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Big is relative
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I have several articles of hi viz clothing. I have three Voler Commuter jerseys in hi viz yellow with reflective stripes on the sleeves and back, a PI vest, and a standard thin cycling jacket.

For whatever reason, I have my closest calls when I am wearing an article of hi viz. This morning I had my vest on and a truck tried to pass me on the left while I was turning left. I was on the centerline signalling with my arm and it was daylight.

Closer to work, I had two cars pull out in front of me from side streets. The second one was while I was doing 30 mph on a downhill. I didn't need coffee for a while this morning.

Has anyone else had this experience? These aren't isolated incidents. Most of the close calls that I recall occured while I was wearing bright clothing. Maybe I should buy some black jersies or maybe some green ones with trees.
 

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Seen, but deleted.

rmsmith said:
Folks driving cars are looking for other cars; ask anyone who rides a motorcycle.
Agree—you didn't exist. Some studies have come to the conclusion that most experienced drivers only process threats. If their eyes see a non-threatening object, their brain will delete it immediately. This explains why drivers will look straight at you, than pull out in front of you anyway. Or why, in your case, hi-viz didn't work.
 

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Wow, so I guess things wouldn't change by moving out of the land of Bicycle Phobia (Norfolk/Virginia Beach)... big disappointment, I'll bet!
 

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lx93 said:
Wow, so I guess things wouldn't change by moving out of the land of Bicycle Phobia (Norfolk/Virginia Beach)... big disappointment, I'll bet!
Well, I used to train (Pungo rides) and race in that area and I have to admit that the place looked like a total nightmare for people who rode their bikes to actually get to places, aka commuters. Looks like nothing's changed there: lots of bike shops, lots of racer-boys pissing off the locals, zero consideration for bike commuters on part of the local politicians.
 

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Fat'r + Slow'r than TMB
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I don't know bigbill, I have had similar experiences with my high vis stuff as well. Mine seem to be folks actually passing a lot closer than normal. I almost wonder if it is the old moth drawn to a flame theory. Drivers look at the high vis and where their eyes go thats where the car goes. I have wondered about this theory when I see police cars with their extremely bright flashers on. I look and next thing you know my car is going in that direction. For what it's worth I rarely wear the high vis stuff and just mostly wear my T- Mobile jerset. I figure someone my size wearing pink can't be missed.
 

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Failboat Captian
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wim said:
Agree—you didn't exist. Some studies have come to the conclusion that most experienced drivers only process threats. If their eyes see a non-threatening object, their brain will delete it immediately. This explains why drivers will look straight at you, than pull out in front of you anyway. Or why, in your case, hi-viz didn't work.
Which is why I wast a commuter jersey with this on the back

 

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Big is relative
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wim said:
Well, I used to train (Pungo rides) and race in that area and I have to admit that the place looked like a total nightmare for people who rode their bikes to actually get to places, aka commuters. Looks like nothing's changed there: lots of bike shops, lots of racer-boys pissing off the locals, zero consideration for bike commuters on part of the local politicians.
I tried to split my time between arrogant roadie prick and fred-the-commuter. The roadie prick skills were key to commuting from Kempsville to Portsmouth and NOB.
 

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wim said:
Well, I used to train (Pungo rides) and race in that area
You & Bill should come back to savor the fresh chipseal on Muddy Creek Rd., which, coincidentally, is right next to the residence of the politician that hates us most.
 

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Incidents like that happen to me as well. I just don't think there's any corelation with color.
 

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I think visibility is one of the most important ways to avoid getting hit -- assuming that most people don't want to hit you. I was convinced about the effectiveness of hi-viz jerseys/jackets one morning when I spotted a jogger about 1/2=mile away wearing a screaming yellow jacket. Most runners seem to wear black and you don't see them until you're upon them. Anyway, if someone almost hit you while you were wearing hi-viz clothing, my take is that they probably would have hit if you were wearing a drab black, grey or blue jersey.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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Call me stupid, but I commute on a black bike, usually with my black goretex jacket. I do have reflectors on fenders and legs... but no illuminite or bright yellow anything.

