis HELITE Air-Bag vest goes over any jacket I own, so all colors and styles are on the table.

    Have definitely noticed that being noticed (Hi-Viz garments, modulating headlights, white helmet, etc.) has reduced my close calls and improved driver awareness around me.

    "Be seen today, so you're still around tomorrow."

  6. #6
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    I'm holding out for invisible riding gear.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  7. #7
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I'm holding out for invisible riding gear.
    check www.wonderwomancouture.com for a nice selection.

    Friedle
    Ride fast safely

  8. #8
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Link does not work... probably a good thing.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  9. #9
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I'm holding out for invisible riding gear.
    All joking aside, it good to ride like you're invisible.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  10. #10
    Throwing in my two cents worth as a former Harley rider and now a flying brick type.

    High viz is true enough, and if some notice, the orange fell out of goodly favor years ago but the day glow yellow ( gilets jaunes) for our French friends is actually a form of green and this is no accident or fashion statement.
    It has to do with frequency of light and the human eye is sensitive to the color green because its in the center of the color spectrum.

    (mentalfloss so take it with a grain of salt)...
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/50075...le-color-world

    but its because it falls to 555 nanometers in the wavelength.

    Even for color blind people it is highly visible for a variety of reasons.

    But there is another factor touched on and that is the other drivers.
    I have worn black leather, brown leather, green textile, orange, yellow, blue, purple and nearly every other color except pink. In all of it, the colors eventually become something that the brain ignores as per the fact that once the initial shock of the color is generally recognized, people have a tendency to become use to it.
    thus the evasion aspect then falls back to the rider and the drivers of the cages.

    In my experience with the Harley, it was more to the lack of driving education, and mental awareness that brought many of the close calls to me, including I might add a New Mexico State Police officer when i was on the back of a bright white V-rod. When I laid on my horn he first jumped and looked with incredulous vision and the person who dared honk at a SP. But when he realized what HE was doing, then the attitude changed.

    I have had similar experiences with high-viz clothing with a BIA Federal officer, various gov. drivers of various acronymal agencies, and the day to day joes, who most of the time are young and inexperienced millinals and tween-ty something newbies.

    IMO I get the arguments but my personal experience is more akin to the lack of seriousness of the other drivers.

    Not to discourage the use here at all.

    for my world, it makes little difference.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by soocom1 View Post
    Throwing in my two cents worth as a former Harley rider and now a flying brick type.

    High viz is true enough, and if some notice, the orange fell out of goodly favor years ago but the day glow yellow ( gilets jaunes) for our French friends is actually a form of green and this is no accident or fashion statement.
    It has to do with frequency of light and the human eye is sensitive to the color green because its in the center of the color spectrum.

    (mentalfloss so take it with a grain of salt)...
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/50075...le-color-world

    but its because it falls to 555 nanometers in the wavelength.

    Even for color blind people it is highly visible for a variety of reasons.

    But there is another factor touched on and that is the other drivers.
    I have worn black leather, brown leather, green textile, orange, yellow, blue, purple and nearly every other color except pink. In all of it, the colors eventually become something that the brain ignores as per the fact that once the initial shock of the color is generally recognized, people have a tendency to become use to it.
    thus the evasion aspect then falls back to the rider and the drivers of the cages.

    In my experience with the Harley, it was more to the lack of driving education, and mental awareness that brought many of the close calls to me, including I might add a New Mexico State Police officer when i was on the back of a bright white V-rod. When I laid on my horn he first jumped and looked with incredulous vision and the person who dared honk at a SP. But when he realized what HE was doing, then the attitude changed.

    I have had similar experiences with high-viz clothing with a BIA Federal officer, various gov. drivers of various acronymal agencies, and the day to day joes, who most of the time are young and inexperienced millinals and tween-ty something newbies.

    IMO I get the arguments but my personal experience is more akin to the lack of seriousness of the other drivers.

    Not to discourage the use here at all.

    for my world, it makes little difference.
    But there's still a difference? I'd think increasing visibility even a little would be prudent, when possible. I'll take every little difference I can at being see. Hence the added lights, brake lights, and reflective striping on helmets and bags.
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

  12. #12
    Registered User JIGGIN's Avatar
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    I have a BMW Air Shell jacket that is almost completely sun bleached white. Is there any way that I can get that Hi-Viz color back? other than buying a new jacket
    2014 R1200RT

  13. #13
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    Other than wearing a Hi Viz vest over the jacket, I don't think so.

    Friedle
    Ride fast safely

  14. #14
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JIGGIN View Post
    I have a BMW Air Shell jacket that is almost completely sun bleached white. Is there any way that I can get that Hi-Viz color back? other than buying a new jacket
    True Hi-Vis is fluorescent, which appears bright because of a chemical conversion of (invisible) UV light to light in the visible range. When the chemical in the material is fully converted, it's time for replacement.

    I try to extend the life of my Hi-Viz stuff by keeping it in the dark when I'm not riding. Helmet goes in the top box. Jacket goes in the closet at home, goes under the half cover on the seat when travelling or at least with the Hi-Viz folded to the inside.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  15. #15
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I'm holding out for invisible riding gear.
    Black from head to toe works pretty well.
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

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