Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
PH
Posts: 9610
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby PH » 28 Apr 2019, 2:55pm

Don’t think hi viz clothing will keep you seen, although hi viz has a place in some circumstances such as low light conditions, it is contrast that catches the attention of the driver who might pull out on you, that, and movements the human eye and brain are wired to detect.
Not my words, but from the West Midlands Traffic Police blog
https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2016/0 ... -new-dawn/

Trying to catch up with a group last year it struck me that the most noticeable rider was the one in a navy jersey with a yellow band, this was amongst those in everything from flo yellow to the blackest of black. I'm not saying noticeable = safer, but it surprised me just how much they stood out.

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3571
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby The utility cyclist » 28 Apr 2019, 3:45pm

JohnW wrote:Esnip
Make what you want of that situation, but if you'd been there you may have formed a positive view about hi-viz.

Not for me, it says to me you weren't looking/seeing properly and nor was the driver, I can't believe how you can validate your stance on such a weak position that clearly highlights your and the drivers mistake, presume you're ignoring that all/vast majority of the other drivers that day didn't make the same errors?

Let's hope you will see a child wanting to cross the road wearing normal clothing, or do they require hi-vis to ensure they're not mown down? :roll:

pwa
Posts: 13262
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby pwa » 28 Apr 2019, 4:25pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
JohnW wrote:Esnip
Make what you want of that situation, but if you'd been there you may have formed a positive view about hi-viz.

Not for me, it says to me you weren't looking/seeing properly and nor was the driver, I can't believe how you can validate your stance on such a weak position that clearly highlights your and the drivers mistake, presume you're ignoring that all/vast majority of the other drivers that day didn't make the same errors?

Let's hope you will see a child wanting to cross the road wearing normal clothing, or do they require hi-vis to ensure they're not mown down? :roll:


Would you send your own child to cross a busy road in the evening, wearing black? That is the essence of the issue, really. You will still blame the driver if your child is run over on the zebra crossing (quite rightly) but would you be completely at ease with your decision to let your child cross that road in black clothing? In principle it is incumbent on drivers to take care, but how much do you feel you can rely on that?

User avatar
freiston
Posts: 791
Joined: 6 Oct 2013, 10:20am
Location: Coventry

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby freiston » 28 Apr 2019, 4:33pm

JohnW wrote:Make what you want of that situation, but if you'd been there you may have formed a positive view about hi-viz.

RickH wrote:Alternatively, the unnecessary use of hi-viz puts those who don't wear it in increased danger! The hi-viz potentially caused a distraction.

I was driving down a poorly lit local road with no pavement in the dark a while back. Ahead I could see a dog walker wearing reflectives, carrying a torch & the dog had flashing lights on its collar. I could see them clearly & was attentive to their presence. I suddenly became aware of another dog walker much closer to me with no such "safety" features. They were never in any danger from me in this instance but I think I would have noticed them sooner if my attention hadn't been drawn to the more distant person & dog with their lights & reflectives.


The utility cyclist wrote:Not for me, it says to me you weren't looking/seeing properly and nor was the driver, I can't believe how you can validate your stance on such a weak position that clearly highlights your and the drivers mistake, presume you're ignoring that all/vast majority of the other drivers that day didn't make the same errors?


I'm of the same opinion as RickH and The utility cyclist here. I also think there is a very real danger of a developing culture and mind-set where in a collision/near-miss situation, the individual on the receiving end is held responsible for being seen rather than the individual who makes the hit/near-miss is held responsible for seeing/looking and taking due care and attention (this has already been demonstrated by the police in the tragic case of Michael Mason). I do also believe that if we take up the call for hi-viz and help make it ubiquitous, then we play a part in developing that culture of victim-blaming to the mainstream and the next thing we know, it will be discussed in parliament and we'll be in danger of being illegal as cyclists (or pedestrians) because of what we wear.
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

thirdcrank
Posts: 30060
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Apr 2019, 4:40pm

freiston wrote: ... I'm of the same opinion as RickH and The utility cyclist here. I also think there is a very real danger of a developing culture and mind-set where in a collision/near-miss situation, the individual on the receiving end is held responsible for being seen rather than the individual who makes the hit/near-miss is held responsible for seeing/looking and taking due care and attention (this has already been demonstrated by the police in the tragic case of Michael Mason). I do also believe that if we take up the call for hi-viz and help make it ubiquitous, then we play a part in developing that culture of victim-blaming to the mainstream and the next thing we know, it will be discussed in parliament and we'll be in danger of being illegal as cyclists (or pedestrians) because of what we wear.