All I use are my two lights and it seems to get most people's attention. Maybe I was a threat... Brighter lights? The more annoying they are the more annoying you are to them!
 

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in the UK...

...a couple of years back a study was done by one of the transport research groups on bike helmet use - it found that drivers tended to give cyclists an extra 2-3 feet room when passing if the cyclist was NOT wearing a helmet. Could be the same effect with hi-vis?
 

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"study"

Armchair Spaceman said:
...a couple of years back a study was done by one of the transport research groups on bike helmet use - it found that drivers tended to give cyclists an extra 2-3 feet room when passing if the cyclist was NOT wearing a helmet. Could be the same effect with hi-vis?
I don't believe that study, and I don't believe that hi-viz jerseys make you more of a target. Use some common sense -- if you are more visible, you are less likely to get hit. Period. Unless someone is actually trying to hit you, which is unlikely. I rode a motorcycle before I started cycling and became keenly aware of the importance of visibility. In most motorcycle/car accidents, the car driver claims that they never saw the motorcyclist. Same with bicycles. You are deluding yourself if you think hi-viz clothes and helmets don't improve your odds of cycling safely.
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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Armchair Spaceman said:
...a couple of years back a study was done by one of the transport research groups on bike helmet use - it found that drivers tended to give cyclists an extra 2-3 feet room when passing if the cyclist was NOT wearing a helmet. Could be the same effect with hi-vis?
Saw the same study and was going to mention it. I didn't put a lot of stock in it, but it was an interesting concept.
 

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I know I can spot someone wearing hi-viz yellow a lot farther away than any other color. I like what someone said about cars and percieve threat. It seems to me I get the less respect from the bigger cars and especially trucks.
 

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There could be some subtle psychology in drivers' minds involving hi-vis gear. Maybe it involves knowing where a rider is so that the margin for passing is a bit more "rational" (ie, minimal). I do know that dark gear, and the difficulty of seeing those riders, even in good light, makes it easy to miss those riders. Maybe those riders are given extra wide passing out of the motorist's surprise of actually seeing those riders. I suspect the downside is that the one-in-a-thousand who doesn't belatedly see the dark rider will mow him down. So the trade off is maybe between being clipped by a close pass in hi vis gear or being mashed in dark gear.

I find it hard to believe that motorists notice squat about whether a cyclist is wearing a helmet and passing accordingly. That would be some pretty impressive subconscious analysis going on.

BB - your guy passing you on the left during a left turn seems separate from the hi-vis issue. That seems like just crazy motorist stuff. The question is whether he would have gotten as far over to the left in time if you weren't wearing your hi vis stuff...
 

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The trick is to use a light on your bike. I know they see me better, and more importantly, they often mistake me for a motorcycle. Although, as someone mentioned earlier, drivers don't see what is not a threat, they notice motorcycles more than bicycles. Stick a cheap LED light on the front and leave it on- you will be surprised...........MTT :thumbsup:
 

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No Crybabies
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I'll take hi vis

I would be very hard to convince not to be as visible as I possibly can be. I wear hi vis yellow or orange on my commute, along with a helmet with a front flashing LED and rear red flashing LED, plus even in daylight I run a frong Dinotte 600L LED on high, and a rear red flashing Dinotte 200L. Numerous times, even Monday, driver have taken the trouble to comment to me how visible I am, and how they appreciated it.

Even if one out of a million idiots out there might be more likely to be unsafe around me, there are probably thousands who will see me, and avoid me, who otherwise may not have.

When driving and riding, I take notice of what other cyclists are wearing. I notice that I see hi vis blocks away, but those wearing dark colors I may not see until 50 feet away. To me, it's absolutely insane to wear black or dark blue, etc., when riding, especially in town.
 
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