Does Hi-Viz Apparel Actually Keep You More Safe?

August 20, 2018 - 02:48 PM

We hear all the time that wearing brightly colored vests - be it yellow, green or even orange - help other motorists identify us easier. We hear stories from riders about how, if they weren't wearing that shockingly loud riding gear, they most certainly would have ended up in an accident. Perhaps you might even have a memory of being saved by your Hi-Viz Vest. If you do, we'd love you hear about it! But, how much of it is fact? Is there more than anecdotal evidence? Does Hi-Viz apparel really keep us safer while riding our motorcycles?


According to a study out of New Zealand, it does. They looked at 463 cases where a motorcyclist was in a crash that led to hospitalization or death, as well as 1233 roadside interviews with riders.


What did they find? Well first, most crashes occur in urban areas during the day while the weather is fine. Furthermore, they calculated that wearing "any reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37% lower risk" when compared to riders without it (and increased the riders confidence). They also discovered that wearing a white helmet (as opposed to black) yielded 24% lower risk. Riding with your headlights on during the daytime (three quarters of the riders in the study did) was "associated with a 27% lower risk."


Their conclusion? If you want to remain inconspicuous as a motorcyclist and wear dark-colored gear you increase the risk of injury due to a crash. If, on the other hand, you choose to wear bright or lighter colored gear and keep your headlights on during the day, you can considerably reduce motorcycle crash-related injury and death. Of course, we all know that there are many additional factors out there in real-world conditions that can lead to an accident. It's nice to know, however, that there are some simple and relatively cost effective ways to make the joy of riding more safe!


Ride safe with this Hi-Viz Gear - Click the image below to browse


Be seen with these white helmets - Click the image below to browse

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Comments on this Post

August 20, 2018 - 06:47 PM
I am not sure of the Bight colors there are as many studies saying that the make little difference and there are as many studies that say they do. I think the white helmet makes a difference and the head light did at one time but now all the new cares come with daytime driving lights so how then do we stand out with out lights on. I think they should give us bad our light switches. perhaps we would standout as the one without lights..
August 20, 2018 - 07:30 PM
Even though the study is from the 90's I think it still has merit. Back then riders didn't have to contend with an rash of texting and distracted drivers.

Anything that makes a rider visible and might, even at the margins of probability, help avoid an accident is worth the investment
August 20, 2018 - 08:10 PM
Are we discussing the potential for not being injured during a crash, due to wearing high visibility clothing or are we discussing reduction in the number of crashes, due to wearing high visibility clothing?
The article talked about injury in crashes, "Estimates of relative risk of motorcycle crash related injury " yet I believe the case being made is to wear high visibility clothing in an effort to reduce the potential for being hit by an inattentive driver. Avoid the crash.
Personal opinions have limited value in a valid study. Follow the raw numbers. As with any such limited study, the results may mirror a larger, and much more comprehensive study. Or not.
August 20, 2018 - 08:13 PM
As a rider and car driver both, I am sure the hi-viz helps me notice other riders and i notice those riders who where multiple hi-viz colors such as the neon-yellow and neon-orange that is on the old Olympia Motorsports "Toxic" Colored jackets. They stick out like a sore thumb. Having contrasting colors like that causes the brain to have a reaction and focus on the rider. Fantastic Article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 21, 2018 - 10:01 AM
Being a truck driver and rider, I have seen how inattentive people are. I have been in multiple motorcycle accidents and both were at an intersection where I had the right of way. I found it interesting that the article talked more about lowering injuries than avoiding accidents. I installed modulating lights on my 2010 Wing, when I bought it, along with LED headlights. The "Harley" crowd, sometimes, express their opinion of my lights as the drive by, with a one finger salute. I just laugh and wave back because they are doing what I intended them to do. These have saved me many times on the road from having another accident. People are very distracted with all the electronics they have in their cars these days. We, as riders, need all the help we can get to be seen on the road!

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