All fair enough but is anybody actively promoting the the opposite ie taking up the call to oppose hi-viz in any sort of effective way?

mattheus
Posts: 1564
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mattheus » 28 Apr 2019, 4:43pm



What an excellent blog! From 2016, but worth reading annually by road users (and the M-of-Transport ... )

:)

pwa
Posts: 13262
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby pwa » 28 Apr 2019, 4:49pm

freiston wrote:I do also believe that if we take up the call for hi-viz and help make it ubiquitous, then we play a part in developing that culture of victim-blaming to the mainstream and the next thing we know, it will be discussed in parliament and we'll be in danger of being illegal as cyclists (or pedestrians) because of what we wear.

That boat sailed decades ago. "Be seen, be safe" was a public information film mantra when I was a kid, and I was trying to comply by wearing bright clothing on the road back in the early 1970s. So any notion that we are moving towards an expectation that we will be making ourselves easier to see is wrong, simply because we reached that expectation decades ago. It has been expected that we make ourselves conspicuous just about as long as I have been cycling on roads. "Be seen, Be safe" was overpromising of course, because being seen has never been a guarantee of being safe.

mattheus
Posts: 1564
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mattheus » 28 Apr 2019, 5:22pm

I disagree with your pessimism (respectfully!)

Because there are still tons of cyclists - both commuters and "MAMILs" etc - happily wearing dark colours. (And as we know, stats show that most of them also drive!)

Also I was SMIDSYed last year: nobody involved - the driver, police, court, insurers - has commented on my choice of clothing. The driver was prosecuted, slam-dunk.


(OT: I think one of the paramedics mentioned h*lm*ts, but I chose to forgive him - he was too lovely to start an argument with :) )

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 14553
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 28 Apr 2019, 6:13pm

Some people have imperfect colour vision and might not see a red jacket on a green hillside
Entertainer, idealist, intellectual, PoB, 30120
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3571
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby The utility cyclist » 28 Apr 2019, 6:16pm

pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:
JohnW wrote:Esnip
Make what you want of that situation, but if you'd been there you may have formed a positive view about hi-viz.

Not for me, it says to me you weren't looking/seeing properly and nor was the driver, I can't believe how you can validate your stance on such a weak position that clearly highlights your and the drivers mistake, presume you're ignoring that all/vast majority of the other drivers that day didn't make the same errors?

Let's hope you will see a child wanting to cross the road wearing normal clothing, or do they require hi-vis to ensure they're not mown down? :roll:


Would you send your own child to cross a busy road in the evening, wearing black? That is the essence of the issue, really. You will still blame the driver if your child is run over on the zebra crossing (quite rightly) but would you be completely at ease with your decision to let your child cross that road in black clothing? In principle it is incumbent on drivers to take care, but how much do you feel you can rely on that?

Always, I'm not a victim blamer and as risks go there are many others to worry about over that, my son cycled to school every day for 7 years (2001-2008), never wore hi vis or helmet, nor did 99% of the other circa 100 kids cycling to school, this was on road cycling from age 10.
Strangely, well according to some people's way of thinking, he's still alive and uninjured from such horrendously dangerous activities such as going out in dark clothes during the evening etc :roll:
Last edited by The utility cyclist on 28 Apr 2019, 9:16pm, edited 1 time in total.

mattheus
Posts: 1564
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mattheus » 28 Apr 2019, 6:26pm

I guess if we make our kids wear Hi-Viz whenever they go outside, they might choose to stay indoors and thus never be in a traffic accident. Result!

?

slowster
Posts: 1719
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby slowster » 28 Apr 2019, 6:59pm

mjr wrote:To the contrary: they contain the perspective of a driver who knows that it's quite simple to do like the highway code says and treat cyclists like a small car and all the victim-blaming and self-loathing telling people to wear special clothes is enabling and prolonging our current might-makes-right broken British road environment.

I generally conclude that people who make claims about how good a driver they are, are often mistaken (unless they have passed the Advanced Driving test).

