Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thirdcrank
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Apr 2019, 4:31pm

I think one thing to be aware of is LD's comment above about some police staff stopping wearing hi-viz because it's impractical (my words.) I think if you are shelling out for Goretex, then be content if it meets your demands for protection from the weather. Hi-viz versions will fade/look shabby long before they let in the rain.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 27 Apr 2019, 4:34pm

mnichols wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:Too late for the OP, but Gore Shakedry jackets are available in black or grey with yellow or red sleeves: https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Gore-W ... acket/I9KN


Actually not, i haven't worn it yet, it still has labels attached and all the packaging, and it's a 365 day return policy. Although I would still regard this as black, I'm not sure that the small amount of colour would make much difference. Worth considering though, the flashes on the sleeves maybe useful when indicating.

To add to the general debate, my preference is bright red. This seems to stand out against all backgrounds

TBH in that case I'd change it for a different jacket in red or something close to it. I've heard many good things about the Shakedry jackets (though also that they're fragile and expensive) but there are other good jackets and some of them might be red.

(I would avoid black mainly for aesthetic choices. My cycling waterproof is non-fluro orange, bright but not garish, and cheerful.)

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby The utility cyclist » 27 Apr 2019, 4:50pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:There's little evidence to suggest that wearing a black jacket on the road makes you any less safe. The TRLs review of several pieces of research found little evidence that fluorescent garments make you any safer. The DoTs research found no link whatsoever between their use and roadworker-traffic casualties. I guess the bottom line is that people run you over because they're not looking or they're behaving like twits, and florries won't cure that.

I'm involved in Search and Rescue at a fairly high level, and yellow hi vis has sacked off as it's been discovered to actually have a camouflage effect against the rural background of grass, hedgerows and trees, the opposite effect of that intended. Some teams have gone to orange hi vis, MREW have gone to bright red, some dropped its use altogether. If you've a rural commute or out for a ride in the sticks then typical yellow hi vis is likely making you harder to see in many circumstances.

Interestingly, my local police force has just binned mandatory wearing of florries for officers in non specialist roles, because they were an expensive purchase and quite ineffective. No matter how bright they glowed the eternal complaint was "we never see the police..." Our neighbouring force did the same a couple of years ago and has seen no difference in casualty rates attributable to their removal.

The simple fact is there is no garment that makes you universally more visible in all situations, and there is little evidence to suggest that hi vis makes you universally more visible that conventional clothing, and some evidence to suggest that in rural settings and extreme urban clutter environments they may actually make it harder for an observer to see you. For every upside, there is a downside. Actual efforts at camouflage is a bad idea, but normal clothes in normal colours have not been reasonably demonstrated to be any more likely to get you run over.

It's like DRLs on cars. People thnk they "must" be safer, but the EUs own research found no safety benefit outside of a sub-arctic climate, yet because the common wisdom is that they enhance safety they were foisted upon us.

Similarly, many people think riding their motorcycles with the headlights on during the day makes them safer - it doesn't. In the late 80's Suzuki and Honda did much research into this. Honda at the time owned the worlds largest searchlight manufacturer, so had vast expertise on optics to call upon. It was discovered that daytime headlight running (as opposed to low output or dim-dip system) brought a marked rise in casualties. The cause was, ultimately, quite obscure - the human brain calculates the speed of an oncoming object by the rate at which the object apparently grows in size compared to its surroundings. They found that daytime headlight running broke up the outline of the bike and rider, thus depriving thr observers brain of the visual datum required to make an accurate speed calculation. Thus we end up with lots of T bone type incidents with cars pulling out on motorbikes. It's a lesson for us cyclists too that stupid bright or badly aimed lights may actually make us less safe for the same reason.

So many things that seem to be utter common sense when it comes to road safety, rarely bear deep scrutiny and in some cases can actually endanger us. I have to wear a florrie when training (thanks to insurance) and I wear one in the rain simply because my most effective waterproof has many hi vis attributes, but for the reasons cited above I have no expectation at all that it will make me safer in all situations - in some it will help, in some it will make no difference, and in some it may make it harder for an observer to see me. Normal clothes behave exactly the same in all 3 regards.

Wear one by all means, I personally have no downer on them, but be aware that it's not a panacea. Your best safety aid is your awareness and your skills. The bulk of safety thinking cyclists will spend £££s on hi vis and then negate it all with appalling roadcraft, which achieves nothing whatsoever.

