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  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
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana
    Team Pterodactyl
    2018 Ural Gear Up, 2017 R1200GSA

  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
    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

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    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

  11. #11
    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

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by brownie0486 View Post
    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.
    Again, I am not advocating one side or the other.

    As stated, you must realize the specifics of the situation.
    I know I am opening a can of pit vipers here, but personal experience has put the awareness of my presence with cagers when I throttled the Harley and my "loud pipes" were taken notice of.

    I am not advocating the loud pipe thing either.
    I look at this more pragmatically.

    The high viz. stuff creates a condition of standing out, just as much as alot of noise causes people to garnish their attention to the situation.
    Experienced drivers fall into two separate conditions and no one driver stays in only one.

    The first is that the visual becomes so ordinary that they start to ignore it.

    Secondly: Same with the sound of loud pipes. I have personally witnessed this as well, when the loud sound meant nothing because the drivers were so use to it. it meant nothing but background noise.

    These experienced drivers also over time learn to watch out for the bikes in large part but some miss and accidents happen. So it becomes sort of a net zero sum gain.

    On the other side of this are the inexperienced drivers who become startled and/or are not use to seeing high viz so they pay attention to that. This sometimes startels them and causes accedents, other times they pay attention and deal with it.

    Honestly, there is no one formula and you will never know what if anything has saved your life.

    Most of this IMO falls to the training and practice that should IMO be mandatory for all drivers.

    But that's another discussion.

  13. #13
    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)

  14. #14
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    Black from head to toe works pretty well.
    I know many think black riding gear is a crime as well as black motorcycles. Sure, the Hurt report said white helmets work...but they are not the golden egg and hi-viz came along years later since the report.

    I ride with someone who has both and over 200K on beemers and very few stories. Her worst get off was a non ABS v-twin in gravel and a fellow rider following too close that ran her over...it wasn't a visibility issue.

    What is common on her bikes is triangle pattern lighting up front and additional brake lighting also in a triangle. My belief is the light placement and use is more effective to being seen. Sure, bright colors add to visibilty, but under some circumstances, like darkness, are moot. From the side or back, I can see hi-viz. From the front, the bike/s reen/tankbag hides most of her...now some of our larger friends have a lot more fabric and thus may be more visible

    When she is actually following, I cannot see what color helmet or jacket she is wearing, but I know when the lights are not on.
    My personal study was conducted when I commuted into Austin almost daily by motorcycle...the days I rode bikes with no triangle, I had encounters, the days I rode lit up bikes I did not...it was repeatable and noticeable.Now all bikes have added lighting.

    She has hi-viz gear as well and if close enough, I can see it...but not over a quarter mile. But that's my Friday night anecdotal opinion. I have a lemon jacket I wear at times, but it has more bug splatter and road grime and maybe not so yellow anymore.

    Bottom line for me is wear what works for your comfort level...you know from a previous thread the kids do not appreciate being preached to or guilted and will make their own choices anyways
    Last edited by henzilla; 01-12-2019 at 02:19 AM.
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  15. #15
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Recall all the years of "what color works for fire trucks?"

    Our local was red, lime, white, and now back to red. The ambulance is white, seems was lime for a bit.
    Those patterns do stand out.


    And without quoting...voicing an opinion and bullying falls in the same approach? ...really
    Either snowing or out of oatmeal K?
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and SABMWRA Prez

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

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