I don't consider myself to be a particularly good driver, and I am not an Advanced Driver, but I did get some additional instruction after passing my test. Part of the instruction was on looking further ahead on the road to see potential hazards etc. as soon as possible in order to be able to react to them sooner, in order to reduce the potential risk of an accident. For example, on a motorway that would mean monitoring what was happening 1 or 2 miles ahead (or further if there was more visibility). If as a result I could see that in a mile or two it would be necessary to change lane or reduce speed, it would maximise the time for me to do so, allowing me to wait for a good gap to change lane, or allowing me to reduce speed simply by taking my foot off the accelerator, reducing or ideally even eliminating the need to brake. Similarly driving simulators test the ability to identify potential hazards early/as soon as they become visible.

One of the things I was taught to do on the motorway was to anticipate the need of cars to join from a slip road ahead, and if lane 2 was clear (and no car was about to move into it from lane 3) to move into lane 2 in order to make it easier for cars to enter lane 1 from the slip road. I would have had right of way to stay in lane 1 and make it more difficult for those cars to join the motorway, but that would not have been good driving. Good driving - and good cycling - is not just about being legally in the right.

A lot of safe driving is about maximising the time to react to the road conditions and hazards. Hence my comment about you seemingly lacking the perspective of a driver. Your emphasis on how you observe speed limits when others don't, suggests to me that you think that that demonstrates that you are a good driver.

A good driver will want to be able to spot hazards as far ahead as possible, and in the case of cyclists completely all black kit in some environments and lighting conditions will be visible to a driver much later than a rider with more brightly coloured clothing or a good rear flashing light. That will reduce the available reaction time for the driver, which in turn increases the risk of a near miss or an accident. That such drivers would like cyclists to be more easily visible is not 'victim blaming', and wearing kit that makes it easier for other road users to see you, is not 'self-loathing', but simply recognition that roads are inherently dangerous and making it easier for other road users to see you well in advance can reduce risk, just as moving into lane 2 on a motorway in the example above makes it easier and safer for cars joining from a slip road.

As for car colour, a black car will not be completely black in the way that a cyclists wearing all black kit can be. Viewed from behind there will be various non-black elements of trim etc., including the number plate. Even the gloss clear coat over the black paint will reflect light in a way that black clothing will not. Moreover, the difference in speed between two cars travelling in the same direction on a carriageway is likely to be a lot less than the difference in speed between a car and bike. The large difference in speed between cars and bikes and the resulting reduced reaction time is a much bigger factor than the impact of car colour on car/car interactions.
Last edited by slowster on 28 Apr 2019, 7:02pm, edited 1 time in total.

pwa
Posts: 13262
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby pwa » 28 Apr 2019, 7:00pm

mattheus wrote:I guess if we make our kids wear Hi-Viz whenever they go outside, they might choose to stay indoors and thus never be in a traffic accident. Result!

?

Making your kid wear bright clothing at night on the road makes them stay indoors? Well, It didn't with mine. Banging on about danger on the roads might do that, though. If you trawl back through the posts on this Forum I bet you will find more about problems with the roads than about having a good time on a bike, and if that doesn't put people off cycling I don't know what will. :lol:
Last edited by pwa on 28 Apr 2019, 7:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 14553
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 28 Apr 2019, 7:02pm

Better to stay in the first lane and leave big gaps
Moving into the second lane might allow Normal Drivers to undertake
Entertainer, idealist, intellectual, PoB, 30120
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16367
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Black Waterproof jackets - a bad idea?

Postby mjr » 28 Apr 2019, 10:21pm

slowster wrote:
mjr wrote:To the contrary: they contain the perspective of a driver who knows that it's quite simple to do like the highway code says and treat cyclists like a small car and all the victim-blaming and self-loathing telling people to wear special clothes is enabling and prolonging our current might-makes-right broken British road environment.

I generally conclude that people who make claims about how good a driver they are, are often mistaken (unless they have passed the Advanced Driving test).

I made no such claim, however you did:
I don't consider myself to be a particularly good driver, and I am not an Advanced Driver, but I did get some additional instruction after passing my test. [...loads of driving instruction..]

:lol:

[...] and in the case of cyclists completely all black kit in some environments and lighting conditions will be visible to a driver much later than a rider with more brightly coloured clothing or a good rear flashing light.

And in some environments and lighting conditions, the reverse will be the case. See above about contrast.

As for car colour, a black car will not be completely black in the way that a cyclists wearing all black kit can be. Viewed from behind there will be various non-black elements of trim etc., including the number plate.

And cyclists will have the reflectors and so on of a bike under them. Not sure that's a great differentiator. Speed difference may be but sometimes it's still big, like I mentioned.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.