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Thread: Motorcyclist Visibility

  1. #1

    Motorcyclist Visibility

    There are a lot opinions out there about what is the best combo of colors to wear. I have made observations over the past several years. I just got back from a long trip out west. Horrible weather. I didn't see many bikes until I got back further east. What I have noticed, especially with bikes that have windshields and fairings, is that no color stands out until I get very near the bike at an angle. I do notice lights. It seems by the time I notice the rider I would have already made a move detrimental to the bikes well being. I think movement and lights gets, at least mine, more attention. Just my two cents.
    Buck in Greensboro, NC
    2013 R 1200 RT Midnight Blue - traded, 2014 R 1200 RT Ebony Metallic, 2016 S 1000 XR

  2. #2
    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    I spot white helmets and day-glo jackets as good as or better than lights. I was riding home a while ago when I spotted another rider dressed like that a half a mile ahead of me. Needless to say, I'm a BIG believer in hi-viz outerwear.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

  3. #3
    By ahead of you do you mean you are approaching from behind? If so then If there is no luggage or top box blocking the view I agree colors will help. The most common motorcycle wreck is something turning in front of us. That is where the visibility is important.
    Buck in Greensboro, NC
    2013 R 1200 RT Midnight Blue - traded, 2014 R 1200 RT Ebony Metallic, 2016 S 1000 XR

  4. #4
    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfbeemer View Post
    By ahead of you do you mean you are approaching from behind? If so then If there is no luggage or top box blocking the view I agree colors will help. The most common motorcycle wreck is something turning in front of us. That is where the visibility is important.
    This was in rush hour traffic and for just a brief moment he popped out. By this I mean that the road turned to the left way ahead and because of that turn, for just a moment, he was visible. Were it not for the hi-viz clothing, I would not have noticed him.

    My point being that: hi-viz works in making one stand out in traffic. Guys that run around in black riding gear just melt into the background.

    I'm looking into getting auxiliary lights for my RT but my choice of white helmet and hi-viz jacket I think are more helpful in making me stand out in traffic than those will be.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

  5. #5
    I installed some Aux LED lights onto the crash bars on my R90S last year after a car pulled out to pass another on a 2 lane road last year. I don't think he saw me coming. The headlight on that old airhead is not really bright. I luckily saw him pull into my lane and had enough time to take the shoulder of the road or he would have hit me.

    With all the people texting and talking on their phones or not looking when pulling out from a side street, you need to be as visible as possible and then that still might not be enough.

    Two years ago while on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, a buddy and I was just outside Post Texas when he got sideswiped from behind by a pickup truck. Luckily he wasn't seriously injured and his riding gear saved him. The guy said he fell asleep at the wheel and didn't know he had hit him.

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  6. #6
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    I like high viz gear and wear it often. Wish the Rallye suit came with at least hi viz shoulders. That said, I never put all my eggs in one basket whether hi viz, conspicuity lights, loud pipes or whatever. All of them are just tools. The most important one is the nut between the handlebars.

    Pete
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

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    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    A few years ago the NH Seacoast had six collisions caused by cars or trucks making left turns in front of motorcycles. Most of these were fatal. Being a classic BMW guy, I bought a high vis yellow jacket and added Skene Photon Blasters to the font and back (rears blink with brake application, the fronts flicker constantly). After some additional thought I added a set of Clearwater LED spotlights. I may look like an alien mother ship coming in for a landing, but folks seem to see me.

    If Skene made real photon blasters it would be even better...
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  8. #8
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    @anyname - I didn't think much of Photon Blasters when I saw them at Jerry Skene's booth at a past rally. But when I saw them on a bike coming up behind me I became a believer. Those things really catch your eye!
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  9. #9
    Registered User WWeldin's Avatar
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    Photon Blasters

    I, too, have the Skenes up front on my C. They are mounted tp the caliper bolts and believe me, my first week of riding with them, I deifinitely noticed traffic doing a double take before pulling out in front of me. The lights have the conspicuity flicker activated, which contributed to their success. I ddi not notice if it diminished any "left turn in front of me" traffic, but I love the lights. My helmet during those times was black. I now have a Resonance Red colored helmet from Schuberth. While not exactly white (or hi viz,) it pops better than the black.