Great post and thanks for info re DRLsbetc, I got drawn into turning on my car lights in the early 90s when commuting into London, thinking if it was good enough for the Nordic countries and I'd read about the 'improvement' in incidents (which could have been down to other actions in any case), I got the 'you've got your lights on' mouthed at me and flashes and I thought yup, they've seen me hence better. Then about 12 months later I got rear ended one morning whilst waiting at a pedestrian crossing on the way to work so I binned it off.

I am against hi-vis (and other so called safety attire), everytime people use it it's another reaffirming that it's the done thing, it helps the victim blaming culture to such an extent that police, judges, CPS, insurers et al have started using the lack of these garments against victims of crime, it's disgusting.
Everyone who wears it, is a part of the bigger problem, normalising it is a bad thing, we should have a law against it (and that other piece of attire also) as it endangers all of us, including the ones who wear it AND people on foot too, it significantly changes how the law is applied to certain vulnerable groups that is not applied elsewhere in our society. :twisted:

tim-b
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby tim-b » 27 Apr 2019, 5:33pm

Hi
A new [2013] study from the University of Bath and Brunel University suggests that no matter what clothing a cyclist wears, around 1-2% of drivers will pass dangerously close when overtaking.

The problem with this debate is right there, the word "suggests". There isn't any firm scientific evidence specifically looking at cyclists in a range of contexts, just opinion and conjecture

Yeah, and that isn't worth 2p but much less

and this comment is worth the money? "...other cyclists promoting the self-blaming fantasy device"

On the basis that this debate is doomed in the same way as the H-debate to opinion and conjecture, with many of the same participants, I'm out

Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

slowster
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby slowster » 27 Apr 2019, 5:50pm

mjr, do you drive?

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freiston
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby freiston » 27 Apr 2019, 5:59pm

Has anyone here hit a car (or knows someone who did) because it was a dark colour and not bright hi-viz yellow (whether they be cycling, walking or driving)?
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

Mike Sales
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Mike Sales » 27 Apr 2019, 6:31pm

thirdcrank wrote:You who philosophize etc.



"disgrace"?

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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 27 Apr 2019, 6:56pm

freiston wrote:Has anyone here hit a car (or knows someone who did) because it was a dark colour and not bright hi-viz yellow (whether they be cycling, walking or driving)?

No, but I've heard plenty of people complain about "road coloured" cars (ie dark grey or muddy brown).

OTOH, back around 2000, Cycling Plus magazine had a regular feature where they followed three or four readers who were training for something; I can't remember whether it was an event or a personal goal, but something like that. One month, one of those featured riders had his arm in plaster. He'd ridden straight into the back of a van. On a dead straight road in broad daylight. A police van. With hi-viz markings and flashing lights. He'd had his head down for the previous half mile...

mercalia
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mercalia » 27 Apr 2019, 7:44pm

stick on some reflective strips?

mnichols
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mnichols » 27 Apr 2019, 8:35pm

I've found my old waterproof :-) Obviously it was in an old sock. Can't think why I didn't look there in the first place ;-)

The problem was I haven't used it since last summer, when I switched to slightly thicker, winter waterproof.

The old one is a mostly red, Gore packable. Quite old now, but can't believe how much I missed it. Finding it was like bumping into an old friend - we've done quite a few trips together!

Slipping it on I remembered the confidence I get from putting on a solid slab of red. Makes me feel that people can see me. Maybe the science does or doesn't back it up, but it gives me a bit more confidence in the rain.

The new shakedry is a bit, but not a lot, smaller and lighter and probably more breathable, but until it comes in brighter colours then I'm sticking to this one.

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Samuel D
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Samuel D » 27 Apr 2019, 8:46pm

slowster wrote:mjr, do you drive?

Not mjr, but I drive. I find cyclists in any clothing to be large and visible objects. Their pedalling movement identifies them as cyclists at half a mile when there’s a line of sight. The rest of the time I don’t have trouble seeing cyclists in good time either, and that includes the thousands of all-black stealth-ninja cyclists with no lamps riding home after midnight in Paris … none of whom I’ve ever heard of being hit by a car although it must happen.

In my experience as a driver and cyclist, cyclists being seen by a looking driver is not the problem. The problem is that cyclists are regarded as soft bodies that won’t scratch a car. I often ride down this road. It is telling that drivers give the concrete central divider a wider berth than the cyclist they’re squeezing past. They have a palpable terror of the concrete. They have no such terror of soft humans.

Don’t you think this says a lot about driver mindsets? I’m sure these drivers seem like normal, reasonable people when you meet them in a café.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, the problem is that drivers pass too closely considering their tremendous closing rate and the risk that a cyclist may wobble accidentally or deliberately to avoid a pothole. Too many drivers do this even when the other lane is free of traffic. This proves again that the problem is their attitude to cyclists they have seen and identified.

Against this backdrop, my rationale for not wearing hi-viz or daytime running lamps is, first, it may encourage drivers to pass even closer. I want drivers to experience mild tension as they pour a hundred horsepower into the tarmac on their way past my elbow. I don’t want them to be drifting asleep or thinking about dinner. I already notice closer passes when I’m wearing my blue cycling jersey and white helmet than when I’m wearing street clothes and no helmet. And second, the more I make myself visible, the more I encourage the de facto or legal requirement to make oneself especially visible or get run over. That’s not acceptable and can only lead to ever more onerous requirements on cyclists to make themselves conspicuous.

What is needed is more competent drivers, which comes from education, legal responsibility, experience with more cyclists on the roads, etc. Everything else deflects attention from that solution.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby The utility cyclist » 27 Apr 2019, 9:04pm

freiston wrote:Has anyone here hit a car (or knows someone who did) because it was a dark colour and not bright hi-viz yellow (whether they be cycling, walking or driving)?

A college mate of mine managed to crash into the back of a chocolate brown datsun cherry (not far from his house I think) but that was during the daytime. He was in a right state of shock,not seriously injured but we did take the micturate out of him for weeks ... this was 1987 :lol: 8)

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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mattsccm » 27 Apr 2019, 9:39pm

Some years back, got to be the last century or more, a mountain rescue organisation of something like that (RAF S&R?) pointed out that the bright red/orange water proof often used by bumblies as a "safety" feature was nothing of the sort. Visual pollution close up but from afar the tone blended in to the hills whereas blue, especially lighter blue stood out well.
I guess its the idea of seeing the colour as if its in a black and white photo.

slowster
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby slowster » 27 Apr 2019, 10:17pm

Samuel D wrote:my rationale for not wearing hi-viz or daytime running lamps is, first, it may encourage drivers to pass even closer. I want drivers to experience mild tension as they pour a hundred horsepower into the tarmac on their way past my elbow.

Last week on the road which I described in my earlier post I watched from the pavement and saw an oncoming cyclist in the road being overtaken by two or three cars. What struck me from my vantage point was that the cars were evidently braking quite hard as they got close to the cyclist, before swinging sharply around the cyclist (crossing the centre line in the process). My impression was that they had planned their overtakes badly, and should have slowed down much sooner, which would then have given them more time to wait for the other side of the road to be clear of oncoming traffic so that they could overtake without swinging round sharply (and probably maintain more speed in so doing). It was similar to the car drivers on motorways who get stuck behind slow moving articulated lorries and as a result are travelling too slowly to safely overtake the lorry, something which happens because they fail to plan sufficiently in advance to get into the next lane well before they are forced to slow down by the lorry's presence.

And yet I can understand that it might be counter-intuitive in that cyclists might be statistically less likely to be injured or killed by such driving behaviour, even though I would class it as poor (and watching it happen made me shudder). I doubt that the scientific studies done to date of cyclists, their visibility and driver behaviour were sufficiently sophisticated and comprehensive to take account of all the significant factors and how they interact.

That said,
Samuel D wrote:What is needed is more competent drivers, which comes from education, legal responsibility, experience with more cyclists on the roads, etc. Everything else deflects attention from that solution.

competency means making good decisions, and I think for that the available time for absorbing and processing information and making those decisions is critical. So if the standard of driving where you ride improves, you might find that to get the full benefit you would need to wear your brighter more more visible kit.

mattsccm wrote:a mountain rescue organisation of something like that (RAF S&R?) pointed out that the bright red/orange water proof often used by bumblies as a "safety" feature was nothing of the sort. Visual pollution close up but from afar the tone blended in to the hills whereas blue, especially lighter blue stood out well.

The tone of the average red jacket is probably very close to that of a lot of natural background in the UK, e.g. trees, grass etc. However, I presume lot of mountain rescues are undertaken in poor light and/or adverse weather, and they are looking for people who are likely to be stationary, whereas I think a cyclist in a red top moving across a background of green foliage is quite eye catching. That said, I came to the conclusion myself that light blue was in some situations more visible, and now have a light blue jacket and short sleeve top.

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freiston
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Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby freiston » 27 Apr 2019, 10:32pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
freiston wrote:Has anyone here hit a car (or knows someone who did) because it was a dark colour and not bright hi-viz yellow (whether they be cycling, walking or driving)?

A college mate of mine managed to crash into the back of a chocolate brown datsun cherry (not far from his house I think) but that was during the daytime. He was in a right state of shock,not seriously injured but we did take the micturate out of him for weeks ... this was 1987 :lol: 8)

If only it was bright yellow, he might have avoided it :wink:
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)