    My RT has the BMW auxiliary driving lights mounted low on the Ilium Works engine guards, which I think helps with being seen. On occasion, I do a quick swerve when coming into a situation that would help me get noticed. I call it my Crazy Ivan. It is my belief that what really catches another motorist's eyes is movement. Too many folks get their eyes fixated and that tends to create a vision tunnel.

    I do appreciate the posts on this thread.

    Cheers,
    William
    2000 R1200C, 2019 R1250RT

  10. #10
    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    Wish the Rallye suit came with at least hi viz shoulders.

    Pete
    Having large areas of hi-viz fabric is my #1 discriminator when I shop for a new jacket.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    @anyname - I didn't think much of Photon Blasters when I saw them at Jerry Skene's booth at a past rally. But when I saw them on a bike coming up behind me I became a believer. Those things really catch your eye!
    Skene will be my 1st stop at the rally. I hear so much about the flickering but it doesn't come through in videos I've seen.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

  11. #11
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfbeemer View Post
    There are a lot opinions out there about what is the best combo of colors to wear.
    Opinions are nice, and everyone has one, but I put more faith in legitimate safety studies. This one is valid for the topic at hand: https://www.bmj.com/content/328/7444/857.full

    Note: visibility is important; call it conspicuity. But it is not the complete answer because there are idiot drivers out there who will pull out or turn across lanes of traffic even though their vision is blocked and they can't possibly see enough to make a move but they do anyway. So one needs to not only scan for obvious hazards, one needs to scan for dangerous situations, where other motorists' vision are blocked and realize there are people dumb enough or careless enough to go anyway. So watch for blocked vision - it contributes to many very serious accidents.

    Harry
    Last edited by AKsuited; 06-06-2019 at 01:09 AM.
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

  12. #12
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Here is the quick summary from the MAIDS Study:

    The cause of the majority of PTW accidents collected in this study was found to be human error. The most frequent human error was a failure to see the PTW within the traffic environment, due to lack of driver attention, temporary view obstructions or the low conspicuity of the PTW.

    "PTW" means powered two-wheeler - motorcycle or scooter.

    The MAIDS study was done in Europe.

    You can read the full study by registering, which is quick and easy.

    The study here: http://www.maids-study.eu/

    Harry
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

  13. #13
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    I always wear a white full-face helmet. It is easily perceived and visible 360 degrees. I have auxiliary LED's on my wethead GS. I wear Hi-Viz mesh or a Hi-Viz Helite vest on any kind of trip of more than a few miles. A white helmet is so much easier to spot in traffic than a black helmet, as proven in that first link I provided. Hi-Viz is important but it is not a complete solution - world class defensive driving is also needed.

    Harry
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

  14. #14
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    Here is the quick summary from the MAIDS Study:

    The cause of the majority of PTW accidents collected in this study was found to be human error. The most frequent human error was a failure to see the PTW within the traffic environment, due to lack of driver attention, temporary view obstructions or the low conspicuity of the PTW.

    "PTW" means powered two-wheeler - motorcycle or scooter.

    The MAIDS study was done in Europe.

    You can read the full study by registering, which is quick and easy.

    The study here: http://www.maids-study.eu/

    Harry
    It is hard to imagine an auto accident that is not the result of human error.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  15. #15
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    More from the MAIDS study:

    The clothing worn by the PTW rider was photographed and evaluated for each MAIDS case. A determination was made by the investigator as to whether or not this clothing contributed to the conspicuity of the PTW and the PTW riders. This evaluation was purely subjective on the part of the investigator. Table 8.13 indicates that in 65.3% of all cases, the clothing made no contribution to the conspicuity of the rider or the PTW. There were very few cases found in which the bright clothing of the PTW rider enhanced the PTW’s overall conspicuity (46 cases).There were more cases in which the use of dark clothing decreased the conspicuity of the rider and the PTW (120 cases).


    Harry
    My fleet: 2015 R1200GS, 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid)

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